These collectibles can reel in anywhere from $5 to as much as $100,000 for a rare find, such as the metal Giant Haskell Minnow (not shown). Heddon invented the first wooden lure in the late 1890s, and this circa 1906 Heddon find (blue and white, upper middle), dubbed the Slopenose due to its angled head, commands $500. The Little Wonder, a wooden bait (red and yellow, upper right) made by Clinton Wilt Mfg. Co. in 1913, goes for $800 thanks to still-intact barbershop-style stripes and working spinner. Arthur J. Kumm created the Fish Spotter (green and yellow, middle left) in 1933, and the wooden version is now valued at $100.
Smart idea! Employ a little bait and switch by turning a metal minnow bucket (found on eBay for $30) into a flower vase.
In 1917, Heddon developed a line of high-end fishing reels to compete with gear made by Meek. The No. 30, seen at top right, was the most costly, priced at up to $60 at the time. Complete with leather case and original box (not pictured), this reel fetches around $500 today. Often mistaken for a fly-fishing reel due to its large diameter, this 1930s find (large circle, upper right) by Go-Ite of Kokomo, Indiana, is worth $300. The petite brass reel (brass, middle right) made for trout fishing by Hendryx of New Haven, Connecticut, dates back to the 1890s—before the company was acquired by Winchester. Still functioning, it's valued at $150.
In 1954, music became mobile with the invention of the portable radio. Early examples like the Regency TR-1 (not pictured)—the world's first pocket radio—can sell to the tune of $1,000. Later versions like this late '60s pocket-size player made by Omegas (bottom shelf, middle) go for around $50 if still in working order. The brighter, the better! When it comes to transistor radios from the '50s and early '60s, hues like orange-red and powder blue really strike a chord with collectors. If you have an old transistor that's experiencing radio silence? Remove the back and turn it into a hiding spot for keys!
- SIGNS Despite the fact that they don't hold an especially high value, vintage lake signs from any era can be hard to find. This 1970s road marker, which once led visitors to Kansas's popular Waconda Lake, was scooped up on eBay for only $40.
- LANTERNS Kerosene lanterns have been lighting things up since the 1800s, and this 1970s Coleman model in working order goes for about $60 ($15 if not). More seasoned collectors hunt for old railroad lanterns with colored glass by Dietz or Embury.
- COOLERS Portable ice chests were introduced in the 1930s. Made of metal, they rusted easily and often didn't last more than a few summers. This 1950s model by Thermos is valued at $90, while the '50s Coca-Cola Co. cooler nabs $110-$185.
- CADDY Originally introduced in 1923, this six-pack carrier was an innovation by the Coca-Cola Co. When furnished with vintage glass bottles, this '50s-era aluminum caddy sells for up to $100, depending on condition.
- COOLER JUG Pelican made drinking jugs in a variety of prints and colors in the 1950s, but preppy plaids tend to be worth the most green. In addition to Pelican, plaid vessels by Thermos and Stanley can be worth $30 to $100, depending on the condition.
Special thanks to collectors Matt Lollman and Mark Ward (), Architectural Anarchy (), and Ikaroo Fair vendor South Porch Antiques () for loaning many of the items you see in this story.