M299: Miniature Chief Cuffee Mallard Decoy

Miniature drake mallard duck decoy by Eugene "Chief" Cuffee (1866-1941), Southampton, Long Island, New York. Cuffee was born on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation and lived there his entire life. He was a guide for well-to-do hunters visiting the area, a carver of both working decoys and decoratives and a sought-after trainer of upland bird dogs. During slow times, he augmented his income by painting houses. This carving is circa 1920's and measures approximately 8-1/2" from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail and stand 4-3/4" high. It is solid-bodied and exhibits Cuffee's trademark carved raised wingtips, one of which is missing a small chip at the end. The bird has painted tack eyes, each with a painted white "catch-light" and is in excellent original paint with minor wear except for a small area of touch-up around a professional repair to a tight crack in the neck.

Price: $395.00

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M314: James Ahearn Drumming Ruffed Grouse Lamp

Outstanding drumming ruffed grouse lamp by James Joseph "Joe" Ahearn, Stamford, CT, circa 1950. One of the maker's finer efforts, this roughly two-thirds scale carving is an unusually large example of Ahearn's work. The piece, including the base, measures 14" in width, 11-1/2" in height and 9" in depth. It is signed "J. Ahearn" on the end of the birch log on which the bird is perched. It is in excellent structural condition except for a small crack and exposed nail head at the left shoulder of the carving where the wing was attached to the body as seen in the last photo. The grouse is in excellent original condition with highly detailed feather paint, glass eyes and wire legs and feet and is mounted on a walnut base with birch log. The original lamp hardware and shade are included. Because of the age of the components, it should be rewired before use. Ahearn became well-known in the mid-1940's as a carver of miniatures. It is unclear when he began carving them although it is presumed that he started in the late 1930's, if not sooner. While Joe lived in the New York City area where he was a salesman for the National Cash Register Company he was known to have carved miniatures while on the road. At the onset of World War II, he and his wife moved to Stamford, Connecticut. The first documentation of his carvings being offered for sale is in the 1945-46 catalog of the Sporting Gallery and Bookstore in New York City. This catalog featured a wide selection of Ahearn's "functional hunter" and "sportsman oriented" items such as lamps, wall thermometers, letter openers, coat racks, tie racks, pipe racks, book ends and ashtrays in a variety of configurations. It was around this time that he also began offering his miniature carvings of waterfowl and upland game birds. One of the first and certainly the most important retailer to carry his carvings was the Crossroads of Sport store in New York City. They were enjoying a huge demand for A. J. King's miniatures and were more than eager to complement his products with another carver's work. Ahearn is featured in "Birds in Wood and Paint" by Joe Ellis. In July 2013, Copley Fine Art Auctions sold a flying grouse lamp (Lot 71) with two smaller (6" long) woodcocks for $2530.00.

Price: $995.00

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M313: James Ahearn Miniature Barrow's Goldeneye Drake

Miniature Barrow's goldeneye drake by James Joseph "Joe" Ahearn (1904-1963) of Stamford, CT, circa 1950. The carving is mounted on a wood base and is in excellent original condition with highly detailed feather paint, incised wings and primaries, wire legs and webbed metal feet. The goldeneye is 3" in length from bill to tail and stands 2-5/8" tall, including the base. It is signed "J. Ahearn, Barrow's Goldeneye" on the base. Ahearn became well-known in the mid-1940's as a carver of miniatures. It is unclear when he began carving them although it is presumed that he started in the late 1930's, if not sooner. The first documentation of his carvings being offered for sale is in the 1945-46 catalog of the Sporting Gallery and Bookstore in New York City. This catalog featured a wide selection of Ahearn's "functional hunter" and "sportsman oriented" items such as lamps, wall thermometers, letter openers, coat racks, tie racks, pipe racks, book ends and ashtrays in a variety of configurations. It was around this time that he also began offering his miniature carvings of waterfowl and upland game birds. One of the first and certainly the most important retailer to carry his carvings was the Crossroads of Sport store in New York City. They were enjoying a huge demand for A. J. King's miniatures and were more than eager to complement his products with another carver's work. Ahearn is featured in "Birds in Wood and Paint" by Joe Ellis.

