The Wire and Tool Auction will open in a new window.
ABWS
Main Page
Membership Application
Directors
Relations
Showdates
Appraisal Service
Wire & Tool Auction
The Barbed Wire Collector Magazine

E-Store
Page One:
Books
Page Two: Books, Prints & Value Guides
Page Three: Wire Bundles

Education
Overview
Beginning
Historical
Info Bits
Being a Collector
Fence Cutting

Inventors
Thomas H. Dodge
William Edenborn
Isaac Leonard Ellwood
Joseph F. Glidden
Jacob Haish
Phillip Moen
Ichabod Washburn
Happiness Is Being a Barbed Wire Collector

Barbed Wire
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 late 1860s 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 1800’s, many types of wire besides barbed wire have been used for fencing. Some of these 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
  • The hobby of wire collecting can be a very enjoyable 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 collection is the currently accepted barbed wire identification handbook and a value guide price list.
  • Membership in the Antique Barbed Wire Society and 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 organizations that publish newsletters and sponsor yearly barbed wire trade shows.
  • Obtaining a mailing list of barbed wire collectors and trading through the mail can provide a good opportunity to build a collection.
  • When trading wire through the mail, make certain that a 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 obtaining more wire.
  • Another method of starting a collection is purchasing many 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.
Hunting the Wire
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 property. The following are suggested courtesies:
  • Do not venture onto private land without obtaining permission from the landowner.
  • Never cut wire out of an existing fence without 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.
Preparing Wire for Trading
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" long. Any wire may be cut ” to ” longer but cutting a piece shorter can dramatically decrease the value.
  • Cut all wire with the barbs spaced evenly from each end. A 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 or badly rusted line wires.
  • Straighten all wire by hand. This can be accomplished by using a pair of gloves and a few minutes of time.
  • Be certain of the wire’s identification. If there is a 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 recognize the 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 collecting patented 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 interesting.

Fencing Tools
Another aspect of the wire hobby is the collecting of fencing 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.

Related Collectibles
As with any other type of collecting, there are several other items – “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.

Conclusion
The barbed wire collecting hobby offers a wide variety of collectible items that appeal to many individuals. The collecting and preserving of our nations history can be an educational, enjoyable, and memorable experience.


Devil's Rope Musuem

California Barbed Wire Collectors Association

NM Barb Wire Collectors Association
NM Barb Wire Collectors Assciation

Ellwood House

Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & Society

Kansas Barbed Wire Museum
Jacob Haish Mfg. Co.