The Bull Market in Fishing Collectibles

January 7, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

I’ve put enough “hook point punctures” in my cork grips to guarantee they will never end up in an auction, but Barron’s writer Robert H. Boyle notes that fishing collectibles make a hot market right now — with and without blemishes. “Rod collectors, whose mantra is ‘condition, condition, condition,’ can be ultra-fussy, with just one little ‘ding’ — say, a hook-point puncture in the cork handle — enough to put them off. But rarity and historical importance trumped condition with four dinged 19th-century American fly rods. Compare the estimates with the prices realized: a Charles Murphy 12-footer (estimated at $800 to $1,200) for $3,575; a 14′ 3″ by Thomas Mack of Boston (estimated at $700 to $1,000) for $8,960; a 14′ 6″ J. C. Conroy ($600 to $800) for $9,240; and a 12′ Thaddeus Norris ($5,000 to $7,000) for $17,920.”