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Vintage Tackle Contest: Doug English Bingo

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November 29, 2012

Vintage Tackle Contest: Doug English Bingo

By Joe Cermele

This lure was entered into the vintage tackle contest by Jack Harred, who simply wrote, "Any idea what this is and what its value is?" Yes, indeed, we do have an idea, Jack. You've come to the right place. Turns out you got your hands on a pretty sought-after bait from the great state of Texas. Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog will fill you in on the rest.

Dr. Todd says:

"You have a great old lure made by a Texas fishing tackle legend -- Doug English. English was one of a number of Corpus Christi lure makers who crafted some incredibly successful lures. Beginning in 1934, English handcarved lures from plastic, starting with toothbrush handles and after WWII graduating to poured-mold plastic bodies. Your lure is an early Doug English Bingo, which is a wildly popular lure among Texas collectors due to their amazing array of colors. While early lures usually bring $20-$30, English (who once claimed to have given away more lures than any other maker in the world) also made many holiday greeting lures with the words "Merry Xmas" or "Season's Greetings" on them. These sell for several hundred dollars each when they come to market. To read more about Doug English, click here."

Sweet find, Jack. I have a lot of friends on the Texas coast that I bet would buy this lure to hang in garage in a heartbeat. Keep an eye on your mailbox, because there's a set of Berkley Aluminum Pliers 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 fstackle@gmail.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 pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers (above) worth $50.

Comments (9)

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Dr. Todd, I'll be going to an auction tomorrow morning with a large display of old wooden, hand painted fish decoys. Judging by the other collectible items coming from this estate, I think these decoys are pretty rare. Any tips on what to look for?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@buck Well, first I would say to make absolutely certain you're buying legitimately old spearing decoys. There are a ton of fakes out there, contemporary made decoys aged to look old. But you can't fake real patina and I know from your comments you aren't going to be fooled on close inspection. Look for quality; decoys that are well made were not likely "one-offs" and can often be attributed to a known maker, which makes their value skyrocket. Look for eye appeal, especially if they are hand made. Now this is the hardest thing to judge when dealing with folk art, but if it grabs you, it will likely grab other people, too. Smaller and Bigger are better; anything under four inches is unusual, as is anything over ten inches. Terrestrials have great interest, so look for frogs, turtles, muskrat, etc. Unusual fish like sturgeon or catfish are highly sought after, too. Condition is less a factor in decoys than in lures, although it DOES matter. Most collectors who are in to "working" decoys don't mind some honest wear.

The bottom line is that if you can pick them up relatively cheap, and they are legitimately old, it is really, really hard to go wrong.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My favorite Doug English lure was a Puggin' Shorty but I did catch a lot of specks on one of his "Bingo Christmas Tree" lures. The Christmas lure was a white body with different colored polka dots all over it. I still have a few of the Bingo lures, but lost my last Pluggin' Shorty a few years back while trolling for specks in a local river.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Thank you for the advice. I will let you know how I do.

I already missed out on a glass Orvis Minnow Trap. Have always wanted one. It sold today. I thought it was going tomorrow.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Well, have done a little research. Turns out the decoys were made by Oscar Peterson. I also discovered the largest collection of Peterson decoys was owned by a man who lived not 10 minutes from me and auctioned in 2008. This will be interesting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jack Harred wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I wish I could say that the Bingo lure was my find, but I actually have a buddy who found it at a pawn shop. He bought it for $2 and goaded me into going halvsies on it. I gave him a dollar to get him to leave me alone about the lure and we started trying to figure out what it was. I showed him the blog and now he's going around telling our friends the Bingo lure story! LOL So just for the record, my friend Karl found the lure and made a great purchase. In the future, I will listen to Karl whenever he suggests purchasing a vintage lure.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@buck Wow. Oscar Peterson is a legend and his decoys are very, very valuable. He's one of the five or so greatest ice decoy makers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Just returned from an auction of vintage fishing items. Let me just say that I am completely humbled. I must have a good eye for these things because everything I was interested in went for between $2500 and $13,000. One lonely lure went for $600, which I suspect was a fraud. I will now crawl back onto the porch where I belong with my tail between my legs.

