How to Date Vintage Jitterbug Lures

How to Date Vintage Jitterbug Lures: A Guide for Collectors

If you are an avid fishing lure collector, you likely appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating vintage lures. Among the most sought-after collectibles are vintage Jitterbug lures, known for their unique design and effectiveness in catching bass and other game fish. However, dating these lures can be a challenge, as many were produced over several decades. In this article, we will guide you through the process of dating vintage Jitterbug lures and provide answers to common questions collectors often have.

Dating Vintage Jitterbug Lures:

1. Research the company: Jitterbug lures were initially produced Fred Arbogast, with the first Jitterbug introduced in 1938. Knowing the company’s history and production timeline will help narrow down the age of your lure.

2. Check the hardware: Different hardware features were used over the years, such as hook sizes, screw eyes, and lip shapes. Compare your lure’s hardware to known examples from different eras to determine its approximate age.

3. Identify the color patterns: Jitterbug lures came in various color patterns, some of which were only produced during specific periods. Consult lure catalogs or online resources to match your lure’s color pattern to a particular era.

4. Look for patent numbers: Some vintage Jitterbug lures had patent numbers stamped on them. Research the patent numbers to find the corresponding years of production.

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5. Study the box or packaging: If you have the original box or packaging, it can provide valuable clues to date your lure. Look for copyright dates, addresses, or any other information that may indicate a specific time frame.

6. Consult collector guides and forums: There are several collector guides and online forums dedicated to vintage fishing lures. Engage with other collectors and share information, as they may have valuable insights or resources for dating your Jitterbug lure.

Now, let’s address some common questions collectors often have about vintage Jitterbug lures:

1. How much are vintage Jitterbug lures worth?
The value of vintage Jitterbug lures can vary depending on the rarity, condition, and demand. Rare colors or limited editions can fetch higher prices, while damaged or common lures may be less valuable.

2. Are Jitterbug lures still effective for fishing?
Yes, Jitterbug lures are still effective for fishing. Their unique design, with a metal lip that creates a noisy and enticing surface disturbance, continues to attract bass and other game fish.

3. Can I clean my vintage Jitterbug lure?
It’s generally recommended to avoid cleaning vintage lures, as it may diminish their value. Patina and signs of wear are often appreciated collectors. If you must clean them, use a mild soap and water solution, and handle them with care.

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4. Are there reproductions of vintage Jitterbug lures?
Yes, there are reproductions of vintage Jitterbug lures in the market. Be cautious when buying, especially if the price seems too good to be true. Research reputable sources and consult experienced collectors to ensure authenticity.

5. How can I store my vintage Jitterbug lures properly?
To preserve your vintage Jitterbug lures, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Individual lure storage containers or tackle boxes with compartments can help prevent damage and tangling of the hooks.

6. Can I use vintage Jitterbug lures for fishing?
Although vintage Jitterbug lures are collectibles, they can still be used for fishing. However, be aware that using them may cause wear or damage, potentially reducing their collector value.

7. Where can I find vintage Jitterbug lures for sale?
Vintage Jitterbug lures can be found in various places, such as online auction sites, fishing tackle shows, antique shops, and specialized fishing lure stores. Be prepared to spend time searching and researching before making a purchase.

8. How do I differentiate between different models of Jitterbug lures?
Differentiating between Jitterbug models can be challenging, as they often share similar design features. Study collector guides, consult experienced collectors, and compare your lure’s characteristics to known examples to identify the model.

9. What are some rare color patterns to look for?
Some rare color patterns include frog spot, silver flash, and red wing blackbird. These colors were often produced in limited quantities and are highly sought-after collectors.

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10. Can I repair damaged vintage Jitterbug lures?
Repairing vintage Jitterbug lures should be approached with caution, as improper repairs can devalue the lure. If you’re unsure, consult a professional lure restorer or collector for guidance.

11. How do I authenticate a vintage Jitterbug lure?
Authenticating vintage Jitterbug lures involves careful examination of its hardware, color patterns, box or packaging, and comparing it to known examples. If in doubt, seek the opinion of experienced collectors or appraisers.

12. Are there any Jitterbug lures with special markings or engravings?
Some Jitterbug lures were produced with special markings or engravings, such as tournament editions or limited editions. These markings can add value to the lure and make it more desirable for collectors.

13. Can I find vintage Jitterbug lures in flea markets or garage sales?
While it’s possible to find vintage Jitterbug lures in flea markets or garage sales, they are becoming increasingly rare. However, it’s always worth keeping an eye out for hidden treasures in unexpected places.

Now armed with the knowledge of how to date vintage Jitterbug lures and answers to common questions, you can enhance your collection and appreciate the rich history behind these iconic fishing lures. Happy collecting and tight lines!

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