Decoy Dux

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Price: $1.00

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D0878: Exceptional Early Wood Pigeon Decoy, Yorkshire, UK

Exceptional and rare wood pigeon decoy by an unknown maker, Yorkshire, UK, circa 1900. Solid-bodied decoy with glass eyes and a cast metal bill. The paint is artfully accomplished and has achieved a superb patina. There are several tight cracks around the neck, but thet are quite stable and do not detract from the overall appearance of the decoy (See 5th and 6th photos below). There is also an excellent professional repair to the left edge of the tail (see 7th photo below). The decoy measures 13" in length. The Yorkshire area produced some of the finest early wood pigeon decoys extant with this being a superb example. Known makers include Robert Lange, Mr. Wilson and Robert Sainz. The works of two unidentified makers can also be recognized, including the maker of this decoy. I’ve seen fewer than a half dozen examples by this maker and believe his work to be among the rarest of the Yorkshire school. Stand not included. SALE PENDING

Price: $1395.00

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D0876: Mechanical English Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1930s

Rare flying mechanical English wood pigeon decoy by an unknown maker, circa 1930s. I am aware of only one other early mechanical decoy, called a Bendecoy, that was somewhat similar but battery-powered. It was patented in 1932, roughly around the same time this one was made. This decoy consists of a wooden frame body (top and bottom plates) with extendable wooden wings and a rather ingenious operating mechanism sandwiched between the body halves. The shaped top plate of the decoy was covered with canvas and painted to reduce the glare sometimes seen with only a painted wood surface. A roughly carved wooden head with painted eyes was attached separately. The decoy was operated in the field by means of a spring-loaded lever extending from then rear of the decoy to which a string would be attached. By pulling on the string, the hunter could make the wings extend and retract, adding a realistic motion to his decoy rig. As the force applied to the string necessary to achieve the flapping action would necessarily be relatively firm, I suspect the rather substantial steel post attached to the bottom of the decoy was meant to be set into a hole drilled into the top of a fence post or other firmly affixed supporting base. The decoy is larger than most, measuring 17” in length and 5 1/2” across the back. It is in original paint with some soiling and wear to the canvas, particularly at the end of the tail and at the lower edges of the top plate.

Price: $745.00

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D0874: Pair of Scottish Wood Pigeon Decoys, Circa 2Q, 20C

Set of two paper mache wood pigeons, circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. By an unknown maker, they are from Scotland and were most likely sold commercially. I’ve seen several examples in the past, but none as nice as these. Rigors of weather and the hunt took there toll on many of these more fragile decoys. In original paint, there is flaking to the primer on the glass-eyed bodies and heads. While the bodies were made entirely of heavy paper, soaked in an adherent and laid over what were probably reusable wooden forms, the heads appear to consist of small doweled wooden forms, left in place and overlaid with paper mache finishes. There is light shot scarring on both birds, attesting to their field use. These are large decoys, measuring 15” in length and 6” in width. Meant to be set directly on the ground, they also measure 6” from the hollow bottoms to the crowns of the heads. As can be seen photos, the heads can be rotated to any position, giving a more realistic appearance to the spread of decoys. Set of two paper mache wood pigeons, circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. They were made in Scotland and were most likely sold commercially. I’ve seen several examples in the past, but none as nice as these. Rigors of weather and the hunt took there toll on many of these more fragile decoys. In original paint, there is flaking to the primer on the glass-eyed bodies and heads. While the bodies were made entirely of heavy paper, soaked in an adherent and laid over what were probably reusable wooden forms, the heads appear to consist of small doweled wooden forms, left in place and overlaid with paper mache finishes. There is light shot scarring on both birds, attesting to their field use. These are large decoys, measuring 15” in length and 6” in width. Meant to be set directly on the ground, they also measure 6” from the hollow bottoms to the crowns of the heads. As can be seen photos, the heads can be rotated to any position, giving a more realistic appearance to the spread of decoys.

