Taking a 'gander' at Herter's goose calls
BY MARK GREENIG
This week I would like to share with you information on Herter's goose calls. In their catalogs, this company promised it would "take less than 10 minutes to learn to blow this call (goose calls) correctly so you can bring in any goose that comes anywhere near you." (Not so sure I believe that statement.) Once again, refer to the two resources I shared in our last article to become educated on the many types of Herter's goose calls that were produced back in the glory days of this company.
Common goose calls you should be on the look-out for include the famous numara-type calls no. 377, 379 and 383. Most of these calls were priced from $4 to $10 each. The numara model no. 383 was a rather costly call considering the time, retailing for $10. Most other numara calls were half that cost. Keep that in mind when searching for these goose calls. I am guessing most sellers are not aware of such information.
In addition to their numara line, Herter's enjoyed success with the Saskatchewan line of calls. Herter catalogs gave the same guarantee of learning to use this call in 10 minutes. Also, Herter's stated, "This is the goose call used exclusively by the Indians throughout Saskatchewan and James Bay, Canada." The main difference with this call versus the numara is a neoprene reed instead of two chronil metal reeds. Good to know when looking for a Saskatchewan goose call.
Always feel free to ask the seller to take apart the call to insure you're getting the proper reed with this call. Such behavior insures you purchase or sell a call that has not been tampered with. Saskatchewan call numbers include 153, 155 and 156. Most sold for about $5 each. The only exception in the mid to late 1960's was call no. 156. They retailed for a hefty price of $10 each.
Some of their goose calls came with a goose call holster and a loop of nylon cord for attaching to your call with the other end tied to your belt. Losing a $10 call back in the 1960's hurt one's pocket book, thus the need to secure a call to your body to prevent such loss.
I will put that into perspective. Today, a good call retails for $130 and up. Lose one of those and you quickly understand why it's important to attach duck and goose calls to your body. Nowadays, a smart hunter uses a two-loop lanyard (device to attach calls around your neck). Calls come in two pieces. Think about this. Murphy's law states you will lose the end not attached to a single loop lanyard. Result is the same. Losing one half of the call is just as bad as losing the entire item.
Value in goose calls, for whatever reason, seems to be a bit less than a good vintage duck call. However, make no mistake about the demand for a good goose call with box, papers, holster and nylon loop. As always, expect the value to at least double if all the amenities accompany the Herter's goose call you are selling or buying. I purchased a brace of Saskatchewan goose calls in 2005 for $50 each. They came with super boxes, papers and one had the much in demand holster and nylon loop. Take a quick look at eBay and you will find a limited number of Herter's goose calls for sale. I estimate most goose calls with the proper boxes and the like to cost you about the same as it did in 2005. Calls alone will go for about one third to one half less. Remember, condition is everything in all sporting collectibles. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.