At one time the mail-order catalog was the country's link with the stores in the city. But if the catalog came in with the horse and buggy, it did not go out with the jet: $2.2 billion worth of business was done in 1963 through 3,000 catalogs. The difference now is that people in the city this Christmas as well as people in the country are poring over and ordering from an amazing diversity of catalogs. This new specialization is a boon to no one more than to the sports-minded. Craftsmen living and working in precisely the parts of the country for which the sportsman wants to outfit himself are offering sporting goods of a quality, suitability and individuality that make Christmas shopping by mail a pleasure as well as a convenience. The 80 items shown on the following pages, from do-it-yourself scrimshaw kits to collapsible home gyms, are only an indication of the variety. The best of the catalogs specializing in sport gifts, with complete names and addresses, are listed on page 60.
Start with the post-office boxes at the top (left to right): Russell belt knife and sheath, $10, Alaska, and initial branding iron, $4, Miller's; Italian hiking boot, $20, Spiegel; set of casting lures, $2.40, Herter's, and sailcloth ditty bag, $1.50, Ratsey & Lapthorn; deerskin moccasins, $11, Norm Thompson; flag bag, with yachting flags A-Z, numeral pennants, $83.50, Crow's-nest. Horse-and-jockey radiator ornament, $68, Abercrombie & Fitch; hand-carved walrus-bone cribbage board, $37.50, and whale tooth with kit for do-it-yourself scrimshaw, $7.40, Mystic; grosgrain ribbon belts for men and women, $4, Tennis Set; divers' gauges, $30, $10, $20, New England Divers; Sierra Club stainless-steel cup, $1, Ski Hut. Floating distress light, $20, Crow's-nest; thorny oyster shell, $25, Seashells Unlimited; hairseal mittens, $17, Jonas; kid's shoe roller skates, $7, Aldens; hunter's field leash, $4.25, Gokey. Spinning reel, $31.50, Orvis; bocce balls, $10 the set, Sears; magnetic fly box with 49 wet and dry flies, $28.33, Orvis; crash helmet for cyclists, $4, and fingerless cycling gloves, $5, Wheel Goods. Portable 18-ounce stove, $8.50, Camp and Trail; handmade silver buckle, $27.50, Western Ranchman; dashboard chronograph, $85.50, stopwatch, $81, eight-day clock, $62.50, Heuer; down-filled sleeping bootees for climbers, $11, Bauer; game-bird tile, $2.05, Gokey. Hanging: 80 x 30 Japanese binoculars, $55, Abercrombie. Shelf (left to right): plastic boat ventilator, $23, Crow's-nest; Aschenbrenner ice axe, $15, Ski Hut; mounted hartebeest horns, $50, Abercrombie. Little Bear bow for kids, 10-to-20-pound pull, $18, Bourquin Archery; catch bag, open-weave nylon, $6, New England Divers. On floor (left to right): 9½-foot salmon rod, $142.50, Orvis; hand-molded rifle scabbard, $60.70, Lawrence; haversack, $10.65, Bean; Newmarket boots, $20, Miller's; willow creel, $17, Abercrombie; oversize mallard decoy, $11.65, Bean; beaver Stetson, $20, with pheasant hat band, $20, Bauer; western saddle for children, $57, Spiegel; cross-country snowshoes with leather bindings, $25, Vermont Tubbs.
Begin clockwise with the pheasants: the brace is $12, Maryland Gourmet Mart; antique .45-caliber Kentucky flintlock rifle, $375, Abels; quilted-down hunting vest, $21.50, Alaska; Little League bat, $3.70, Sutcliffe; spinning rod in case, $68.50, Orvis; kid's penny-farthing bike, $50, Schwarz; Botte Sauvage hunting boots, $62.50, Gokey; sail repair kit, $16.65, Ratsey; skateboard surfer, $6, Spiegel; collapsible lantern, $3, Camp and Trail; bike bag, 13 by 8 by 9½ inches, $11, Wheel Goods; Indian trapper blanket, 72 by 90, $27, Bauer; 60-mm. spotting scope, $79.50, Ward; fiber-glass racing helmet, $39, Ward; toboggan sled, 30 by 12½ inches, with hardwood runners, $12, Creative Playthings; saddle-leather field bag, $15.75, Lawrence; chaps of waterproof elk, $42.50, Western Ranchman. Prices vary with mailing distances, and there are postage and sales taxes to consider as well. The catalogs give these specifics.
The double-vamp Bird Shooter is an extra-warm all-weather boot with sealed needle holes, ideal for very wet hunting conditions. $32, Russell.
The Fore 'n Aft fishing cap of water-repellent tan poplin protects noses and necks with a visor extending halfway around the crown and a backdrop that goes up or down. $1.85, Gokey.
This thick gray wool sweat shirt is trimmed in brown suede, comes in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes. There is double webbing at the throat and cuffs. $16, Gokey.
These heavy mackinaw trousers of double-seamed 32-ounce virgin wool in Oxford gray with a red-and-green overplaid are for freezing temperatures. $17.50, Alaska.
This well-made duffel bag, 30 by 15 by 12 inches, in olive, is made of waterproof duck, bound and bottomed in leather. The bottom compartment unzips separately. $43, Gokey.
This traditional Chinese butterfly kite of orange and yellow rice paper and bamboo comes in five easily assembled pieces. In flight its metallic eyes spin and reflect the sun. $4, Takusan Imports.
