Fishing is a hobby that takes you out into nature and gets you back to basics. However, even this rustic activity has its fair share of collectors and enthusiasts who are willing to spend big bucks on authentic fishing lures that are rare and unique. The bait is a hook with a piece of natural or artificial bait tied to it. Fishing Lures come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, but the main goal is always the same. They can be made from wood, metal, or plastic. Some have bells, whistles, or flashlights designed to attract fish; others have hooks hidden inside them that can release once they’re submerged in water. We all know how expensive things like cars, houses, and yachts can be. But did you know that there’s also a small niche community of people who collect boats as well as their fishing lures? If you love collecting things like this – check out these 20 most expensive fishing lures in the world today!
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What is a Fishing Lure?
A fishing lure is a general term for artificial fishing baits used in angling to entice fish to strike by appealing to its natural predatory instinct through appearances, motions, vibrations, bright reflections, and vibrant colors. They are made to resemble prey animals and draw in predatory fishes.
Lures are used as terminal tackles at the end of a fishing line, and the majority of them come with one or more different types of hooks. They are made to deceive carnivorous fish and provoke an aggressive strike. As a result, the angler (fisherman) will be alerted to yank the line in order to secure a hookset inside the fish’s mouth. Some hookless lures, on the other hand, are just used to draw the fish closer so that it can be caught by another lure or by other techniques including netting, trapping, impaling with a spear or inside pole hook, snagging, shooting, or even by hand catching.
Antique Fishing Lures Value
How can you determine the value of your antique fishing lures? The first step in determining the value of these rarities is to search for a brand printed on the lure, such as Heddon, Pflueger, or Creek Chub Bait Co. (commonly known as CCB Co. by collectors and dealers).
When conducting online searches and browsing antique lures on online auction sites like eBay, determining the manufacturer of the lure you are examining assists in determining its value easily. Numerous smaller businesses also produced lures, and some of them were even handcrafted. A lot of antique lure types are in demand, but some are more expensive than others.
The most expensive lures typically have glass eyes and are made of wood. Very rare types can sometimes be very expensive (sometimes costing more than $20000). However, the majority will cost between $25 to several hundred each.
Old Fishing Lures Worth Money
Here is a list of some of the rarest and most valuable antique fishing lures and how much they were sold for:
1. 1905 Wiggletail Smith Minnow Fishing Lure
Charles Smith of LaGrange, Indiana, created this American classic. It is a genuine antique because it was patented on February 7, 1905.
The wooden fishing lure is 3 1⁄4 inches long. It has hand-painted green-yellow side stripes, a green back, yellow glass eyes, and a white belly. This timeless bait is distinctive because it has a complex tail mechanism and a top fin, unlike most lures, which have hooks for fins and tails.
2. Hardy’s Interchangeable Casting Minnow Fishing Lure
One of the most uncommon and expensive fishing lures you’ll find is this one from the Monticello, Indiana-based Artificial Bait Co. Not one, but two minnows, the original box, and the instruction sheet are all included in the delivery. William Hardy patented it on July 19, 1904, making it among the early auxiliary baits.
There are two remarkable minnows included. The first is made of wood and has a white belly, a back that is dark red, and yellow sides. The second is made of aluminum and has a white belly, a back that is dark green, and yellow sides. Both contain two internal weights, hand-painted red gills, and yellow glass eyes. They are 2 5/8 inches long. Both minnows had great grades.
Although the box has severe deterioration, “minnow plus boxes” are very uncommon. The instruction paper is also available, and it is in almost perfect shape. Because of this, this fantastic collectible piece sold for $12500.
3. Hardy’s Silvered Minnow Fishing Lure
This lure is a historic one. One of the first to adopt a coarse finish with silver glitter, it was created in the 1920s. It features large brass hangers and yellow glass eyes.
It is in exceptional shape (Ex- to Ex+). Amazingly, the original box is also included (which features Jonathan A. Hardy on its body). Additionally, the original instruction sheet is included. The combination of “minnow + box + paper” is quite uncommon. Despite the box’s roughness and the paper’s staining, this piece still sold for a whopping $5000.
4. Silver Creek Floating Pikaroon Fishing Lure
With a yellow finish, black stripes, black eye shadow, and a touch of crimson on the nose, this unusual Pikaroon is a fantastic collectible that any collector must have dreamt of having. It has 5 treble hooks lined up, 2 on each side and 1 on the back spinner.
