D0843: Leo McIntoshWidgeon Drake Dated 1987

Fine carving of a widgeon drake by Leo H. McIntosh, Jr. (1953 - 2007), Stony Creek Decoys, Woodville, New York. Recognized as one of the best contemporary carvers before his untimely death, Leo apprenticed with Ken Harris for five years before founding Stony Creek Decoys. This widgeon is in near-mint vermiculated feather paint with only a small paint fleck off an underedge of the bill and a slight rub to the tip of the tail. Its head, with high quality glass eyes, is turned about 15 degrees to the left. The bird exhibits relief wing and shoulder carving with carved primaries, raised wing tips, a fluted tail, well-developed body musculature and a nicely detailed bill. The carving measures 14" in length and is 5" high at the head. The bottom of the decoy is signed and dated "Stony Creek Decoys by Leo H. McIntosh, Jr. '87". SOLD

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M200: Ernie Meuhlmatt White-Breasted Nuthatch, Dated 1973

Original carving of a 4-1/2" long white-breasted nuthatch by Ernie Muehlmatt of Salisbury, Maryland, dated 1973. Exceptionally fine original paint with great musculature, wing and feather carving and ultra-realistic painted eyes with catch-light. The carving is in mint condition. There is a small hole drilled in the bottom of the bird, presumably to mount the carving in a stationary position during detailed carving and painting. It can only be seen from behind the assemblage. Designed to hang on a wall, the carving is inscribed in ink on the back, "Carved by E.F. Muehlmatt, nuthatch, 4/73". Muehlmatt (1927-2016), three-time Ward World Champion (1979, 1981, 1984), began carving in 1967 and was a master of life-size and miniature decorative wood sculpture, becoming one of the most talented, sought-after and popular carvers in wildfowl art. His work can be found in the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury, Maryland, and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin. He is a Member of the Carvers' Hall of Fame and owned and operated Muehlmatt Studios in Salisbury. SOLD

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D0837: John Barnhart Ringneck Drake Decoy, Circa 1900

Rare ringneck drake by John Barnhart (1849-1924), Canton, Illinois, circa late 1800s to early 1900s. Little is known about Barnhart other than that he was affiliated with Barnhart Greenhouse in Canton, and that he was a skilled decoy carver, many of which were made prior to 1900. The bill is carved in Barnhart's easily recognized style. The bottom half of the body is carved with a "V" taper and a flat plane for the weight. This hollow-bodied decoy is in excellent structural condition with a tight body seam. As was characteristic of Barnhart's decoys, the head is made of two pieces of wood laminated together vertically and is likewise tight. This seam can be seen on the crown of the head and on the underside of the bill. The decoy appears to be in original paint with the exception of the black areas which may be in old working overpaint although a black light shows no anomalies in the paint. SOLD

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D0833: South Jersey Ruddy Turnstone, Circa Late 1800s

Early and rare full-bodied ruddy turnstone decoy in summer plumage, circa late 1800s, from a small hunting rig used in Absecon, New Jersey. The decoy is in original paint protected with remnants of a thin coat of shellac. It retains its original bill which is set in an unusual manner. The bill, which is flattened on the root end like the tip of a flat-head screwdriver, is inserted knife-like into an incision in the face of the decoy. It does extend completely through the head, however. The decoy measures 9.5" from tip of bill to end of tail with a body approximately 3" in diameter. Ruddy turnstones are among the rarest of shorebird decoys. Stand included. SOLD

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D0835: Geo. G. Bussey Co. Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 2Q, 20C.

