Minnows and metal buckets were the thing
Last time we talked about the rather large metal sucker bucket. As promised, let's finish our discussion on the standard size minnow bucket. My research found metal minnow buckets appearing around the early 1900's. Many of those early models looked like a torpedo with one end being pointed. However, the much more common style came into vogue in the 1940's. By 1950, a multitude of companies offered this product. Some additional companies that I didn't mention previously to be on the lookout for include J.C. Higgins, Sears, Westpoint, Kingfisher, Morhand, Faris, O-Fish-Al, Blue Grass Belknap, Covey Minn-O-Safe, Airflo, Green River and Mit Shel. I am confident additional searching would turn up even more possibilities. All are worthy of display in the proper décor.
Most standard round buckets are, once again, two-piece, which includes exterior bucket and a metal liner with holes. Dimensions will generally be 29" in circumference, 9" high, 9" across and 8.5" deep.
Look for the same characteristics that we highlighted in our last article. Quickly, that consisted of heavier metal, thicker metal handles with wood hand piece and soldered metal interior rather than visible styrofoam. Most round minnow containers look very similar. Two variables which will drive up the value whether you're selling or buying are color and graphics. The most common finish is the typical slate grey. However, you will find these in blue, lime green, dark green and red. Add fish designs and you will find more interest among collectors. Some containers have odd shaped tops such as a dome. They are harder to find and will also drive up the value.
An additional variable with metal buckets is the oval shape. This bucket will hold more water (not nearly as much as a sucker bucket) due to its' increased size. Common dimensions for such a container are 34" in circumference, 9" high, 9" deep and 12" across. Oval designs will demand more money due to their not being as common as their round counterpart. For that reason they have more appeal with collectors.
To get buyers excited one must have the usual maker, condition and rarity. The most expensive metal minnow container I have seen was a very early torpedo model with an asking price of $200. I am not sure, even though it is rare, such a value is realistic. For common "run of the mill" round minnow containers in very good condition, expect a value of $15 to $25. This past weekend, I came across a number of such items at the local flea market in that price range. These buckets are often less expensive at flea markets than antique shops. Oval buckets in very good condition should be worth $20 to $35. I see no need to spend more unless it's an item you really want.
The supply of these items is too great and holds down their value. Ten years ago they were more valuable than today. Back then, I heard from a number of sources companies such as Bass Pro and others were purchasing metal minnow bucket liners and making them into lamps. Never could verify that comment. Still, visualize (if you will) a 100 watt bulb inside a metal minnow bucket liner shooting out light from hundreds of little holes. Thinking about such a sight gives me a headache. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.