The Spyder Mark IV Sportster has three speeds at a twist of the handgrip and reinforced rear rim and tire, banana seat, ape-hanger handlebars. $49, Sears.
A sky diver's jump suit comes in red, black, white, blue or gold tough cotton twill in four sizes. $23.50, Parachutes Inc.
Members of the U.S. team used this Para-Commander Mark I canopy at championships in Germany. Chute with canopy of nylon, risers, sleeve, pilot chute is $262 at Parachutes Inc.
A sueded deerskin slipover shirt can be worn inside or outside pants, zips to armpit on left side, has laced, flapped neck opening to foil cold winds and snaps at cuffs. $32.50, Cottage Crafts.
Water-repellent-wool timber-cruiser shirt has four pockets in front, a large game pocket with a concealed zipper. It comes in navy, green or bright red. $19.50, Alaska.
Featherweight all-nylon day-trip pack has wide-web shoulder straps, a double bottom, rustproof hardware. $11, Gerry.
An adjustable steel gym for home exercising folds up for easy storage, lends itself to the wide variety of exercises illustrated in manual. $52, Sears.
These made-to-order climbing boots are leather-lined, foam-padded around ankles, with double-stitched boot soles cemented and screwed on. Waterproof, insulated, weight about four pounds. $38.50, Limmer.
Flexible steel creepers have 26 steel calks riveted to steel sole, held to climbing or hiking boots by metal-edged web straps. Calks will take a firm bite in wood, stone or ice. Two sizes: small and large. $6.60, Camp and Trail.
THE MAIL-ORDER SPECIALISTS
The Christmas gifts on the preceding pages are found in the catalogs of these 39 firms
Robert Abels, 860 Lexington Ave., New York City. Antique firearms, armor and edged weapons.
Abercrombie & Fitch, Madison Ave. at 45th, New York City; 9 N. Wabash, Chicago; 220 Post St., San Francisco. Sporting goods.
Alaska Sleeping Bag Co., 334 N.W. 11th Ave., Portland, Ore. Outdoor outfitters.
Aldens, 5000 Roosevelt Rd., Chicago. Large selection of sportswear and sporting goods, in addition to you-name-it.
Eddie Bauer, 417 E. Pine at Summit, Seattle. Down-filled clothes, outdoor gear.
L.L. Bean, Freeport, Me. Own-make eastern outdoor specialists.
Bourquin Archery, 170 N. Blackhorse Pike, Mt. Ephraim, N.J. Archery equipment.
Camp and Trail, 112 Chambers St., New York City. Camping equipment.
Cottage Crafts Shop, 116 N. Main, Rutland, Vt. Deerskin moccasins and clothes.
Creative Playthings, Dept. A, Princeton, N.J. Physical activity toys.
Crow's-Nest, 16 E. 40th St., New York City. Accessories for boats and boatmen.
Gerry, Box 910, Boulder, Colo.; 315 Sutter St., San Francisco. Mountain climbing and camping equipment.
Gokey, St. Paul. Outdoor equipment, famous for boots.
Herter's, Waseca, Minn. 492 pages of inexpensive hunting and fishing equipment.
Heuer, 441 Lexington Ave., New York City. Sports timers and chronographs.
Jonas Bros., 1507 12th Ave., Seattle. Furs and taxidermy.
George Lawrence, 306 S.W. First Ave., Portland, Ore. Leather gun cases, shell carriers.
Peter Limmer, Intervale, N.H. Custom sport shoes and mountain-climbing equipment.
Maryland Gourmet Mart, 414 Amsterdam Ave., New York City. Wild game and delicacies from the world over.
Miller's, 123 E. 24th St., New York City. Everything for the horseman.
Mystic Seaport Stores, Mystic, Conn. Nautical novelties.
New England Divers, 42 Water St., Beverly, Mass. Diving equipment.
Charles F. Orvis, Manchester, Vt. Fine hand-crafted rods, reels and flies.
Parachutes Incorporated, Orange, Mass. Sky-diving equipment.
Ratsey & Lapthorn, City Island, N.Y. Sail-makers and marine suppliers.
W.C. Russell Moccasin CO., Berlin, Wis. Custom-made boots and moccasins.
F.A.O. Schwarz, Fifth Ave. and 58th St., New York City. Children's games and toys.
Sears, Roebuck, Chicago. Everything, including a large selection of sporting goods.
Sea Shells Unlimited, 590 Third Ave., New York City. Shells from the seven seas.
Ski Hut, 1615 University Ave., Berkeley, Calif. Trail and climbing gear.
Spiegel, 2511 W. 23rd St., Chicago. Everything for the home, but also sporting goods and AKC-registered dogs.
Sutcliffe CO., 225 S. Fourth St., Louisville. Sporting goods.
Takusan Imports, 21-b Mott St., New York City. Oriental kites.
Tennis Set, 8600 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Everything for the game and for the player.
Norm Thompson, 1805 N.W. Thurman, Portland, Ore. Rugged sportswear.
Vermont Tubbs Products, Wallingford, Vt. Snowshoes and bindings.
Montgomery Ward, Chicago. Everything for the family, including sporting goods.
Western Ranchman Outfitters, 210W. 16th St., Cheyenne, Wyo. Authentic western wear.
Wheel Goods Corp., 2737 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Everything for the cyclist. Catalog costs $1.