D0866: Exceptional Hollow Gadwall Drake Decoy Circa 1960s

Outstanding hollow glass-eyed gadwall drake circa early to mid-1960s. Expertly made with carved musculature, primaries, secondaries and a fluted tail, it has incredible feather paint with expert vermiculation and detailed bill carving. The decoy measures 15" in length, just under 7" in width and stands 7" tall at the head which is turned slightly to the left. It is in near-mint original condition with only a tiny paint chip on the right edge of the bill and no repairs. While who made this fine decoy may be open for debate, there is no questioning the either his skills or familiarity with the anatomy of waterfowl. It was most likely made as an entry to one of the major decoy carving contests of its era such as the International Decoy Contest, the U. S. National Decoy Contest or the Canadian National Decoy Makers' Contest. Bob Kerr and John Garton of Smith Falls, Ontario; Al Glassford of Scarboro, Ontario and Ed de Navarre of Detroit, Michigan, have all been suggested by knowledgeable collectors as possible makers of this exceptional decoy. Unfortunately, because of possible bias in judging these decoys, the carvers were not allowed to sign or otherwise mark their works in any manner.

Price: $1395.00

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D0857/D0858: Early Seneca Lake Canvasback Decoy Pair

Very nice pair of solid-bodied canvasback decoys by H. Seymour "Putt" Smith (1878-1947), Geneva, New York, circa 1920-1930, used in Dresden Bay on Seneca Lake in upstate New York's Finger Lakes region. Both have a slightly accentuated ridge at the centerline of the backs with tapered sides on the bottom halves of the decoys. Each measures approximately 16" in length, 6.5" in width and 8" in height. They have high quality glass eyes and are in original paint except for touchup to professional neck repairs on each decoy. Structurally sound, the drake shows moderate wear while the hen has only light wear. There is a small piece of wood on the left side of the drake which was added in the making to widen the body. It remains firmly affixed with no shrinkage or separation. The drake has also been lightly hit by shot on the left side of the decoy.

Price: $975.00

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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 is "blind", without glass, paint or tack eyes.

Price: $2650.00

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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 by Russ Allen. 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. See Guyette & Deeter auction catalog, April 2014, Lot 486 for a similar pair that sold for $5500.00 plus 15% buyer's premium.

Price: $2450.00

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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: $295.00

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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: $195.00

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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: $195.00

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