Wire & Tool Auction
The Barbed Wire Collector
Page One: Books
Page Two: Books,
Page Three: Wire
Being a Collector
Joseph F. Glidden
One of the earliest patented wires was by W.H. Meriwether of New
Braunfels, Texas, in November 1853. This was not a barbed wire, but it
was used for fencing. Barbed wire had it’s beginning in the
and early 1870s. Since this time, there have been over 500 barbed wire
patents granted with many variations to these patents.
Since the wide spread use of wire fences in the late
types of wire besides barbed wire have been used for fencing. Some of
include barbless ribbon wire, ornamental fence wire, punch strap metal
wire, planter wire, and just about anything else an ingenious farmer or
rancher could come up with.
Starting a Collection
Hunting the Wire
- The hobby of wire collecting can be a very
pastime for the beginner as well as the seasoned collector. Several
things need to be considered when starting a collection.
- One of the necessary items needed when starting
is the currently accepted barbed wire identification handbook and a
value guide price list.
- Membership in the Antique Barbed Wire Society
subscribing to “The Barbed Wire Collector” magazine
will keep you
abreast of the latest happenings in the hobby.
- There are also many state barbed wire
publish newsletters and sponsor yearly barbed wire trade shows.
- Obtaining a mailing list of barbed wire
trading through the mail can provide a good opportunity to build a
- When trading wire through the mail, make
piece of wire is never intentionally misrepresented, always give the
buyer the option of returning a wire within a reasonable length of
time, and always reserve that same right for yourself. Be prompt with
any correspondence and sending any wire that has been ordered.
- Email and ebay are also excellent methods of
- Another method of starting a collection is
of the common wires. Many collectors have these wires in bundles that
can be obtained for a reduced price. This is an excellent way to build
a collection quickly.
An excellent method of finding wire is by traveling into the country
and visiting with some of the local farmers and ranchers. Ask them for
directions to old dumping sites and any downed fences that may hold
that rare wire every new collector dreams of finding. Many farmers and
ranchers will take the time to help a new collector look for wire on
their land. Individuals must respect another person’s
following are suggested courtesies:
Preparing Wire for Trading
- Do not venture onto private land without
permission from the landowner.
- Never cut wire out of an existing fence
permission. Most landowners will let a collector cut out a piece of
wire if it is re-stretched and replaced with new wire.
- Never destroy any property.
This step is very important, as other collectors will be more willing
to trade if they know they are getting good wire in return.
- Always make sure the wire is cut at least 18"
Any wire may be cut ¼” to ½”
longer but cutting a piece
shorter can dramatically decrease the value.
- Cut all wire with the barbs spaced evenly from
small amount of wire will be wasted but the end result will be a much
better wire for trading.
- Always cut out broken or bad barbs and broken
rusted line wires.
- Straighten all wire by hand. This can be
using a pair of gloves and a few minutes of time.
- Be certain of the wire’s
identification. If there is
question as to what a wire actually is, other collectors will gladly
help out with the identification process.
Know the Wires
Studying the wire identification book and learning to
different wires is a benefit to both new and old collectors alike. This
will help when looking at wires that another collector may
inadvertently misrepresent. If a new collector has a concern about a
particular wire, consulting with experienced and reputable collectors
is an excellent method of alleviating any questions.
Deciding What to Collect
Most barbed wire collectors are interested in
wire, moonshine wire, rare wires, ornamental wires, fence stays, fence
tops, staples, movie set wire, variations, splices, and factory
variations. Collecting different types of wires makes a collection more
Another aspect of the wire hobby is the collecting of
tools. These tools include everything from the first crude blacksmith
stretchers to some very compact, innovative, combination fencing tools.
Fence stretchers, pliers, hammers, staple pullers, twisters, splicers,
grippers, cutters, tighteners, and barb applying tools are but a few of
the collectible fencing tools.
As with any other type of collecting, there are several
– “go withs” – that fit in very
well with the barbed wire collecting
hobby: planter wire, railroad date nails, fence posts, postage stamps
depicting barbed wire, barbed wire canes, barbed wire liniment bottles
and tins, salesman samples, paper items, books, and many other items.
The barbed wire collecting hobby offers a wide variety
collectible items that appeal to many individuals. The collecting and
preserving of our nations history can be an educational, enjoyable, and