Price: $465.00

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D0873: Francis Rolph Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa Early 1Q, 20C

Excellent English wood pigeon decoy attributed to Francis Rolph of Lakenheath, Suffolk, United Kingdom, circa 1900 - 1910. He was the area's largest dealer in all manner of birds and game. After inquiries from customers, he began making decoys as early as 1880, concentrating on pigeon decoys. The body is somewhat rectangular in cross section, reflecting the exclusive use of hand tools in the making of his decoys. Perhaps the nicest example I've seen by this carver, it is lightly used with a pleasing patina. A stylish carving with a separately carved head and glass eyes, it measures 12.75" in length, 3" in width and is almost 4" in depth at the breast. The decoy is somewhat shorter in length than most of Rolph's birds and has a smoothly carved body, lacking the carved wing edges and shoulders normally found on his work, yet it has a noticeably fuller breast. Except for touch-up to and around the bill, which is an excellent and accurate professional replacement, the decoy is in strong original paint depicting the species' fall plumage. Francis was the father of James Rolph, himself a decoy maker, and father-in-law of William Jaggard, another carver, who joined the family business in the early 1930s. James Rolph's decoys are quite similar to those of his father except that the heads are carved as part of the body rather than separately. Stand included. SOLD

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D0871: George Harvey Jersey Coast Scaup Drake Decoy, Circa 1900

Rare early (circa 1900) Jersey Coast hollow-bodied glass-eyed scaup drake in a mixture of original paint, working overpaint and a protective clear coat by George Harvey of Rumson, New Jersey. "Geo. Harvey, Rumson, N.J., 1900" is inscribed on the bottom in black ink along with a museum's inventory number and rubber stamp (a large capital "C", encircling the "M" of "Museum" and an illegible word). The decoy measures 14" in length and 6" in height, There is a 4" x 2" oblong lead pad weight nailed to the bottom. The bill has a tight crack but is stable. SOLD

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D0868: Early Gene Hendrickson Broadbill Drake, Circa 1930

Early-style, circa 1930, hollow-bodied tack-eyed broadbill drake in original paint by Joseph Eugene "Gene" Hendrickson (1896-1971), Northfield, New Jersey. This decoy was Guyette & Schmidt's lot #128 in their July 2000 auction. According to the catalogue it was purchased by D.R. Gascoyne from Smith's Tavern in 1938. Written on bottom: "From Smith's Tavern, Rt. 9, Absecon, N.J., Dec. 7, 1938. Probably Tuckerton group of decoy makers. Barnegat Bay, N. J., hollow cedar hen (sic), greater scaup-broadbill". Measuring 14" in length and 7.5" in height, it is in strong original paint, protected by a thin coat of varnish. The decoy is flat-backed with a deep, smooth dip to a low tail and has carved nostrils and mandible separations. There is poured inletted weight in the bottom.

Price: $925.00

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D0866: Exceptional Hollow Gadwall Drake Decoy Circa 1960s

Outstanding hollow glass-eyed gadwall drake circa early to mid-1960s. Expertly made with carved musculature, primaries, secondaries and a fluted tail, it has incredible feather paint with expert vermiculation and detailed bill carving. The decoy measures 15" in length, just under 7" in width and stands 7" tall at the head which is turned slightly to the left. It is in near-mint original condition with only a tiny paint chip on the right edge of the bill and no repairs. While who made this fine decoy may be open for debate, there is no questioning the either his skills or familiarity with the anatomy of waterfowl. It was most likely made as an entry to one of the major decoy carving contests of its era such as the International Decoy Contest, the U. S. National Decoy Contest or the Canadian National Decoy Makers' Contest. Bob Kerr and John Garton of Smith Falls, Ontario; Al Glassford of Scarboro, Ontario and Ed de Navarre of Detroit, Michigan, have all been suggested by knowledgeable collectors as possible makers of this exceptional decoy. Unfortunately, because of possible bias in judging these decoys, the carvers were not allowed to sign or otherwise mark their works in any manner.

Price: $1395.00

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