Auction Date: 23/03/2022 at 10am
Original Kill Devil Lure - Attributable to the Maker Ustonson constructed of nickel silver and shaped with a central barrel, attached to which are curved winged flanges on either side, also a single trailing hook. Length overall 5 ¼", c. early 19th Century. Provenance - The Ian Duncan Mackenzie Collection, believed to the be the only known example of the legendary Original Kill-devil Artificial Bait, of great historical importance, since it is the legendary lure mentioned by 40 authors of 19th Century angling books and publications. One of the earliest was Bowlker's 'Art of Angling etc' 1826 in which the author mentions 'Kill Devil for Trolling'. In America James A Henshalls 'Book of the Black Bass' 1881 mentions Kill Devil, pages 430/505. The most comprehensive information is given by J H Keene in the book 'Fishing Tackle: Its Materials and Manufacture' 1886, which contains the first detailed illustration in angling literature (Fig. 108 page 94). This provided the opportunity to note the difference between the Original Model and the many lures that copied the basic design and the artificial bait's name in the following centuries. The author J H Keene understood what made the Original Model unique was the curvature of the wing flanges which he detailed by subtle shading to the wings in Fig. 108 and made special mention also adding the words 'It is quite impractical to make without proper machinery'. He further stated that he knew the Kill-Devil lure had been in use for 20 years. The only known maker recorded as selling that named lure was Ustonson and Maria Ustonson (1822-47), while Royal Warrant Holder supplied King George IV with fishing tackle including 'Kill Devils' in 1828 (Ref. @Fishing Tackle: The Ultimate Collector's Guide pages 50/51). More compelling evidence as to the maker comes from the fact that a special feature of the lure is the letter 'U' stamped on one of the wing flanges. Ustonson, the prestigious London maker, used the letter as a trademark. (Ref. 'Fishing Tackle: The Ultimate Guide Page 41). The unique features of the lure poses the possibility the lure was made by Ustonson and included in the lot is a copy of J H Keeve's 'Fishing Tackle' of 1886 in which the lure is illustrated, also Moore Allen & Innocent catalogue from 11/03/2008 in which the lure was sold (Lot 761) as part of the Mackenzie Collection. The lure is housed in a later additional 19th century olive green leather display case with concealed press-button closure and stamped in gilt lettering to the base 'JC Vickery Regent Street' together with a Royal Crown insignia denoting the maker was a Royal Warrant Holder.