Published March 19, 2010, 03:01 PM

Collectible spears can still be found

With winter on the wane (I hope) I felt it appropriate to talk about an item that is generally accepted useful only during the winter ice season, that being spears. Probably the most common, well known and easily collectible spear in Minnesota is a Randall spear. However, this company is better known for its highly collectible spearing decoys.

By: MARK GREENIG, DL-Online

With winter on the wane (I hope) I felt it appropriate to talk about an item that is generally accepted useful only during the winter ice season, that being spears. Probably the most common, well known and easily collectible spear in Minnesota is a Randall spear. However, this company is better known for its highly collectible spearing decoys. We will discuss their spearing decoys in a later article. For this week, let’s set the foundation for the Randall Company with some history. We will end with information on their nicely crafted spears.

The founder of the Randall Decoy and Spear business was George Randall. George was born in Morris, Minn., certainly not far from Detroit Lakes. While in high school, George made fish decoys and spears for himself and close friends. He also made boats — all part of his hobby. He graduated from Willmar High School in 1940. He briefly worked as a machinist and inspector for Burlington Northern Railroad. One year after graduating from high school, George joined the U.S. Navy during World War II as a member of the Navy Seabees. After five years of service, he went back to work for the railroad until the late 1950’s. Prior to his retirement from the railroad, Randall once again manufactured fish decoys and spears. He sold his products to local sporting good stores. His operation would today be considered a “garage type” business and was done at his home on Eagle Lake near Willmar. In 1960, Randall moved to Spicer, Minn., and purchased the Hultgren Café in 1964. He used the basement of the café to produce his decoys and spears. Around 1970, George sold the café and bought the old blacksmith business in Spicer and moved his entire business to that location. At its peak, the Randall business had seven employees, made decoys in ten colors and designs in four sizes. He also produced a crappie and sunfish fish decoy, both five inches in length. His panfish and sixteen inch fish are easily the most prized Randall fish decoys on the market today. So popular were Randall products, they were even sold in Michigan and North Dakota.

Let’s talk about Randall spears. In the old ads I have seen, they illustrate a five and seven tine spear. Make special note both spears were made in standard and deluxe models. In the deluxe model the rope went inside the handle making a nice smooth connection that their ads said, “will not splash or deflect flight of spear.” Both critical issues for the avid spear fisherman or woman. Although not in their ad, the later made Randall-Paschke spear was made in a third design. It’s interesting, you can determine the age (somewhat) of Randall spear by looking at the adhesive tag on the spear. Earlier spears have a black tag with large silver letters stating, “Randall” Spicer, MN 56288. Later spears have the same black tag with small letters stating, “Randall-Paschke” box 156, Spicer, MN 56288 and a phone number. I have been told the most desirable and early Randall spears were light green in color. All others are black. I have been unable to confirm that comment, yet I have seen a green Randall spear. Finding a Randall spear in the Detroit Lakes area is not hard. You can get a good buy if the seller does not know what they have. Yes, you certainly can find them even today at garage sales. Value of a Randall spear is $25 to $75. The range is based on style, standard or deluxe, type of business tag and condition. If you find a green one that looks original consider yourself lucky and buy it. Even though I can’t prove it, I believe there is some truth to the existence of green Randall spears. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.

Tags: