D0755: Massachusetts Greater Yellowlegs or Willet Shorebird Decoy

Very well done greater yellowlegs or willet decoy with excellent form attributed to Henry Oakes (1900-1973), Gloucester, Massachusetts, circa 1st quarter, 20th century. It is in the somewhat extended or standing pose of what were called "grass birds". The full-bodied decoy is carved with a split tail and measures just over 15" in length, measured from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail. It has tack eyes with painted pupils and irises and retains its original bill. The paint is also original but has flaked, particularly on the back and upper sides. SOLD

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M312: James Ahearn Miniature Bufflehead Drake

Miniature bufflehead drake by James Joseph "Joe" Ahearn (1904-1963) of Stamford, CT, circa 1950. The carving, mounted on a driftwood or cedar root base, is in excellent original condition with incised wings, wire legs and webbed metal feet. Ahearn skillfully captured the irridesence of the bird's plumage with his highly detailed feather paint. The bufflehead is 2-7/8" in length from bill to tail and stands 2-1/2" tall, including the base. It is signed "J. J. Ahearn, Bufflehead M(ale)" 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 the 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. SOLD

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M305: Elmer Crowell Miniature Mallard Drake Decoy

Miniature mallard drake in excellent blended original paint by Elmer Crowell, East Harwich, Massachusetts, mounted on a desk box. While the miniature is set in such a manner that the base of the carving cannot be seen, the bifurcated eye style marks this carving as having come from the era in which Crowell's rectangular stamp was used, circa 1930s. The carved duck measures 4-1/2" in length, 1-3/4" in width and stands approximately 1-1/8" high at the head, not including the box. The box itself is made from maple with a lacquered finish and is roughly 7" wide, 5" from front to back and 2-1/2" high. The lid of the box is slightly sprung and has a small crack at one of the the hinges in back. SOLD

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M308: Harry Vreeland Miniature Bobwhite Quail Pair

Outstanding pair of diminutive hand-carved miniature bobwhite quail by Harry and Norma Vreeland of Greenlawn, Long Island, New York, circa 1965. Each quail, mounted on the base with wire legs and feet, measures only 2" in length. Overall, the piece is 6" wide and just over 4" in height. The quail exhibit minutely detailed and exceptional feather paint in mint original condition. The carving is signed "H. VREELAND" on the back of the base. Working as a team, Harry carved and Norma usually painted, although Harry was also a very accomplished painter. His painting is almost indistinguishable from Norma's. Much of their work, which was featured in the Winter 1974 issue of North American Decoys Magazine, was sold through The Crossroads of Sport in New York City. SOLD

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D0696: Paul Lipke Mallard Hen Decoy

Rare hollow mallard hen, circa 1940s, in mint original condition by Paul Lipke of Whiting, Indiana, at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. This decoy, which measures 17" in length, 6" in width and stands 7" high at the head, is pictured on page 181, Great Lakes Decoy Interpretations, Kangas. Who made the decoy is known. What isn’t known is who Paul Lipke was. In April of 1985, depending upon which source you hear it from, a picker showed up at the Midwest Decoy Collectors Association show in St. Charles, Illinois, with between two dozen and four dozen decoys by this maker. All the picker knew was the carver’s name and hometown. The decoys were hollow-carved and flat-bottomed with weights bearing the initials “P.L.”. They had varying head styles with a fat, cheeky appearance and exhibited a strong Mason Factory influence, particularly in the paint patterns. They were estimated to have been made between 1940 and 1950. A buying frenzy ensued and when the dust cleared, the decoys were scattered from Illinois to New England. Little has been learned of Lipke since, and some collectors even question his existence. What is without question, however, is the fine quality of these decoys. This decoy was obviously patterned after the Mason Factory's Premier mallard hens. This is the only mallard I've seen by Lipke who is believed to have made only one rig of decoys, consisting of roughly 50 bluebills, blue-winged teal, redheads, canvasbacks and mallards. Further information on Lipke can be found in Decoy Magazine, Summer 1985, pgs. 32-33 and in The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys, Enger, pgs. 224-227. SOLD

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D0753: Trulock & Harriss TRU-ISS English Wood Pigeon Decoy

Rare hollow English wood pigeon decoy made for the gunsmith firm of H. Trulock & Harriss, London, U.K., circa 1912-1916. Made from a cast and chased aluminum alloy, it was patterned after wooden examples made for the famous gunmaker around the turn of the 20th century. The wooden versions are felt by many collectors to be the best examples of English wood pigeon extant. This decoy retains its original glass eyes and is in very good to excellent original paint, retaining much of the red breast and bill paint, dark gray back and wings, black wingtips and tail bar and typical white markings at the wing edges and neck. The decoy was made in three pieces; an upper body, a lower body and a spring-mounted head. An integral wire stake is attached, designed, along with the"bobble-head", to allow motion to a set of birds. Cast true to the form of the wooden examples, these decoys have strongly emphasized shoulders and detailed primary and tail feathers. This decoy has four impressed notations on its lower half: "THE TRU-ISS DECOY", "HARRISS'S PATENT No. 21550", "H. TRULOCK HARRISS GUNMAKER" AND "PICKERING PLACE, ST. JAMES STREET, LONDON". The pigeon measures 13 1/2" in length and 5" across at the shoulders. SOLD

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M303: Frank Townsend Flying Pheasant Wall Plaques

Pair of miniature pheasant wall plaques (rooster and hen) made by Frank E. Townsend, Bloomfield, New Jersey, circa early 3rd quarter of the 20th century. The cock is almost 14" long with a 9 1/2" wing span while the hen is 12 1/2" long with a 10" wing span. Structurally, this pair is three-dimensional. They are carved roughly two-thirds in-the-round with the upper wings and bodies resting flat against the mounting surface while the lower wings and tails are angled out and away. The excellent original detailed feather paint is strong and bold on each. The wings are carved separately from the bodies. There are several tight cracks where the lower wing of the hen joins the body. SOLD

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M305: Northern Bobwhite Quail Carving

Excellent male northern bobwhite quail, circa 3rd quarter, 20th century. It was found in Connecticut but the carver is unknown. The highly detailed and well blended original paint is in near-mint condition with only minor wear at the tip of the tail. The carving has incised wings, a fluted tail, glass eyes and real taxidermy feet. Measuring 7 1/2" from the tip of the tail to the tip of the bill, it's on the small side of life-sized. It stands about 8 1/2" high including the base. SOLD

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