Price: $350.00

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M302: Silas Owen Flying Pheasant Wall Plaques

Pair of miniature pheasant wall plaques (rooster and hen) by Silas E. Owen (1903-1967), Waubay, South Dakota. Silas, who was three-quarters Sioux and one-quarter Scotch-Irish, made a few working duck decoys and miniature standing ducks and geese but mostly wall plaques of flying ducks, geese and pheasants. His carvings were sold in nearby souvenir stores and a local resort bait shop as well as on special order, but he was not against trading his carvings for drinks at the local bar. He carved from the mid-1940s until close to his death in 1967. Many of his carvings are signed or had a paper address label stuck on. Some are just dated with the year they were made. Most of them are carved almost in the round with good detail and boldly realistic paint patterns. These two pheasants are in excellent detailed original paint with carved wing primary feathers and notched tails. The hen has two small chips on the wing tips and the rooster has one. They each measure about 9" to 9 1/2" in length, 6" from wing tip to wing tip and 3/4" in thickness. The hen is signed on the back, "Pheasant hen, Silas Owen, Waubay, S. Dak." The original prices ($5.00 for the rooster and $2.00 for the hen) are written on the backs.

Price: $245.00

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N007: Vintage Bluebill Decoy Patterns, Rochester, New York, Circa 1960s

Group of bluebill decoy patterns, heads and castings consisting of twelve pieces. The cast metal heads are quite detailed, even showing rasping for texture, immediately bringing to mind the work of Ken Anger of Dunnville, Ontario. Included are 5 hardboard body section patterns for a laminated full-sized body, a head pattern for that body, a carved wood head made from that pattern (2 halves glued together), a carved wood half-head from that pattern, two cast metal half-heads (one has a Plaster of Paris bill makeover) and two hardboard routed patterns of the same head. These are part of a larger group by an unknown maker that I purchased a number of years ago from an estate in Rochester. Several of the patterns, not included in this listing, were made from a 1968 calender from Brace-Mueller-Huntley, Inc., of Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, New York. The calendar indicates that the industrial company worked with aluminum, brass and plastic, although in what capacity I have not been able to determine. I surmise that the maker of these patterns very possibly worked for B-M-H in some capacity, perhaps as a pattern-maker. The complete 125-pieces group includes miniature, half-scale and full-scale patterns of over a dozen species of waterfowl and shorebirds as well as a number of both carved and cast (Plaster of Paris and metal) heads. Although the maker is currently unknown, the number and quality of the pieces surely point to a highly skilled craftsman with a relatively high volume of work. He appears to have made both decorative carvings and working decoys and may have made half or full-bodied figures or plaques, cast or molded from plastic or metal. These patterns are a piece of history that deserve preservation and recognition.

Price: $120.00

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M249: Frank Adams Miniature Mallard Drake Decoy Paperweight

Large size mallard drake decoy paperweight by Edward Francis "Frank" Adams (1871 - 1944) of West Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard, MA, circa 1930s. The carving retains Adams' full paper label on the bottom which reads, "E. Frank Adams, Duck Paperweights, Marine Vanes, West Tisbury, Mass". There has been a professional repair to a break in the neck with touch up to that area. Other than a small area of flaking at the tip of the tail, the original paint is in excellent condition with soft feather painting. A favorite with folk art collectors, most of Adams' paperweights were much smaller, measuring 3" to 4" in length. This example is much more rare, measuring 10" in length, 4" in width and standing 3" tall at the crown of the head. His work is chronicled in detail in "Martha's Vineyard Decoys" by Stanley Murphy.

Price: $450.00

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