Most turkey hunters have no idea how far back turkey calls go. The earliest calls, verified with careful analysis, date back to 6,500 B.C. Wingbone calls (made from the turkey wing bone) and similar antler calls originated with Native Americans.
However, it was around 1800 when turkey calls started to become popular with settlers. At that time, there were three types of turkey calls being made which included friction, diaphragm and yelpers.
Production of such calls began about 1880 due to the efforts of Charles Jordan. He was best known for his bone yelpers. So popular was the turkey call, Jordan wrote a series of articles on such for Field and Stream magazine in 1881. He is often given credit for connecting Native American turkey calls with mainstream society. This brings us to our featured turkey box call maker Mike Lynch.
Lynch started making and selling the turkey box call in 1939. He was the first person to mass produce and market turkey calls. Early Lynch calls were made entirely of cedar. He later changed his calls to walnut lids, mahogany sides and they were glued together. That tidbit easily dates Lynch calls. Also important to remember is the earliest Lynch turkey box calls were made in Birmingham, Ala. In 1970, Lynch sold his company to Al Jenkins. Jenkins quickly moved production to Mississippi and are still in production today.
When selling or buying a Lynch call, remember there are a number of different variations in the market. Some have one eyelet on top, others have two. Model 102 was a very popular call and is easy to distinguish because the model number is printed on either the side or top of call. This particular model has the words, "Lynch's World Champion Turkey Call." I share that because some Lynch box calls say, "Turkey Caller." More tips to look for in a Lynch box call.
Also unique to this call was the ability to use one side of the box to imitate the hen, the other side to imitate the gobbler. Other wording on one side bottom of Lynch calls states, "If this box is not obtainable locally, order from M. Lynch Co., P.O. Box 377, Liberty, Miss." The other bottom side states, "This box made & tested by M. L. Lynch Co.-World champion turkey caller and manufacturer."
If there is no zip code on the box, that particular call was made prior to the mid 1960's. I should add, the Model 102 was very popular in the 50's. A Lynch box call should have two eye screws on each side of the box for rubber bands to increase pressure between the two parts of the call. General dimensions of the call are 9 3/8" long for the top, sides about 7.5" long and 2" at deepest point.
Value is often over stated on eBay. A recent search found Lynch Model 102 turkey box calls from $20 to $100. Keep in mind the call aspects mentioned if buying or selling a Lynch call. As stated, early Lynch calls, cedar in construction and made in Alabama are much more in demand by serious collectors simply because there are fewer of them. A good Lynch box call depending on condition and made in Mississippi should fetch between $25 and $50. More if it's accompanied by the paper container and instructions, which are very difficult to find.
Be advised, if you are disciplined and prudent with your money, a collectible/functional Lynch box call can be obtained often for less dollars than many contemporary ones. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.