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Thread: Advice on collecting

  1. #1

    Default Advice on collecting

    Of late I've been admiring presentation flies. I've checked out a few on streamers365 and even spotted a few on ebay for sale. I've been wondering if there are any other fly collectors out there who might over some insight on how to get started (resources, books, events, values, collectable worthy tyers)...I tie a little but don't aspire to be a presentation level tyer. I'd like to pickup a few classic patterns from noted tyers to decorate the office.

    Any help is much appreciated.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Advice on collecting

    Hi Shotgun,

    I am not a collector per-say of flies other than my own rather prolific works since beginning in the 60's with tying flies. With that said I believe each person who may become interested in collecting flies must decide whether they will pursue classics created by those tiers who are a part of fly tying history & lore (Gordon, Stevens, et al) or to seek out the creativity and concepts of our contemporary tying population.

    Perhaps another consideration is how you want to value a collection. While the acquisition of scarce but authentic samplings left by the masters and creators of many well known styles & patterns may be expensive, those collections will to a certain extent retain their value, ie, the cost of acquisition.

    If the sole intention is to collect beautiful creations for display purposes and not to become owner of rare and historic renditions, there are a profuse number of tiers today who's work may in fact exceed the artistic levels of the legendary tier's of days gone by. It will of course be more economically sustainable to go with modern works than to seek out the more rare and expensive.

    Those are my thoughts and as stated I have no real experience with such collecting. I have however kept an eye peeled over the years for original works from tier's of historic interest and recall them as often quite costly.

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  5. #3
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    Thumbs up Re: Advice on collecting

    So true Ard, soooo true.

    But a different 'consideration' perhaps. For years anyone that stays in my home (house and motor home) MUST hang up "His Favorite fly" on (house) a cork board. In the MH it's the material right over the door.

    Small card (half a business card size) from whom/when/sometimes where (Deschutes, Chetco, lower Rogue, etc.) and it's like taking a walk down memory lane as you look at these things.

    fae
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  6. #4

    Default Re: Advice on collecting

    Thanks gents for the insights. I've gone back and forth on whether to dedicate efforts to finding rare originals (found what I believe to be a Carrie Stevens on ebay), but the asking prices are too much. And frankly, I think there is way too much to learn and too many frauds out there.

    I think I'll stick with contemporary tiers focusing on recognizing good technique, good materials, aesthetics and functionality. Who knows maybe one day their flies will be as famous.

    ---------- Post added at 04:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:08 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by fredaevans View Post
    So true Ard, soooo true.

    But a different 'consideration' perhaps. For years anyone that stays in my home (house and motor home) MUST hang up "His Favorite fly" on (house) a cork board. In the MH it's the material right over the door.

    Small card (half a business card size) from whom/when/sometimes where (Deschutes, Chetco, lower Rogue, etc.) and it's like taking a walk down memory lane as you look at these things.

    fae
    What a fantastic idea and way of slowing down time! Thanks for passing it on.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Advice on collecting

    In terms of salmon flies, i'd say you'd be very hard pressed to find any flies from the victorian era in a worth while condition, if you did you'd have to pay an arm and a leg for them, and even then, the best part of the fly would be the hook.
    A lot of todays tyers, when they find such flies, strip them and retie patterns on the old hooks.
    In terms of streamers, there certainly are a few by stevens and others who come up for auction on ebay and other places once in a while, and again, you'd have to pay top dollar for them. A stevens Gray Ghost recently sold on ebay for $220, and today there is one for sale with an asking price of ~$1500. Most flies are in the hands of collectors, and if you do get some for sale they are either not know to be from a tyer worth collecting and you might steal a bargain, or they are priced accordingly.

