October 25, 2012
Vintage Tackle Contest: Brylcreem Royal Spoon
By Joe Cermele
Though this spoon, entered into the vintage tackle contest by Niki Christopher, isn't any different from a modern Dardevle, I really dug the story that came with it. It's a bit long, but I think many of you probably have similar stories, and this one was rather touching. Niki writes:
This spoon is one of three of a set I gave my dad for Father’s Day when I was somewhere between 5 and 10 years old. To get the set, I had to send in labels from Brylcreem hair tonic. My dad didn’t use it, so I enlisted the help of my uncle and a neighbor who did. After dad died in 1979, I ended up with some of his fishing tackle, and found two of the Brylcreem Royal Spoons in his tackle box. I carried them in my tackle box for years and used them occasionally. My young daughter steadfastly refused to use them, for fear she would lose a family treasure, but I continued to use one now and then to honor my dad. I lost one of them on my last spin-fishing trip to Colorado, and decided to retire the last one remaining. I keep it on my fly-tying desk now. I realize this isn’t a pristine antique lure in “new-in-box” condition, but it is an heirloom to me: a warm reminder of the daddy who taught me how to fish.
Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog has had no trouble in the past telling us about lures used in non-fishing related advertising, so let's see how this Brylcreem spoon stacks up. Dr. Todd says:
"You have a neat example of fishing tackle as a "loss leader," an advertising give-away designed to tempt you to buy a product you might not otherwise purchase. In this case, a 1950s tube of Brylcreem. "A little dab'll do ya," as the saying went. In the '50s, in an effort to attract the dapper fishing crowd, they had a bundle of "Brylcreem's Royal Spoons" made up and you could get them two ways. First, as was the case with your spoon, you could send in a number of proof-of-purchase seals from Brylcreem and they would, in turn, send out your very own Brylcreem's spoon. Second, they bundled this Dardevle-type casting spoon with a jumbo tube of their hair product. It was guaranteed to put life in your hair and fish on your line. In the original package the combo is worth $20-$30, and alone around $10. To see the original packaging for this lure, click here."
Ten bucks isn't bad for one old spoon, Niki, though I'm fairly certain the value wasn't that important to you when you entered the contest. I would say for you this spoon is truly priceless. Thanks for sending and sharing the story. Enjoy the Berkley Digital Tournament Scale 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 email@example.com, 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 Berkley Digital Tournament Scale (left, $40).