Vintage Jitterbugs

Vintage Jitterbug LureAntique lure collecting is a fascinating hobby. Jewels turn up in some of the most unlikely places. I remember not too long ago, I purchased an old tacklebox from a flea market, just because it was the same type I had when I was a youngster. The price was so cheap that never even looked inside of it until I got it home. When I did open it, Lo and Behold! There were several dozen classic wooden lures inside…several Creek Chubs, Devils Horses, Jitterbugs, even a Tin Liz, 4 or 5 balsa Chuggers and my all-time favorite, the East Texas Billy Bass, hand-whittled and painted in Gilmer, Texas. I still have all of them. You never know what you will find.
Some old fishing lures can be worth some serious change. Almost any pre-1920s is worth something, and most pre-WW-II lures can bring a respectable price from serious collectors. Early Heddons, Shakespeare, Creek Chub, Wright and McGill (Eagle Claw), and South Bend lures are highly sought after. And some Arbogast lures are also collectable, such as the Tin Liz, and the Spin-Tail Kicker.
Unfortunately, from a money standpoint, Jitterbugs do not fall into that category. It’s not that they weren’t any good, rather that they were too good. The Jitterbug has never been out of production since Day One. Oh, some of the early wooden models, or plastic-lipped WW-II versions may bring a little higher price, but for the most part, Jitterbugs are relatively unchanged since their birth, and are still going strong. Up until the 1980s, over 3 quarters of a million Jitterbugs were sold annually. Even now, they are still in the top 20, selling over 300,000 lures each year. Trendy lures come and go, but the Jitterbug is here to stay.
But from a nostalgic point of view, especially for us older folk who have fond memories of fishing with them as youngsters, Jitterbugs are infinitely collectable. Of course, pre-WW-II versions are the most sought-after, every decade or so, a minor change was instituted. Some decades had larger hook rings. Some years had plastic lips. And the wooden bodies were re-introduced several times over the years, for brief periods. And of course, and pre-PRADCO Jitterbug will be a cherished possession. Older Jitterbugs bring back happy memories of happy times, when the world was a different place, and anything was possible. That’s something money can’t buy, at any price….

Jitterbug Lure © 2014