April 28, 2011
Vintage Tackle Contest: The Spinno Minnow
By Joe Cermele
The most fun part of picking through entries in our ongoing vintage tackle contest is finding the oddball items that leave you scratching your head. Of course, old Rapalas and Pikie Minnows are cool, but they're not exactly strange or unusual. Reader Jim Flynn sent in a whole bunch of vintage lure photos, many of which were handed down from his dad. I looked through them all, but none gave me pause like the one below. Even Jim wasn't sure what to make of this lure. He simply wrote:
...This one was just weird. It's from my dad's old tackle box. I never caught anything on it.
Naturally, the more bizarre and outlandish the tackle, the more vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog enjoys checking it out. So let's see what this "weird" green machine is all about. Dr. Todd says:
"Some lures catch fish, others fishermen. Yours caught a lot of anglers. What you have is a very interesting and collectible lure known as the Spinno Minnow, one of a select few baits patented by a woman--in this case Violet Van Buren of Carlsbad, New Mexico. She applied for the patent in 1944 and it was granted on April 13, 1945. Harry and Violet Van Buren operated a typewriter supply store in Carlsbad, and the original Spinno Minnows were produced by the Pecos River Tackle Co. (a division of Uniline Mftg. Co. of Carlsbad, NM). Later, around 1947, the address for the company changed to Dallas, TX, and they dropped the Pecos River Tackle title. They appear to have gone out of business by the mid-1950s. Spinno Minnows are very collectible (with over 20 colors available) and yours is worth $35-$50. To view the patent, a rare variation, and a color chart, click here."
With an appraisal like that, Jim, I'd stop trying to catch something on it and send it to the shelf. A most excellent find I must say! Congrats and keep an eye out for your new pliers. I'd also like to thank Berkley, who just sent another batch of pliers so we can continue this contest, as it's gotten such a great response.
If you've already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven't and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers ($50, above).