Very nice fat-bodied English wood pigeon decoy with glass eyes and its original inset bill from the Geo. G. Bussey Co., one of London’s premier sporting goods dealers, circa 2nd quarter of the 20th century. Made in two pieces, the lower portion of the breast is laminated to the upper body. Reminiscent in form of the earlier decoys by Trulock and Harris, the Bussey decoys had detailed wing and shoulder carving with raised wing tips and high quality paint in the breeding plumage. The company was founded by George Gibson Bussey (1829 - 1889) around 1860 and remained in business until the late 1940s. They had a large manufacturing facility in Peckham, a district of London, where they made many of the products carried in their stores. It is quite conceivable that these decoys were made by the company at that facility, although the possibility exists that the decoys were made offsite by local craftsmen on a contract basis. The decoy measures just over 14" in length and is approximately 5" wide across the shoulders. It is original condition except for a professional tail repair with touch-up in that area. Stand included. SALE PENDING

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D0838: Unknown English Wood Pigeon Decoy Circa 2Q, 20C

Sleek wood pigeon decoy made of cast and embossed aluminum alloy by an unknown maker from the United Kingdom, circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. The half-bodied shell, open from below, measures 14-3/8" in length and 4" in width. Although the shell measures less than 1/8" in thickness and weighs less than one pound, it is nonetheless rigid and very durable. The decoy is heavily embossed, including raised primaries, a fluted tail and back, scapular and rump feathers. It is in original paint, including painted eyes, showing moderate wear. A flange with threaded receptacle is riveted to the body from below to accept a similarly threaded post for mounting. Although not as elaborate as the aluminum "TRU-ISS" decoys of Trulock and Harriss, the light weight, durability and life-like silhouette of these decoys would have made them popular with gunners. I have seen a modest number of these decoys which influenced the development of the fiber and synthetic shell decoys by Max Baker and others that would eventually be the demise of these decoys and their wooden predecessors. Most likely made in an industrial area such as London or Suffolk by an established metalworking enterprise, these decoys form an important link in the developmental progression of the wood pigeon decoy. Please ee my other website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, dedicated to the identification and documentation of these decoys and their makers for additional information. Stand included. SOLD

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D0830: Scarce Early Flying Wood Pigeon Decoy

Scarce flying English wood pigeon decoy by an unknown English carver, circa 1920s - 1930s. Found in Carmarthen, Wales, UK, it is possibly from that area. The decoy is in very good and well-patinated original polychrome paint with painted eyes. The head, with original bill, is mortised into the body as is the well-thought-out separate wing assembly which can be removed to allow safe transit and storage and to facilitate any necessary repairs or replacements. The decoy measures 15.5" in length and has a wingspan of 24". Known as "wing-flappers", these decoys were typically mounted on what was called a "bouncer" or "floater" pole. Relatively rare, they decoys were used to introduce an element of movement to an otherwise static decoy spread. In the case of this decoy, the wings are spring-loaded to move up and down in a breeze. Others in this style were rigged with a long cord to the hide (blind) to operate strings attached to the wings which flapped them up and down. One of a group of three by the same carver, this is the only flapper. Variations in size, paint, structure and finesse lead me to believe that this rig of decoys was carved by a hunter for his personal use rather than by a commercial maker. The last photo shows this decoy along with the other two from the same rig, available separately. Stand not included. SOLD

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D0827: Trio of Unknown Wood Pigeon Decoys, Circa Late 2nd Q - Early 3rd Q, 20th C.

A striking rig of decoys by an unknown carver, circa late 2nd to early 3rd quarter of the 20th century. They were found in and are possibly from Suffolk, UK. Each is carved in a different pose, from the rather quizzical decoy on the left to the standard ground decoy in the center to the running decoy on the right. Not only are the poses different, the sizes vary as well, making it most likely that each was made without a master pattern. These differences lead me to the conclusion that the rig was made by a hunter for his own use rather than by a commercial maker that repeatedly carved and painted an inventory for sale. As such, they are folk art at its finest, a synergistic effort of great appeal. The bills were crafted from nylon rather than wood or cast metal. The original paint patterns, while not as practiced as you might find on a commercial product, are nonetheless effective and display a most pleasing patina. The placement of the glass eyes, somewhat out of kilter, only adds to the charm of this group. In the first photo, from left to right, the quizzical decoy (photos 3-7) decoy measures 14" in length and has a replaced nylon bill but is otherwise in original condition. The standard pose ground decoy (photos 8-11) is in completely original condition with paint worn off most of the bill. The final decoy, the runner (photos 12-15), has a replaced nylon bill but is otherwise in original condition. These decoys are not available separately. The stand is included. SOLD

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