D0790: Frank Buchner Redhead Drake Decoy, Circa 1890s

Rare solid-bodied decoy with marble eyes by Frank Buchner (1871 - 1947), Erie, Pennsylvania, circa 1890s. Buchner is the "father" of the Erie school and is recognized as the most prolific and talented carver from the area. It is estimated that he carved between 300 and 500 decoys in a career that spanned nearly 50 years from the 1890s to 1940. Buchner was Chief Engineer of the Erie Sand and Gravel Sand Sucker, a barge-mounted dredging machine that cleared channels for navigation into the bay. His use of artistically inscribed patterns to delineate anatomical areas such as wings, speculums and tails attests to his German-American heritage. One such pattern identifies this decoy as being one of Buchner's oldest carvings from what was called his "heart rig". Jon Deeter and Gene Kangas wrote in Decoy Magazine in Nov/Dec 2008, pages 24 - 29, "It seems logical that the dynamic simplicity of this heart design originated close to the beginning of his carving career, and it's assumed they were made in the 1890s". As that rig was reportedly made up only of bluebills, this decoy in old working paint was repainted by the hunter as a redhead drake. Remnants of the original paint, probably that of a bluebill drake, can be seen where the ballast weight was removed. While the body is sound structurally, there is a crack through the neck. Buchner's decoys earned their reputation among hunters because they worked. Their strong folk art appeal assures their standing among collectors. SOLD

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D0788: Rick Brown Swimming Mallard Drake Decoy, Circa Late 1980s

Life-size hollow swimming mallard drake decoy by Rick Brown, Brick Township, New Jersey, circa late 1980s. Rick was the founder and owner of Barnegat Bay Decoys which he started on the old Wildfowler Decoy Company site in the 1970s. Though the company closed its doors more than two decades ago, Rick continues to hand carve the competition quality decoys that have earned him hundreds of ribbons for more than a quarter of a century. His decoys are highly collectible and very much sought after. This decoy, done in the "Head of the Bay" style of Taylor Johnson and John Dorsett, is hand carved from air-dried Jersey white cedar with an outstretched head and neck, hollow body, high quality glass eyes and lead pad weight with leather line tie. In mint original condition, the detailed feather paint is in a word, "superb". The decoy is signed "Frederick C. Brown, Jr." on the bottom. It measures approximately 17.25" in length, 5" in width and 6.25" in height. SOLD

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D0780: Rare Robert Lange Feeding Wood Pigeon Decoy

Excellent feeding wood pigeon decoy attributed to Robert Lange of Yorkshire, UK, circa 1900. There is a possibility, however, that the decoys attributed to Lange were actually made by an unnamed Scottish carver. Regardless, they were limited in production and are some of the finest early decoys the UK has to offer, perhaps second only to those of Trulock & Harriss. Stylistically, they are similar to some of the better North American shorebird decoys of the same period, with smoothly carved bodies and a deft brushstroke applied in what has been called a "Spenserian style". Please see my other website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, dedicated to the identification and documentation of these decoys and their carvers for additional information. The decoy is in mint original paint other than touch up to the bill where approximately one-half of it was professionally restored. Measuring 13.5" in length, this decoy is hollowed out from below to both allow for storage of the mounting stake and to make it lighter and hence more mobile. It has early white glass eyes, and applied wings with extended tips. The sensitive spring steel blade at the top of the stake allowed motion of the decoy simulating a feeding pigeon in even the gentlest breeze. A rare example, this is the only Lange feeder I've encountered. Stand included. SOLD

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D0784: Outstanding Trulock & Harriss Wood Pigeon Decoy

Classic wood pigeon decoy from the famous gunsmith firm of Trulock & Harriss, Suffolk, England, circa 1880s. Their decoys are considered to be the premier examples of English wood pigeons known. This example is finely crafted with detailed shoulder, wing and tail carving, glass eyes and its original molded lead bill. The softly-blended paint is strong and original with an excellent patina. The decoy exhibits overall feather carving with the breast and throat feathers carved in a fine scallop pattern, deeply carved edging on the wing coverts and a rasped or linearly carved texture to the primaries and fluted tail. The head is carved in an unusually animated and down-peering position as if the bird were examining something on the ground below. Even the eyes of the decoy are set in appropriate positions for this posture. The underside of the tail retains a portion of an original woven textile covering that is seen on a number of, but not all of, the Trulock and Harriss decoys. It is believed that this covering was meant to add strength to the rather fragile tail. There are small slivers missing from the outer edges of the tail feathers on both side and a chip missing from the body of the bird around one of the stick holes. Otherwise the structural condition of the carving is exceptional. Although who carved these decoys for Trulock and Harriss is not known, a strong argument can be made that the birds were made by the same craftsmen tasked with making the gunstocks for the gunsmith's primary product, perhaps on a seasonal basis or as a filler during slack periods. See my other website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, dedicated to the identification and documentation of these decoys and their carvers for additional information. SOLD

