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Chippewa Spinners from 1910
Lure Bidders to Canadian Auction


NEW HAMBURG, ONTARIO, CANADA – Fishing lure collectors had a field day on October 19th and 20th at Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada. Three green Chippewa spinner lures made around 1910 by the Immell Bait & Tackle Company of the United States brought a combined CA$24,780, and a clever Canadian-made circa 1930 Lurette No. 2 “living bait lure” was reeled in for CA$3,750—a record price for the lure.

The sale, held online and in Miller & Miller’s gallery in New Hamburg, featured the single-owner lifetime collection of fishing lures, decoys and reels of the late Bob Ronson. Around 700 of the 724 lots that came up for bid were from Mr. Ronson’s vast collection. Including the buyer’s premium, the two-day sale grossed more than CA$175,000.

Eight of the top ten lots in the sale were Chippewa lures and 48 lots overall were dedicated to Chippewas—five in their original boxes—a testament to their popularity with collectors. The top achiever was a Chippewa in green with back spotted sides, made of wood and in the original box. The lure, in very good-plus condition, hammered for CA$10,030.

The runner-up lots were a Chippewa in fancy green back, in the box, made of wood and in very good-plus condition, which sold for CA$7,670, and a Chippewa in green with back spotted sides, in the box, made of wood and graded very good, which sold for CA$7,080. Three rainbow Chippewas also cracked the top ten, as one example went to a determined bidder for CA$3,245 and the other went for CA$2,006.

The Lurette No. 2 lure, made by Canada Needle & Fishing Tackle, wowed bidders with its unique and imaginative design. It was a “living bait lure” that boasted a glass bulb surrounded by hooks that were designed to tempt fish with a live crayfish or worm. The example sold, in the original box and with both sets of paper instructions, was in superb shape and made CA$4,425.

The auction also featured a Fred Pardee Kent double spinner, an F.C. Woods expert minnow, a Dam Ever Ready jointed sunfish, and various lures from Heddon, Creek Chub, South Bend, Paw Paw, AL&W, Lucky Strike, Pfleuger, Williams, DAM of Germany, Allcock, Jamison and Fred Arbogast; folk art and decoys by Tom Martindale, Carl Christiansen and others; plus rods, reels and ephemera by Malloch, Starback, Pezon et Michel and others also crossed the auction block.

A Vaughn’s cardboard lure box with paperwork—no lure, just the box—made by Henry J. Lewis & Co. in the 1930s, graded good, realized CA$2,124. A Lauby Lure from the U.S., Lake Trout wonder spoon, made of wood in the 1930s, in excellent condition, rose to CA$2,006. And a Fred Pardee Kent of the U.S. double spinner, vary rare, made in 1902 and graded good, finished at CA$2,006.

A G.M. Skinner, also of the U.S., turkey wing lure from the 1900s, marked “Gananoque” and made out of copper, graded good, reached CA$1,180. A Martin of the U.S. cardboard lures box, graded very good, gaveled for CA$1,121. A Canada Needle & Fishing Tackle 1940s boxed lure, very good, sold for CA$920. And a Shakespeare Rhodes of the U.S. from the 1940s minnow lure, graded VG+, realized CA$649.

The story of how the Bob Ronson collection made its way to Miller & Miller’s auction block is interesting and worth retelling. It begins in the spring of 2015, when Ben Lennox stumbled on a garage sale in North Warterloo, Canada. “There were enough items of interest that led me to ask, ‘Do you have anything else old or interesting you’d be willing to sell?”, Mr. Lennox recalled.

Good thing he asked. The man Ben was talking to was Dave Ronson, Bob’s son, who, along with wife Paula, became custodians of the lures upon Bob’s death a few years earlier. Dave produced one drawer from a 144-drawer apothecary cabinet that had some fishing lures displayed in it. “After purchasing some unassuming fishing tackle, and after making an offer on the cabinet, which Dave accepted, we met at a storage locker so I could pick up my purchase,” Lennox said.

That’s when things got really interesting. “Upon opening the locker,” Ben recounted, “I quickly realized the magnitude of Bob Ronson’s collection.” Fast forward three years, during which time various e-mails and phone calls were exchanged between Dave and Ben, ultimately culminating with the Miller & Miller Auctions sale just held. “The rest, as they say, is history,” Lennox said.

Learn more about Miller and Miller Auctions. Contact them by Email.

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