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Medlar has been publishing fishing books since 1994 and we are proud to have produced works by many of the finest angling writers. In our Blog we’ll give you an insight into the new books we’re working on, provide the occasional extract from our Books of the Week, author news, book reviews and loads of angling snippets (from how to fish to fishing history, fishing tackle, great angling literature and much more).

Hardy Lures

A Collectors' Guide
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The Book of Hardy Lures


Keith Harwood and David Stanley have just completed a stunning new work - The Book of Hardy Lures. In compiling it the authors have tried to make it as comprehensive and accurate as possible - not always an easy task. Lots of the information has been gleaned from the Hardy's Anglers’ Guides, but there were significant gaps in the publication of those books. The earliest known catalogue or Guide to survive was published in 1882 (believed to be the actual 7th edition). This catalogue was not illustrated - it was just a list of the fishing tackle offered for sale by Hardy at the time, together with advice on various aspects of fishing. The first catalogue containing a few small illustrations appeared the following year. In 1886, Hardy Brothers published their first fully illustrated catalogue of 94 pages, which offered for sale their range of fishing tackle and guns. By 1900 Hardy Lures featured heavily in the Guide, with Pioneer and Amber Devons, Quill Minnow and Quill and a splendid range of Horn, Rubber and Soleskin Phantoms!

Hardy’s Anglers’ Guides published prior to 1910 are extremely rare and expensive. Such was the firm’s success, however, that in 1888 it produced a supplement in French for its overseas customers. Up until 1931, the firm produced a full catalogue almost every year but, between 1931 and 1937, only one full catalogue was published (in 1934). However, a number of supplementary catalogues were published during this period. On 12th May, 1937, the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth took place at Westminster Abbey and that year saw the publication of two comprehensive Hardy’s Anglers’ Guides, one with an ordinary cover and one with a cover celebrating the Coronation. After 1937, the next full catalogue to be published was in 1951 and between 1951 and 1965, the publication of full catalogues was somewhat sporadic. After 1965, the annual catalogues were much reduced in size and by this time Hardy had ceased the production of lures.

Whilst trying to be accurate regarding the dating of lures, the reader must exercise considerable caution, since some lures were almost certainly offered for sale prior to their inclusion in the catalogues and, even after lures were no longer listed in the catalogues, they almost certainly continued to be sold for a number of years by dealers until stocks were exhausted.
Hardy were extremely good at marketing their products via their catalogues and every few years they seemed to update their lures by making minor adjustments and re-naming them as ‘New’ or ‘Improved’, and by this means enticing the lure angler to part with his money. This can frequently add to the confusion of dating the lures. The number and variety, particularly of Phantom and Devon minnows, seems almost endless. Furthermore, during the latter half of the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth, many of the same lures were sold by different companies such as Allcock and Farlow under the same name. Generally speaking, however, Hardy did stamp most of its lures, but not all, with its trademark. To further complicate matters, in the early decades of its existence, Hardy offered to make bespoke lures for their customers provided the customer ordered at least a dozen of a particular model. As a result of this, lures can sometimes be found stamped with the Hardy trademark, which do not appear in the catalogues. A number of others lures, too, such as the Feathero minnow (1930s) or Wooden Devon, which appeared during the Second World War, were never catalogued.

In spite of all these difficulties, the book is as comprehensive as possible, and collectors will find it very useful in identifying their finds and learning a little more about the fascinating history of Hardy Lures. Full of drawings and colour images of lures. The book is to be published shortly by the Medlar Press and can be reserved by clicking here.
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