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D0761: Swimming Louisiana Pintail Drake Decoy

A very animated carving of a swimming pintail drake by Jerome "Jerry" Dupre of New Orleans, Louisiana. This is one of Jerry's earlier working decoys, circa the late 1960s, carved while he was working in the Thibodaux's oil fields. The decoy's outstretced head with glass eyes is turned roughly 15 degrees to the left and canted slightly to the right. The expertly carved bird exhibits raised and crossed primaries, incised feather carving on the upper sides and a lightly fluted tail. There is a small amount of old touchup at the tip of the tail where it appears a small sliver was glued back in place; otherwise the decoy is in excellent detailed original paint. Measuring almost 22" in length and 6" in width across the shoulders, the feather-light decoy was carved from cypress root. SOLD

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M337: Nesting Woodcock With Clutch Of Eggs

Excellent full-sized nesting woodcock with clutch of five carved eggs by an unidentified maker. The carving is in finely detailed original paint with no repairs or touch up. It was collected in Ithaca, New York, and is quite possibly from that area. There is what appears to be a signature on the base, but it is completely illegible. The numbers "19" and "83" precede and follow, respectively, the signature and are presumed to be the year the carving was made. However, on the underside of the bird itself, there are initials that are more legible, including "RW" and either a "G" or "C". Immediately following this last letter are what could be the rest of a last name. Ingeniously, there are two tubes set into the body as thighs that allow the woodcock to be set on or removed from the wire legs. The woodcock measures about 9" in length and stands 8" high, including the base. SOLD

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D0781: Harry Boddy Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1930s

Very nice wood pigeon decoy by Harry Earnest Boddy, Chatham, Kent, United Kingdom, circa 1930s. The bird, painted in fall plumage, is in lightly worn original paint with a very nice patina and one shot scar. As with all of Boddy's birds, it has screw eyes set in separate shoe eyelets to simulate eye rings and relief carved shoulders. The bill appears to be an early replacement. The decoy measures 13-1/2" in length and 4" in width. Boddy was one of the most prolific of the English carvers, enjoying a career that began in the 1920s and ran until 1951 when he sold his decoy business to Edward Grace. Overall, the paint on Boddy's decoys was the most artfully accomplished of the commercially produced wood pigeon decoys, with flowing brush strokes, subtle shading and elaborate wet-on-wet blending. Stand not included. See my other website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, dedicated to the identification and documentation of these decoys and their carvers for additional information. SOLD

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D0600: James Rolph Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1925 - 1935

Excellent early English wood pigeon decoy, circa 1920s - 1930s, attributed to James Rolph of Elveden, Suffolk, United Kingdom. A fat-bodied bird measuring 14.5-inches in length, it has glass eyes, its original bill, deeply incised shoulder and wing outlines, raised wingtips and some feather carving. The original paint has a nice patina and is in near-mint condition with very minor wear other than a rub on one edge of the tail. Rolph carved from roughly 1910 until the 1930s. Made after the end of WWI when Rolph acquired a bandsaw for cutting out the rough decoy, this decoy has a more rounded body and raised wingtips, features his earlier decoys lacked. His earlier birds were somewhat rectangular and blocky in cross section, reflecting the exclusive use of hand tools in the making of his decoys. Rolph was the son of Francis Rolph, himself a decoy maker, and the father-in-law of William Jaggard who joined the family business in the early 1930s. One of James's decoys, unidentified as to maker, can be found in the Guyette/Sotheby catalog of Dr. Jim McCleery's collection (Lot 559, Jan 2000). See my other website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, dedicated to the identification and documentation of these decoys and their carvers for additional information. SOLD

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