The Michigan Hunting & Fishing Collectors Club (MHFCC) puts on an annual Sporting Collectibles show in Jackson, Michigan full of vintage items that interest both collectors and others who appreciate Michigan’s hunting and fishing heritage. At last year’s show a unique thing happened, a local man was reunited with a family treasure that had been lost for more than forty years!
A long time MHFCC club member and serious hunting license collector named Don brought a very rare 1896 Michigan deer hunting license to the show. Michigan first issued deer hunting licenses in 1895, and these early licenses are very scarce in any condition and treasured by collectors. Don purchased the license (in a frame with all of the original coupon tags still attached) approximately 30 years prior at the Barry County Fairgrounds Expo. He kept the license as purchased and in its original frame for all of these years. At some point he was able to obtain a second 1896 license for his collection and decided to bring the framed license to the club show to possibly offer for sale.
On that day a local gentleman decided to come and check out our event with a friend for something fun to do, neither guest was a collector; they just enjoyed hunting and fishing and wanted to check out the show. The local man happened upon Don’s table, which was full of vintage licenses. As he looked around he asked Don if he might have an 1896 Deer License. Don reached under the table and pulled out the framed license and the man’s jaw dropped. There before him was his Grandfathers 1896 deer hunting license still in the frame the family had put it in many years ago. Turns out the gentleman had inherited the item and eventually sold it approximately 40 years ago to a collector who offered him more money than he could pass up at the time. He regretted selling it almost immediately and tried getting it back but the license quickly passed between several collectors and was lost to time. Or so he thought. He and Don agreed on a price and the family treasure found its way back home!
This year the Michigan Hunting & Fishing Collectors Club is celebrating our 25th Anniversary and we are looking forward to another great event. The show will be held on Saturday April 7, 2018 at the Eagles Hall in Jackson, MI – which is located at 301 Detroit Street, Jackson, MI, 49201. The show hours are 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Admission is only $5 (under 16 admitted free) and parking is free.
There will be approximately 100 tables of Michigan sporting collectibles including: old hunting and fishing licenses, successful hunter patches, vintage decoys, vintage game calls, old fishing lures and tackle, traps, shell boxes and ammo crates, DNR items, advertising items, tip-up town items, Bear Archery items, hunting & fishing stamps, and much more. The general public is welcome to browse, shop, and bring any items you may want to sell or trade, but no guns please. For more information and to see photos from previous shows please visit www.mhfcc.net.
--By Jake Merillat
Michigan Hunting & Fishing Collectors Club President