D0815: Hollow Myrl Smith Ontario Black Duck Decoy

Near-mint hollow-bodied black duck decoy attributed to Myrl Smith, Dunnville, Ontario, circa 3rd quarter, 20th century. Measuring 16" in length, 6" in width and standing 6.5" in height, the decoy is expertly carved and detailed with rasping, heavily textured comb painting and intricate bill carving. The decoy is fitted with a pendulum-style stabilizing weight on the bottom and bears the maker's mark on both the base of the decoy and as well as on the lead weight. The base is also marked "B1", perhaps signifying that this was the maker's first black duck decoy. An old tag on this decoy when I purchased it attributed the decoy to a Harry Richardson, circa 1950s to 1960s; however, the maker's marks (DMS?) on both the decoy and the weight make it very improbable that Richardson made this decoy. SOLD

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D0810: Francis Rolph Wood Pigeon Decoy, Early 1900s

Excellent wood pigeon decoy attributed to Francis Rolph of Lakenheath, Suffolk, United Kingdom, circa 1900-1910. The decoy is in original paint with light wear. It is unusual in that the head and body are carved in separate pieces, similar to many North American decoys, but a characteristic I've seen in no other English wood pigeons. It has carved shoulders and wings, the original bill, glass eyes and a pleasing patina. Painted in the specie's fall plumage, the full-bodied bird measures about 14.5" in length, 4" in width and 3.5" in depth at the breast. Francis was the father of James Rolph who continued carving decoys into the 1940s using the same basic pattern but with a one-piece body and head. One of Francis's decoys, unidentified as to maker, can be found in Joel Barber's book written in 1935 (Plate 54). English wood pigeons have garnered the well-deserved attention of American collectors. Similar in time frame to North American waterfowl and shorebird decoys, they have been used in the United Kingdom since the latter part of the 1800s with examples ranging from the deeply carved examples sold by Trulock and Harriss and R. Ward Co. to the more stylized examples of the Rolphs, Jaggard, Boddy and Robert Lange. 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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D0812: Ted Grace Feeding Wood Pigeon Decoy

Feeding wood pigeon decoy by Edward Arthur "Ted" Grace, Walderslade, Kent, United Kingdom, circa 1950s. The bird, painted in fall plumage, is in well-blended and detailed original feather paint with a nice patina. A very well-formed bird, it has screw eyes set in separate shoe eyelets to simulate eye rings, a cast metal bill and relief carved shoulders. The pigeon is hollowed from below with an inset metal plate marked "Pat. 431190" (Issued to Harry Boddy in 1935) to join the included aluminum stake for setting the decoy in the ground. There is a clasp at the back of tail to store the stake. Grace's purchase of Boddy's business in 1952 included the patent rights as well as remaining parts such as the attachment plates and stakes. According to the patent documents, "...under the action of wind, it (the designed means of attachment) simulates the action of a feeding bird". The hollowed portion of the body in these decoys is made from a second piece of wood, nailed to the of the upper body. This second piece is curved on top to fit a corresponding concave curve in the upper piece. Grace continued Boddy's work with relatively minor changes that can make the decoys by the two men difficult to distinguish between. Grace made his decoys with narrower and more tapered heads and necks (See last photo; Grace's decoy is on the left) and painted his decoys with a lighter palette than seen on those by Boddy. This decoy measures 14" in length and 4" in width. In original paint with overall light wear and a rub at the crown of the head, it has been lightly hit with shot. It is important to note that the very rare original stake is included. Stamped with the patent number, it is the only such example I've ever seen. For additional information on the work of Harry Boddy and Ted Grace, please visit my website, www.woodpigeondecoys.com, where you'll find a copy of my article from the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine as well as documentation of a number of other pigeon makers and examples of their decoys. Stand included. SOLD

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D0779: Mint Robert Lange Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1900

Mint example attributed to Robert Lange, 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". A solid-bodied decoy measuring 13.5" in length with applied wings, extended wing tips and a full, protruding breast, one would be hard pressed to find a finer example by this important maker (See www.woodpigeondecoys.com). This glass-eyed example, exhibiting an excellent patina, is in bright breeding plumage with mottled breast, neatly scalloped neck patches and fluid but precisely applied wing markings. Stand included. SOLD

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D0813: Trulock & Harriss Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1880s

Classic wood pigeon decoy from the 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. A large carving measuring almost 17" in length, the decoy exhibits overall feather carving with the breast and throat feathers carved in a fine scallop pattern and deeply carved edging on the wing coverts, primaries and fluted tail. The high head is carved in an alert position. As with many of the decoys by this maker, the lower portion of the breast is laminated to the rest of the body. Other than a small amount of chipping on the underside of the tail, the structural condition of the carving is exceptional. Although who carved these decoys for Trulock and Harriss is not known, a strong arguement 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. Lot 498 in the April 2015 Guyette and Deeter auction pictured a very similar example. 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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D0811: Long-Billed Curlew Decoy

Handsome long-billed curlew decoy by an unknown carver, circa 4th quarter, 20th century. It has glass eyes and a very well-crafted cast iron bill and shows modest wear. A large bird measuring 16.5" from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail, it is in intricately detailed original feather paint except for touch up to the neck where the head was broken off and glued back in place. The head is turned about 20 degrees to the right. Judging from the quality of the paint match, the repair was most likely done by the carver. The decoy is signed on the bottom with stylized initials, perhaps DK or RD. Stand not included. SOLD

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D0809: Unknown Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa Early 3rd Q, 20th C

Unknown balsa-bodied wood pigeon decoy in near-mint condition. It appears to have been influenced by the decoys of Harry Boddy and Ted Grace. It was most likely made in the late 1950s to early 1960s after Ted Grace's retirement from full-time carving in 1957. The eyes are somewhat similar in makeup to the Boddy and Grace decoys with a black-headed tack seated in a white grommet. The shoulder and wing edges are also lightly carved; however, the bill is wooden rather than poured lead and the paint, while similar in overall pattern, lacks the free-flowing brushstrokes of those by the earlier makers. In all likelihood, this was one of the last of the wooden decoys made for resale, soon to be replaced by counterparts made from fiberglass and other man-made materials. The decoy measures 14.5" in length. Stand not included. SOLD

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D0808: Early Judge Malatrop Kovenhoven New Jersey Ruddy Turnstone Decoy

Very early painted-eye ruddy turnstone by Judge Malatrop Kovenhoven, Raritan Bay, New Jersey. A rigmate to this decoy from Summers Headley's collection was pictured on the cover of Decoy Magazine's Summer 1984 issue. Headley identified it as being circa 1870. The decoy is in stylishly- patterned bold original paint with a pleasing cracklature and its original nail bill. There are shot scars on the left side of the decoy. The decoy measures 11" from bill to tail and is 1.75" thick. Turnstones are among the rarest of shorebird decoys, and few as early as this example have been documented. Stand not included. SOLD

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