Published February 04, 2011, 02:06 PM

Read up on collecting vintage steel traps

Last time we discussed vintage trapping books, an effort which I enjoy a great deal. My thought process all along was to have that article be a preliminary for future discussions on collecting steel traps.

By: Mark Greenig, DL-Online

Last time we discussed vintage trapping books, an effort which I enjoy a great deal. My thought process all along was to have that article be a preliminary for future discussions on collecting steel traps. Our journey for steel traps begins this week. As with all collectibles shared, it’s imperative I provide quality information on written resources you can utilize to protect yourself whether buying or selling. This effort will be no different.

I must admit my knowledge regarding steel traps is based on a minimal amount of written resources. Also, note I am no expert on traps. Of all the items I have and will discuss in the future, such information is most difficult to locate in this arena. However, there is sufficient text to be found that will assist us in our on going efforts to identify and value collector vintage traps.

The very best text I have found on the history of traps is written by Richard Gerstell and titled, “The Steel Trap in North America.” This book uses a wealth of illustrations on traps from the 1600’s to the 1980’s. I am especially fond of its’ cover quote stating, “The Illustrated Story of Its Design, Production, and Use with Furbearing and Predatory Animals, From Its Colorful Past to the Present Controversy.” Note the emphasis on present controversy.

Be advised the single goal of this article is to offer quality information for those wishing to become educated on steel traps. Our wonderful geographical location has been and continues to be (in a lesser magnitude) an area abundant with furbearing animals. As a result, trapping continues to be a vocation still practiced by many.

A quick reflection on our last discussion regarding vintage trapping books. Ironically, an additional benefit of collecting trapping books is some have great information on traps as part of their text. A wonderful example of that is the book, “Deadfalls & Snares” by A.R. Harding written in 1907. The A.R. Harding name should be familiar to you because his writings in vintage trapping books are highly sought after. He was one of the authors I mentioned in our last article. In the mentioned text, the last chapter deals strictly with steel traps. In fact, even though limited in length, the chapter goes into great detail on Newhouse traps. It is like a pocket guide to Newhouse, and would serve anyone well desiring to obtain specific data on those very collectible traps.

I am of the opinion Newhouse traps are likely the most sought after traps in the market today. Although very collectible, relatively easy to obtain and hold their value well, Newhouse traps can be expensive.

Just one more booklet I would like to mention for your benefit. It too is small in stature, but large in value. Robert Vance is considered an expert in projecting value for steel traps. His booklet, “Price Guide to Collector Antique Traps 2003 Edition” has been a welcomed addition in my library on sporting collectibles. I have tried to locate later editions, but have been unsuccessful to date. Still, the 2003 edition will assist us in determining prices for various collectible steel traps. Those three texts will be the foundation for our upcoming articles on collectible steel traps.

So, get out to those old sheds, barns and other forgotten places and see if you don’t have some “steel” hanging around. Because of our area history, I am positive there are collectible traps just waiting to be found and placed in homes as part of a rustic décor. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.

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