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eBay Is A Great Reference For Collectible Fishing Tackle Values

Dec 20, 2007
Using the "Completed listings" feature on eBay allows antique fishing tackle collectors find real information on what vintage fishing reels, lures and rods have actually sold for under auction conditions.

With the increase in demand and values for collectible fishing tackle, including vintage lures, rods and reels, many new collectors struggle with determining the value of their finds. When I am asked to appraise collectible any fishing tackle, my first advice is always to start with the "Completed listings" feature on eBay, as it is a great free tool for determining the value of similar collectibles that have sold on eBay in the last 30 days.

To use eBay's Completed Listings feature, first type in the item that you want to value in the search box at the top of the page. On the left hand column check the box for "Completed listings" and finish by clicking search at the top of the page. The result is a list of all items that match your search criteria which have auctions that have ended within the last 30 days.

Because the Completed listings feature only searches titles, not descriptions or listing bodies, it is usually helpful to make the search phrase broader than you would when searching for active auctions. For example "Ambassadeur 5000" will produce better results than "Ambassadeur 5000 in box". In this case the words "in box" might only appear in the listing body.

Compare the results to your collectible reel, rod or lure, noting the following:

Did the completed item actually sell? If it did not hit reserve, or had no bids then the information is considerably less reliable.

What was the condition of the collectible fishing tackle listed compared to yours? Condition is absolutely critical. Unless the rod, reel or lure is very rare, then the difference between pristine and very lightly used can make a dramatic difference in value. New collectors often overlook tiny scratches and wear marks that ding value. Make sure that you look carefully at the listing photographs to determine condition.

Is there a box? Some of the boxes in my extensive collection of vintage Swedish fishing reels are more valuable than the reels inside. The same rules of condition apply to boxes. The same applies for instruction paperwork and other "goodies that would have been original to the boxed item.

Is the model exactly like yours, and of the same age? A slightly different model reel, rod or lure might have significantly higher production runs, impacting value.

Was the bid volume heavy? Greater numbers of bidders generally means that the sales price is more reliable. If there are only 1 or 2 bidders you have to guess as to whether there is a strong market for your collectible item.

Although not perfect, eBay's Completed listings feature is a great appraisal tool. It works best on collectible fishing tackle items that have had several recent sales. For extremely rare pieces, sales prices can vary wildly depending on how many heavyweight collectors were on line during the time that the auction was live. I have always preferred this "real life" appraisal system rather than a book value that can be months or years out of date in a volatile marketplace.

The bottom line is that there is a wealth of free collectible fishing tackle information on eBay. Take advantage of it, but before making a large expenditure check several sources rather than trusting in one "expert" opinion.
About the Author
Andy Howe is a collector of vintage Swedish fishing reels manufactured by River, Rainbow, Victory, ABU and Record. Visit his vintage and collectible fishing tackle website at COOLTACKLE.COM to see more information about vintage reels rods and lures.
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