February 16, 2012
Vintage Tackle Contest: Greer Lever Hook
By Joe Cermele
I'd like to start by mentioning that last week marked the 1-year anniversary of our vintage tackle contest. In case you're curious, Dr. Todd took the liberty of getting some stats together. In the last year, he's appraised 49 pieces of tackle, with a total value of about $5,000. So far, I've given away $2,900 worth of prizes. So both the Doc and I would just like to say thank you to everyone who submitted this year, and we hope you guys still enjoy the vintage tackle posts and will keep on sending them in. Likewise, a special thanks to all the great manufacturers that provided killer prizes this year. We'll be giving away some really cool gear in year 2. Now, back to the tackle...
The strange hook (or perhaps torture device) below belongs to Derek Fraser, who wrote:
While going through one of our local antique stores I came across an old tackle box filled with old fishing lures that I paid $16 for. I was familiar with most of the lures and tackle that was in the box but not with this Greer lever hook. Ive looked online and found some mail order advertisements in Popular Mechanics from the late 1930's and some pictures from lure collectors but little else. Its not a priceless cane rod or elaborate lure but I was hoping that you might be able to help me shed some light on this old piece of tackle.
Derek, it may not be an old cane rod or elaborate lure, but that doesn't mean it's not a rare find or highly valued. Let's see what resident appraiser Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog has to say about it. Dr. Todd says:
"Moses Greer received two patents for this hook -- the original (from 1900) and a simplified version (1908's Patent #906792), of which yours is an example. It is what we call a "self-striking" or "spring loaded" fish hook, and there were hundreds of patents granted for such inventions. Greer's was quite popular, having been sold for 20 years or more. They sometimes appear with onion skin papers like the one you found, which denotes the reseller (Johnson Smith & Co., a Detroit-based mail order company founded in 1914). The larger sizes of this hook are rare, and paper such as this very coveted, so your combination is worth $75-$125. To learn more about this hook and its maker, see Jeff Kieny's Patented Hooks, Harnesses & Bait-Holders, and to see the revised patent for the Greer Lever Hook, click here."
Hey, I'd say $75 to $125 isn't bad for a whacky hook. Nice find, Derek. Enjoy the Rapala Classic Collector Fillet Knife that's headed your way.
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 Rapala Classic Collector Fillet Knife (below, $70).