Decoy Dux

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Price: $1.00

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D0933: Ora Clough Mallard Drake Decoy, Wisconsin, Circa 2Q, 20C

Superb mallard drake decoy by Ora Clough (1895-1979) of Ladysmith, Wisconsin. At an early age, his family moved from Perkinstown where he was born to directly across the street from the Evans decoy factory in Ladysmith. He began working at that factory around 1930 and soon began making his own decoys by hand. Eventually he added a small lathe to his operation. His decoys are easily identified by the 1" cork-filled hole in the breast that helped reduce the weight of his decoys. It is estimated that Clough made 200-300 decoys from about 1935 to 1944 that not surprisingly showed the Evans influence, although he modified the style to his own preference. Included were mallards, black ducks, bluebills, blue-winged teal, canvasbacks and a limited number of Canada geese. Clough continued to make a few decorative decoys until 1975. This glass-eyed decoy, measuring 16" in length, is in detailed original paint with a pleasing patina, including scratch-painted primaries. There is a tight crack in the right side of the neck, but it does not go all the way through.

Price: $825.00

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M372: Ernie Muehlmatt Spotted Sandpiper, Dated 1971

Excellent spotted sandpiper in near-mint original condition by E. F. “Ernie” Muehlmatt of Salisbury, Maryland, circa 1971. The carving is signed and dated, “Carved by E. F. Muehlmatt, spotted sandpiper, 3/71”. Mounted on a 9” long piece of burnished driftwood and standing 5 1/2” high at the wing tips, the bird itself measures 5 1/2” from tip of bill to tip of tail. There are no repairs and only pinpoint paint rubs to the tips of the bill and wings. 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.

Price: $895.00

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D0938: Exceptional Flying Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1Q, 20C

These decoys have been a favorite of mine ever since I saw one on Robert Young Antique’s website about eight years ago. I included a photo of it in my first article on wood pigeons (last 2 photos below). I wrote, “Other hunter-produced examples such as the two pictured in photos #8 & #9 can rival or surpass the best of the commercially produced birds. For the most part, the makers are unknown. Unfortunately, these decoys are quite rare but eagerly sought after by collectors.” With the appearance of this one, I’m leaning away from hunter-produced towards commercially-produced but still very rare. It is now the second one I am aware of. The form of the body reminds me of the decoys of the Rolphs and William Jaggard from the Norfolk area, although I doubt that any of those men made this decoy. The body with its thin, flat tail was rough-cut with a bandsaw, probably circa late 1st Q, 20th C (WW I era). The shoulders were likewise deeply carved and the wing outlines on the back were carved in. The paint pattern also shares many characteristics with the early Norfolk decoys. What take this decoy from the ordinary to the extraordinary is, of course, the attached extended wings along with its stylized paint pattern and wonderful patina. It measures 15” in overall length and is completely original condition. Its only flaw is a tight crack in the left side of the bill. In my opinion, it is one of the very best! Even if commercially produced, we may never see another again. SOLD.

Price: $2175.00

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D0937: Early Yellowlegs Decoy, Circa 1900

Large and impressive greater yellowlegs or willet decoy by an unknown maker, believed to be from New England, possibly Massachusetts, circa late 1800s to early 1900s. The decoy is in original feather paint with stippling, applied over a red lead primer coat that shows through in spots, most noticeably on the top edges of the tail. The wing outlines and wing tips are carved. The bill is original, but was apparently loose and reset as there are traces of epoxy in the joint where the bill meets the face. Measuring 13 1/2" in length, it has painted eyes with "new moon" catchlights under the pupils. Stand included. SOLD

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D0935: Early Feeding Irish Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa 1890s

Early and folky feeding wood pigeon decoy by an unknown carver, found in and and possibly from the Belfast area of Northern Ireland, circa 1890s. As often seen in early wood pigeon decoys, the decoy is laminated with attached wings and a 1" thick addition to the belly of the bird. Except for touchup to the face and bill which may be an excellent professional replacement, it is in original paint showing an aged patina with white feathering along the edges of the wings, a white collar at the neck and a white ring at the base of the bill. Measuring 14" in length, it has tack eyes and an attached iron swivel stand. A line attached to the small staple set under the bill was used to give a bobbing or feeding motion to the tail-heavy decoy. This decoy is a rigmate to D0935, listed separately. The two (rigmate not included) can be seen together in the last photo.

Price: $850.00

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D0934: Early Wood Pigeon Decoy From Northern Ireland, Circa 1890s

Very folky and early wood pigeon decoy, found in and and possibly from the Belfast area of Northern Ireland. As often seen in early wood pigeon decoys, it was made in two pieces with the head and upper breast laminated to the rest of the body. The 12 1/2" long decoy, with tack eyes and carved wing outlines, is in original paint with white feather outlines at the edges of the wings, the species' typical white neck patches and a white ring at the base of the bill. It is drilled to be stake-mounted but also has a recess across the stake hole to take an iron swiveling stake similar to the one seen on its rigmate, D0935, listed separately. However, no such fixture was ever attached. This decoy together with its rigmate (not included) can be seen in the last photo. Stand included.

Price: $850.00

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D0931: Early George G. Bussey Co. Wood Pigeon Decoy By Mr. Z

Very fine solid-bodied English wood pigeon decoy with yellow glass eyes and its original inset metal bill. Circa late 1st quarter of the 20th century, it is a very early example from the Geo. G. Bussey Co., one of London’s premier sporting goods dealers, The company was founded by George Gibson Bussey (1829-1889) around 1860 and remained in business in London's Peckham district until the late 1940s. Recent research (see "What's In A Name", Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Nov-Dec 2019, Pgs 40-46) indicates that these decoys were made for Bussey by an unknown Yorkshire carver I've dubbed "Mr. Z". This decoy has deeply carved shoulders and wing outlines with a carved and fluted tail. Measuring 15" in length and 4 1/2" across the shoulders, it is in excellent original paint, done in he species' breeding plumage. As was the case with many early pigeon decoys, the body was made of multiple pieces. In this case, the bottom of the breast is a 1" thick lamination. Stand included.

Price: $1275.00

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