Dr. Todd, I kept a record of the items and purchase prices if you wish to have them for your records.

A note to everyone else. If you happen to pass a hand carved bluegill plaque, one which looks like a middle school art project, at a flea market, buy it. Don't even negotiate the price, just buy it. It might be worth $13,000.

The good news is I scored over 500 saltwater flies, in fly boxes for $50. Mint.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@buck yes, please! Email me at whitefishpress AT yahoo DOT com if you would be so kind. 13,000? That is incredible...

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Jack Harred wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I wish I could say that the Bingo lure was my find, but I actually have a buddy who found it at a pawn shop. He bought it for $2 and goaded me into going halvsies on it. I gave him a dollar to get him to leave me alone about the lure and we started trying to figure out what it was. I showed him the blog and now he's going around telling our friends the Bingo lure story! LOL So just for the record, my friend Karl found the lure and made a great purchase. In the future, I will listen to Karl whenever he suggests purchasing a vintage lure.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Dr. Todd, I'll be going to an auction tomorrow morning with a large display of old wooden, hand painted fish decoys. Judging by the other collectible items coming from this estate, I think these decoys are pretty rare. Any tips on what to look for?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@buck Well, first I would say to make absolutely certain you're buying legitimately old spearing decoys. There are a ton of fakes out there, contemporary made decoys aged to look old. But you can't fake real patina and I know from your comments you aren't going to be fooled on close inspection. Look for quality; decoys that are well made were not likely "one-offs" and can often be attributed to a known maker, which makes their value skyrocket. Look for eye appeal, especially if they are hand made. Now this is the hardest thing to judge when dealing with folk art, but if it grabs you, it will likely grab other people, too. Smaller and Bigger are better; anything under four inches is unusual, as is anything over ten inches. Terrestrials have great interest, so look for frogs, turtles, muskrat, etc. Unusual fish like sturgeon or catfish are highly sought after, too. Condition is less a factor in decoys than in lures, although it DOES matter. Most collectors who are in to "working" decoys don't mind some honest wear.

The bottom line is that if you can pick them up relatively cheap, and they are legitimately old, it is really, really hard to go wrong.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My favorite Doug English lure was a Puggin' Shorty but I did catch a lot of specks on one of his "Bingo Christmas Tree" lures. The Christmas lure was a white body with different colored polka dots all over it. I still have a few of the Bingo lures, but lost my last Pluggin' Shorty a few years back while trolling for specks in a local river.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Thank you for the advice. I will let you know how I do.

I already missed out on a glass Orvis Minnow Trap. Have always wanted one. It sold today. I thought it was going tomorrow.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Well, have done a little research. Turns out the decoys were made by Oscar Peterson. I also discovered the largest collection of Peterson decoys was owned by a man who lived not 10 minutes from me and auctioned in 2008. This will be interesting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@buck Wow. Oscar Peterson is a legend and his decoys are very, very valuable. He's one of the five or so greatest ice decoy makers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Just returned from an auction of vintage fishing items. Let me just say that I am completely humbled. I must have a good eye for these things because everything I was interested in went for between $2500 and $13,000. One lonely lure went for $600, which I suspect was a fraud. I will now crawl back onto the porch where I belong with my tail between my legs.

Dr. Todd, I kept a record of the items and purchase prices if you wish to have them for your records.

A note to everyone else. If you happen to pass a hand carved bluegill plaque, one which looks like a middle school art project, at a flea market, buy it. Don't even negotiate the price, just buy it. It might be worth $13,000.

The good news is I scored over 500 saltwater flies, in fly boxes for $50. Mint.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@buck yes, please! Email me at whitefishpress AT yahoo DOT com if you would be so kind. 13,000? That is incredible...

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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