    You mention streamers365. There are certainly a number of quality tyers who's flies are featured on the project, including some members of this forum (i'll let you figure out who). Of those that i am aware of, if you are interested in collecting some of those flies from contemporary tyers of classic patterns i'd suggest the following
    Don Bastain
    Davie McPhail
    Bob Frandsen
    Mike Martinek
    Chris del Plato
    Ted Patlen
    Selene Dumaine
    Ryan Houston
    Alan Petrucci
    Mike Boyer
    David Mac
    Charlie Mann
    Jim Warner
    The streamers365 flies are auctioned off the first sunday of each month, running as 7 day auctions. I bought a couple at the start of the project, but lately, as the year has gone on, the prices have increased accordingly....I didnt pay more than $20 for my flies (each), now you're hard pressed to find one under $20 - A Mike Martinek Streamer from the project sold for $87 earlier in the year, and some recently have gone for $63, Davie McPhails Jock Scott, and others in the $40-60 range too.


    Another note on antique or vintage flies... A lot of flies listed on ebay and auction sites as antique or vintage, are actually neither. The best way identify such is they either have a period packaging and the tying is consistent with such, and/or they hooks on which the flies are tied are easily identifiable as vintage or antique. If you learn what the hooks looked like say 50 years ago, compared to todays hooks you'll know for certain if the fly was tied 10 years ago or 70 years ago. One example here is mustad classic hooks vs their modern 'signature' hooks. - the barbs and indeed the nomenclature of the hook model is totally different. the classic hooks have a HUGE barb, and were designed long before the dawn of catch and release; the hooks often come in little cardboard boxes or wrapped in paper. Of course, these are just hooks, but if you can access some, you will see what i'm talking about in terms of looking out for vintage quality flies on vintage hooks.
    One caveat here is the aforementioned classic flies by modern tyers on vintage hooks (many of the flies on streamers365 are tied on vintage hooks, many of which are no longer made!!). Those flies will have a luster and quality about the materials that you wouldnt necessarily see on a period fly, and should be treated as such....just a new fly on an old hook

    Identifying hooks is a good way to also determine trout and bass flies from yesteryear, particularly those tied on blind eye hooks (like salmon flies)- the quality and condition of the silk gut is another indicator of age and thus authenticity, but must also be taken with a grain of salt as the modern day 'hook stippers' also leave on the vintage gut to give an aged look to their new flies.
    Last edited by s fontinalis; 09-20-2012 at 10:40 AM.

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Advice on collecting

    Thanks s fontinalis, that's some very good information to have. I once got 'taken' on a tackle box that was sold as 'vintage' turns out he meant vintage style (after I lost $160 dollars on it). I did save the flies out of it...which kind of got me interested in collecting. I definitely recognize some of those names you listed. I really enjoy Davie's youtube posts and have been contemplating picking up a plate of bergman's flies tied by Don B. But, the price for one of those plates is a little much for now. Maybe something to put on the wish list.

  11. #7
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    Default Re: Advice on collecting

    Add one name to that long distinguished list above: Dia Jones. His on line 'step by steps' are very good.
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  12. #8
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    Default Re: Advice on collecting

    Another little bit of advice from a former museum executive director and long-time sporting art collector: Buy it because you like it, not because you think it will appreciate in value, which it likely won't. If you break even, be happy. Case in point: Ogden Pleissner sporting lithographs, which were selling for 2 and 3 thousand just a few years ago don't get their ebay asking price of 3 or 400 bucks these days. Again, buy it because you like it. Leave speculating to the pros....who have a lot of nifty stuff they can't sell.

    a professional 2 cents.
    Gary

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  14. #9
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    Default Re: Advice on collecting

    Quote Originally Posted by gt05254 View Post
    which were selling for 2 and 3 thousand just a few years ago don't get their ebay asking price of 3 or 400 bucks these days.
    Gary
    Gary,
    How much of that do you think is just because ebay has made it so easy to buy, and while it is a great place to buy, it's a lousy place to sell? Moneywise at least.

  15. #10
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    Default Re: Advice on collecting

    Dan, I count among my friends some of the most well-known sporting artists in the world. To a man, they say the market is flat, flat, flat. They are living artists that don't sell on ebay. I firmly believe that it is not ebay that has driven prices down. Just a sign of the times.
    Gary

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