2020 - Volume #44, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Metal Mousetraps Worth Big Bucks
Tom Parr has about 400 mouse and rat traps in his Ohio museum, and many of the most valuable ones are metal.
“Some of the metal ones are hard to find,” he says. “If you go to an antique store and ask if they have mousetraps, they often say they are still using them,” he notes.
Over the years he’s traded for and purchased some unusual ones such as the Cyclone, patented in 1883 by John and Thomas Morris. Bait is placed on a spring in the center of jaws that look like a teepee.
“Of this group, the cast iron trap is the most valuable, at about $300,” he says. Patented in 1897 by Streeter & Anstice, the base is cast iron and the company also made a rat trap version.
Though mousetraps were made of wood first, metal stamping companies likely started making traps to use up metal scraps and have another product to sell.
“The names are interesting,” Parr says, pointing to one of his favorites, the Iron Cat, patented in 1917 by Myron Twitchell. Adding to its value $200 to $300 is the brightly covered box with a black cat that the trap came in. He adds another one with an interesting name — Kitty Gotcha — that looked like a cat face made in different colors. They were made in the 1930’s out of plastic and are worth about $150.
The OWL, 1906 by William Hooker, had an interesting name and unique mechanism with the kill bar inside a sheet metal housing ($150). It’s one of the many ways inventors created different varieties of triggers. In 1924 W.A. Gibbs designed a double trap to catch mice going in both directions It’s valued at about $150.
It’s getting more difficult to find traps at antique stores, Parr says. But if you find one in your attic or barn, there are collectors who might be interested. The more unusual traps are worth between $50 to $300. You can sell them on eBay (list them under Trapping) or contact Parr for information about the North American Trap Collectors Association. Call for reservations for a free tour of his museum that has a room dedicated to small traps among the more than 4,000 traps on display.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tom Parr, Trap History Museum, 6106 Bausch Rd., Galloway, Ohio 43119 (ph 614 878-6011; www.traphistorymuseum.com; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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