Many years ago, (approx. 25-30) I travelled around the Midlands tackle shops on the hunt for second-hand vintage tackle.
Leaving leaflets in every fishing shop, occasionally I would get a call; some good, some not so.
However, one day I visited a long established shop in central Birmingham.
The father of the owner used to buy anything after the war so it was a general hardware store as well as a tackle shop.
The tackle shop owner, now a friend ,produced a dusty flat cardboard box the size of an old 12” LP.
“Oooh, gonna make your day now son,” he says!
Opening the box displayed 100, yes 100 brand new old stock Allcock’s Paragon lures with glass eyes and mounts. All wrapped in waxed tissue paper in sizes 1 – 3/4” to 3″.
After some haggling and a bit of arm wrestling I bought them all for £2.50 a lure that seemed the going rate at the time. Now, they are £200-400 a piece! What a great investment but who was to know at the time.
The lure collectors market was young in the UK and I had trouble selling them at £7 each in bulk lots.
So, if anyone has some left, I’m happy to double your money and buy them back at £14 – I’ll just wait by the phone!
There are ongoing discussions as to who made the Paragon retailed by Allcock’s. The Fishing Gazette in the 1880’s makes regular reference to Gregory of Vyse St, Birmingham as the maker and Allcock’s as the wholesaler.
There is further discussion that the glass eye held with 7 claws is Gregory, the 5 and 4 claws being Allcock’s. I’ve seen both claw styles on both named baits so that’s not definitive.
Gregory became dangerously ill in 1885, so who carried on production of the lures? Is that why Gregory’s name all but disappeared at the end of the 1880s?
Additional links with Chapman of New York gave a cross-pollination of metal bait styles, the US collectors will recognise the patterns.
Note: to find a Gregory lure on Gregory card is really rare. A boxed Gregory, I have yet to see, keep looking!
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