D0840: Early Maine Red-Breasted Merganser Decoy

Superb red-breasted merganser decoy by an unknown Maine carver, circa 1st quarter, 20th century. A very folky long-necked carving with original steel bill and three-piece laminated body. The stylized original polychrome paint remains bold with light to moderate wear. It measures 19" in length from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail but only 3 1/2" in width. It stands 9" high at the crest, but the body is only 2 1/2" deep. The neck and head are 3/4" thick with the base of the neck mortised into the first layer of the body. The decoy s "blind", without glass, paint or tack eyes.

Price: $2850.00

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D0836: Thousand Islands Black Duck Decoy, Circa 1960s

Very fine magnum solid-bodied black duck from New York's Thousand Islands region. In near-mint condition with intricately detailed feather paint, this monster measures 20" in length, 8" in width and stands 7.5" tall at the head, not including the keel. There is a tight crack in the neck, held securely in place by the dowel used to secure the head to the body. Although the maker of this decoy is presently unknown, it shares some characteristics with those of Woodville's Ken Harris. The initials "MR", which were marked into the bottom before the decoy was painted using the threaded post of a screw to impress the letters into the wood, could offer a clue as to the maker. Don E. Wolfe (1912-1990), Cape Vincent, NY, has also been suggested as a possible maker. Born in Rochester, NY, his carving career began in 1947 when he moved to Cedar Point State Park outside Cape Vincent where he worked with the park commission in maintenance and construction. Working during the slow winter periods, Wolfe carved about two dozen decoys each year through the 1960s.

Price: $295.00

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D0826: Capt. James Stanley Green-Winged Teal Decoy, Circa 1900

Very rare hollow-carved green-winged teal by Capt. James Stanley (1855-1927), Cape Vincent, NY, circa 1910. The decoy is in original paint with an excellent and accurate professional bill repair . There is a slight separation at the body seam. Stanley was a well known artist, photographer and taxidermist and worked as a guide on the St. Lawrence River where he used his limited production of decoys. This diminutive decoy is 12" long, 5" wide and stands 4-1/2" high at the head.

Price: $1950.00

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D0822: Wildfowler Green-Winged Teal Drake Decoy, Circa 1950

Handsome decorative solid-bodied green-winged teal drake by Old Saybrook Wildfowler. As detailed in Wildfowler Decoys by Richard Cowan and Dick LaFountain, the machine-carved face/bill separation indicates this decoy was made somewhere between 1942 and 1957. After studying photos of this decoy, LaFountain and Tim Sieger ascertained that the decoy was possibly painted by Harry Ross, circa 1950-1955, as either a production model or for an order for Abercrombie and Fitch in 1955. Measuring only 11 1/2" in length and 4 1/2" in both width and height, the decoy is in expertly-applied thick original oil paint displaying a very pleasing patina. The back of the decoy is machine-carved with raised wingtips. There is a tight, thin crack at the neck seat, a paint chip at the tip of the bill and an extremely fine and nearly imperceptible hair-line crack in the bill. The felt on the bottom conceals any possible stamps or signatures.

Price: $375.00

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D0820: Wildfowler Mallard Hen Decoy, Point Pleasant, NJ, Dated 1973

Near-mint mallard hen by Wildfowler Decoys, Point Pleasant, New Jersey (1961-1977), circa 1973. Charlie Birdsall bought the Wildfowler Decoy Company from Rab Staniford, Quogue, Long Island, New York, in 1961 and moved the company to his home in Point Pleasant (See Chapter Three of Cowan and LaFountain’s Wildfowler Decoys). While Birdsall did a great deal of the carving and painting, he also employed a number of excellent assistants, especially painters. One of the most notable was William (Bill) Keim who painted this decoy, as attested to by his signature under the bill. While this carving is unstamped, ”Norman 1973" is printed on the bottom. Although Keim painted this decoy, it is possible that "Norman" refers in some way to Norman Smith, himself an exceptional painter during Wildfowler's Quogue days. This decoy is in excellent original paint with a small amount of bubbling on its left side from sap seepage. The glass-eyed bird, measuring about 15 1/2” in length, 7” in width, and 5 1/2” in height, has its head turned about 15 degrees to the right.

Price: $225.00

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D0819: Lloyd Sterling Swimming Mallard Drake Decoy, Circa 2Q, 20C

Hollow-carved mallard drake decoy in rare swimming posture by Lloyd Sterling, Crisfield, Maryland, circa late 2nd quarter, 20th century. This glass-eyed decoy was carved from a lightweight wood such as balsa or cypress root and hollowed from below. The recess was then covered and sealed by a thin, pear-shaped bottom board (see last photo). The carving was identified as being by Sterling when sold in a Julia & Guyette auction in 1991. There is a small amount of touch up to the white around the bottom board and extending a short distance up the sides, otherwise the decoy is in original paint with light wear. Weighing under a pound, it measures 19" in length, 6.5" in width and is 3.5" high. Among Crisfield's early carvers, Lloyd was second only to his contemporaries, the Ward Brothers.

Price: $375.00

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D0138: Reg Culver Broadbill Drake Decoy, 1st Q, 20th C

Outstanding broadbill drake by Reg Culver of Stratford, CT, circa mid-1st quarter, 20th century. The decoy is hollow-carved with glass eyes, original paint with a fine patina and exceptional combed paint on the back. It has a few small dings and scrapes, but is overall a fine decoy. When Ben Holmes died in 1912, Culver, who was working for Roz Bliss at the time, purchased 70 unfinished broadbill bodies from Holmes' widow. This was one of that group. Culver completed the construction of those decoys with heads of his own design. The use of the Holmes bodies led to confusion and false attribution of many Culver broadbills to Holmes, including this one. It is inscribed on the bottom, "This is a Ben Holmes decoy, 9/17/1966, Tom Marshall". Although Marshall was considered by many to be "the" expert on Connecticut decoys, this is a Culver. It is pictured and properly identified on page 94, Connecticut Decoys by Henry Chitwood. Culver's heads differ from Holmes' in that they are flat on top with low, bulging cheeks and thinner necks. Subsequent bodies made by Culver were blockier and less graceful than those started by Holmes. Many collectors consider Reg Culver's broadbills to be Stratford's finest.

Price: $2950.00

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D0266: Paul Lipke Blue-Winged Teal Drake Decoy

Rare hollow blue winged teal drake decoy, circa 1940s, in excellent original condition with only a few small scrapes and dings, by Paul Lipke of Whiting, Indiana, at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. This glass-eyed decoy, with head turned slightly to the left, measures 12" in length, 5" in width and stands 6" high at the head. It is pictured on page 180, Great Lakes Decoy Interpretations, Kangas, and on page 117, Bird Decoys and Duck Calls, Luckey and Lewis. 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. Lipke 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.

Price: $3950.00

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