The uncommon lure comes with its even rarer box packaging. The 6-inch box is inscribed with the words “Pat Pending” and has the date “MAR 31, 1926.” The yellow box’s top is practically brand new while the sides and bottom exhibit some signs of wear, which suggests that an over label has been removed.
However, the combo is extremely uncommon and expensive because the minnow is in Ex- condition and the box is likely in VG+ to Ex- condition, making it a very valuable collectible. The piece was sold for $4800.
5. Moonlight Dreadnought Fishing Lure
One of the most challenging baits and box combos produced by the Moonlight Bait Co. in Paw Paw, Michigan, is the Dreadnought. When this “monster” was first made available in 1912, the company was unable to meet demand.
This 4 inches long, five-hook bait was painted red and white and rigged with the usual Moonlight raised brass washer and screw eye hardware, as well as simple, nickel-plated spinners fore and aft. This lure steers clear of the fish pattern. The extremely uncommon lure is rated VG+ and has some points and age lines.
This renowned red and white lure is rarely available for purchase making it very valuable among collectors nowadays. One was sold recently at an online auction for $3300.
6. Uncatalogued Moonlight Torpedo Fishing Lure
This fishing lure is another masterpiece from the Moonlight Bait Co. It comes with its original 7-inch Box. The Moonlight torpedo has a yellow belly and a remarkable frog-green gloss. Good glass eyes and red notes on the nose are also present. It has two treble hooks at the back and one in the belly.
The torpedo’s belly weights are missing paint, which will lower its grade from Ex. Additionally, the box exhibits wear, resulting in a grade of VG. Nevertheless, it was sold for $3000 at an online auction.
7. Creek Chub Wagtail Special 200 Wiggler Fishing Lure
This beauty of a fishing lure was part of a special order. It comes with a premium wagtail. This provides it with a great tail mechanism, unlike the common hook tails. It has a body which is made of brass and yellow glass eyes. Its belly and sides are bright yellow, blending into its vivid green back.
The condition rating is reduced to VG due to a side burn. However, a vintage Baby Wriggler lure with a chub finish that is in VG+ to Ex- condition is also included with the Wagtail lure. This beautiful piece was sold for $3000.
8. Original Creek Club Crawdad Store Display Fishing Lure
The Creek Chub factory in Des Moine, Iowa, produced this antique “crab” lure in 1952. It is four times as big as the actual one since it was made as part of a special order that measures 18 inches. The tan crab lure includes two enormous black glass eyes and eight rubber legs.
It is in fantastic shape. It only receives an Ex- rather than an Ex+ due to its brittle legs. This fine piece was sold at an online auction for $2800.
9. Chapman “The New Combination” Bait
This unique fishing lure has been around since the 1870s. Of the three models created at the time, it is the smallest. It has a length of 2½ inches. The number 3 and “Chapman & Son and Theresa N.Y.” are marked on the body.
The shaft and wings of the lure have hand-painted red and blue dots, and the patina is a beautiful dark shade. A treble hook and the original Chapman swivel are also included. A beautiful piece of this model in an Ex- condition was sold recently for $2800.
10. Early W.D Chapman Spinner
This simple lure is an unlisted serpent spinner. It has a treble hook with wool wrapping. The flat brass lure body is attached to this hook. It has short, stubby wings on each side of the head; these wings are slightly curled, and a raised pair of white eyes on top of the head. When pushed underwater, the arrangement is made so that the lure rotates on the shaft.
The fishing lure is about 4 inches and is marked “W.D. Chapman Theresa, N.Y.” There are very few known examples of this Chapman spinner lure, and this one is in excellent VG+ to Ex- condition. It was sold for $2700.
11. Chapman’s New 1897 Bait
This fishing lure is adorable, with extended wings, a body with grooves, and a tail with hair. To identify it as an early Chapman piece, both wings bear the stamp “W.D. Chapman Theresa, N.Y.”
The little, 2¼-inch fishing lure is bright gold and it is made of brass. It is in excellent condition (Ex-). This fine masterpiece was sold for $2700.
12. Shakespeare-Worden Bucktail Spinner Box
This aluminum lure is an amazing one. The bucktail, which has a silver color, has brown hair on its back treble hooks. The lure is labeled “Pat. Appl’d For,” implying that it is an introduction model.
It comes in its original, dark box. The lure is well illustrated, and it is labeled “Patent Applied For.” Both the lure and the box are in Ex- to Ex+ condition with only minor soiling. The piece was sold for $2600.
