Karl White looking for a place in history for his $5 million fishing collection

He wants the collection in a museum, but for the last three years it's been stored out of public view
by Ed Godfrey Published: April 27, 2013
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Three years after removing his antique fishing tackle from the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, Karl White of Luther is still searching for a museum to house his collection valued at $5 million.

There are more 50,000 items in White's fishing collection. It includes old lures, plugs, boats, magazines, rods, reels — anything related to fishing.

“I have the first of everything,” White said.

White wants the collection in a museum, but for the last three years all of it has been stored out of public view.

White removed the collection from the Karl and Beverly White Museum, which was part of the Oklahoma Aquarium, because the aquarium would only display one-third of it.

“They couldn't display what I had,” White said. “I didn't like how they presented it.”

With no commitment for additional space for the items, White decided to search for another site for the world's best fishing collection. Three years later, White still hasn't found a suitable home.

“It's been very frustrating,” he said. “I think the (Oklahoma) Wildlife Department has made a great mistake by not grabbing hold of this.”

White said he is willing to give the collection away if it would be displayed in the proper manner.

His dream is for the entire for the entire collection to be displayed in a chronological way to show the history of fishing.

“People could walk through the history,” he said. “That's what I want.”

White doesn't sell pieces of his collection even though many have doubled and tripled in value over the years.

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by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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“The common lures that caught fish are the ones they sold the most of and are not valuable. It's the ones that didn't catch fish that are the ones that are rare and valuable, because they didn't last more than a year.”

Karl White of Luther on collecting antique fishing lures

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