Q: These fishing reels belonged to my dad. We found them in a box marked "Antique." I know nothing about reels and have no idea how to find out if they have any value. Could you give me some direction on where to start?
A: The query came with images of six reels.
http://www.langsauction.com, is a leader. Started by Bob Lang, the auction was bought in 2002 by Waterville, N.Y. residents John and Debbie Ganung. Once in charge, they took the business online and built it from a sleepy regional specialty auction into a powerhouse. Their online site is informative and complete, and the auctions set benchmarks, as well as records.
Lang's was the first auction house to take its catalog green, moving from printed catalogs to disc and online. And they did so long before others joined the movement.
John Ganung recommends the Internet as a source of information on antique and collectible fishing tackle. Search for websites built and maintained by collectors for all categories of vintage tackle.
Smart collectors know that a committed collector knows more than anyone about the item(s) they collect. As example, Ganung cites http://www.sidemountreels.com, the site built by a collector of early American side-mounted reels.
For tackle-related books, he recommends http://www.whitefishpress.com. And check the Lang's site for prices realized at Lang's for all sorts of antique and vintage equipment. Results date from 2005 to the present.
The reader's reels, he added, date from the 1950s-'70s. They are vintage, not antique. Makers are Bronson, sold by Montgomery Ward, Shakespeare, Heddon, and a Sportfishing 400 model, sold by K-Mart. Values range from $5-$20 each. Many were made, and these are used standard models. They're considered recent as fishing collectibles go.
Q: We want to sell two pieces of Royal China, but can't find the pattern on eBay or replacements.com. How do we find value?
A: The pattern seen in images of two serving pieces is a knockoff of a Royal Worcester blue-and-white pattern.
The Royal China Company of Sebring, Ohio, operated from 1933-1986. During that time, it produced many, many pieces of dinnerware in differing patterns. Royal China was such a prolific maker that identifying the exact pattern may be impossible.
The company's Old Curiosity Shop and Currier and Ives patterns are most in demand today. Much of the rest sells for $2-$4 a plate, though serving pieces can bring more.
Online is where to find a motivated buyer. I'd watch sale results of Royal China comparable pieces on eBay. Then, post the pieces at prices you can live with.
BOOK IT! "Vintage Cottages" by Molly English (Gibbs Smith, $24.99) is chock full of ideas on how to marry a traditional vacation home with modern, fun decorating. Using actual homes such as "Chautauqua," an English cottage, "Pelican Roost" and more, photos show how to achieve a restful cottage look.
AUCTION ACTION: A new record for fishing reels at auction was set at Lang's Auction in April, 2012 when a rare circa 1990s titanium fly reel fashioned by master maker Jack Charlton brought $31,050. Making a reel of titanium is extremely difficult; hence few exist. Considered the best fishing reel money can buy, the titanium reel is a fly fisherman's dream.
Only about eight of these were produced and the maker passed away a few years ago, making them all the more desired and collectible.
Can you ID the major reason why some auction houses will not switch to disc catalogs?
1) Production costs are prohibitive.
2) Many mailing list customers lack fast computers.
3) Customers want a book in hand during the sale.
4) Discs don't have the authority of a printed book.
A: The answer (3) is all about collector behaviors. Many -- if not most -- auction attendees and those who follow sales online personalize their catalogs with Post-It notes for items of interest. They add hand-written notes and jot down prices realized. Many then keep the annotated catalogs as reference.
(Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each one individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write Danielle Arnet, c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611. Please include an address in your query. Photos cannot be returned.)