13. Paw Paw Decoy and Moonlight Box
The unusual lure from Moonlight Bait Co. has painted yellow eyes and a nearly 6-inch-long wooden body. There are three internal belly weights in it. The fishing lure features black spots all over and has a greenish back that fades to golden sides as well as a white belly. This bait is distinctive since there are no hooks. It has a greenish tail and two metal fins on either side.
The fact that it includes the original Moonlight Bait packaging adds to its high value. The condition of the box is Ex- to Ex+, while the condition of the bait ranges from VG+ to Ex- condition. The old fishing lure was sold at an online auction for $2500.
14. Michigan Life-Like Minnow
Jacob Hansen of Muskegon, Michigan is the creator of this renowned fishing lure. Made in 1908, it. It has white sides and a belly, dark glass eyes, and a back with a dark green splatter finish.
Five treble hooks are present—two on each side and one attached to the rear. It has a three-bladed prop that has the marking “PAT Feb. 5th 1908.” Shiny Ex condition characterizes the realistic Michigan fishing lure. This beautifully crafted fishing lure was sold for $2400.
15. The Moonlight Chautauqua Little Wonder
This “little” wonder is anything but small. It is a special order lure that is 11 inches long and manufactured for the Chautauqua Lake Region in New York. Big glass eyes, a red scale finish, and a hook design on the front distinguish it (between the eyes) from most other typical fishing lures.
It is worn (soiling, chips, and age lines). The grade for its condition is VG-. The fact that there are so few of these enormous lures in existence makes it a unique object that will appeal to moonlight collectors. This fishing lure was sold recently for $2400.
16. The Manitou Minnow Fishing Lure
Bailey and Elliot obtained a patent for the design of this finely crafted fishing lure in 1905. Although only a few were made due to a patent dispute. Therefore, it’s extremely uncommon in today’s world. It has a white belly and flanks that fade into a light green back. It features three belly weights and yellow glass eyes.
All of the components are in great (Ex- to Ex+) condition and come with the lure in its original card box along with an accompanying instruction flier. The lure was sold for $2300.
17. The Trout Bob
This floating rod-size bait from The Moonlight Company is very rare. It debuted in 1911 and was abandoned nearly quickly. The tiny fishing lure has a feathered treble hook and brass washer hardware with a bright finish. The minnow is in fantastic shape.
The original fold-out paper is included in the box it came in. The box and instruction paper are more uncommon than the minnow, but they are also in fantastic shape. This package is incredibly precious because it has “minnow + box + paper” that is Ex-graded. It sold for $2200.
18. The Blee and Helmkamp Submarine Lure
This beautifully crafted aluminum submarine lure was manufactured and patented in 1913. It is a special lure with a valve mechanism that allows you to regulate the amount of water that enters and exits its hollow body. This gives you control over how far down into the water the lure dives. It also has a spinner for a tail and a brass nose.
The condition of the 4-inch submarine lure ranges from Ex- to Ex+. Asides from the fact that the lure is quite uncommon, the presence of its original box also increases its value significantly. It was sold for $2000.
19. Moonlight 1200 Series Casting Lure
The Pikaroon-like body of the moonlight bait is lined with five trebles. One of the most sought-after lures among collectors, it was created around 1923.
This lure, which is just larger than 3.75 inches, has a yellow body with black stripes. Along with having flawless glass eyes, it also has a scarlet flush on its nose. It was graded to be between the Ex- and Ex+ excellent conditions. The beautiful piece was sold for $1900.
20. Seagull Wobbler Fishing Lure
The perch, a fish species with dark vertical stripes on its flanks and a hint of red or orange at the tip of its fins, is the inspiration for this lovely fishing lure. It is also known as “The Wobbler”
The Wobbler has a red belly and a back that is dark green with vertical dark green stripes running across its yellow sides. It has one attached to its nose and two treble hooks on its belly. The bright lure is Ex- quality. The fact that it comes in its original box, which is in Ex- to Ex+ condition, increases its worth even further. It was sold for $1800 at an online auction.
Here is a list of all twenty-five incredible lures, including some of the most expensive fishing lures ever sold, along with the astounding sums they recently fetched at auction. See how these old fishing lures vary in their worth. While some were sold for a couple of hundred dollars some can cost tens of thousands of dollars. For instance, the 1905 Wiggletail Smith Minnow and the Hardy Interchangeable Casting Minnow fishing lures, which fetch five-figure prices, are among the most expensive fishing lures on our list.
It’s time to rummage around in those old tackle boxes to see what you can unearth. Who knows, you might be lucky. There are still hidden gems out there to be discovered.