Trap Collecting



Traps with trappers marks and/or initials usually will cause consern orwill even lessen the value of a good collector trap. When a collector trap was owned by a famous trapper, normally the attached trappers name tag is what gave credit to the trap. Frank Terry of Half Moon Bay, California, a well known and well respected West Coast trapper and lure manufacturer was the exception. Although Frank did not make traps, it was the stamp that he placed on all his traps that drew the attention of many trap collectors. He stamped each trap, usually on the bottom of the base with a T, below that three dots, and below that a number. Inquisitive as to what the three dots stood for, I called one of Frank’s trapping partners, Tim Wion and ask him what these three dots meant, he said they were only used as a line to separate the T from the number. Tim also told me that if he could not use his anvil to position the trap for marking, Frank would place his stamp on the underside of a pan, like he did with the No. 33 and 34 Diamond Spiral Spring traps. The number was used to record what animal was caught in that particular trap. For example, when he bought a dozen No. 1 Newhouse traps he would stamp them 1 to 12 or numbers not previously used and always carried a note book and pencil with him on his trapline and would record each animal caught in that numbered trap.
Frank was good friends with James Mast, the famous lure maker from San Francisco, California and in 1946 he purchased the Mast lure business after Mast became gravely ill. Frank was also friends with many famous trappers of the day, Bill Curtis (Coyote Bill), Willey Carroll, Ivan White, John Ehn and others.

Frank Terry was born in 1905 and passed away at the age of 78 on May 24, 1983. Although these marked traps are not always highly sought after, those of us that followed Frank cherish the traps with these markings and it does add to the value of any collector trap that this is found on.


This article was written and submitted by historian Tom Parr.