M361: Miniature North Carolina Preening Decoy, Circa 2Q, 20C

Rare miniature preening or sleeping duck decoy carving by Charles Caswell "Charlie Mac" McWilliams (1892-1972) of Ocracoke, NC, circa 2nd Q, 20th C. He was a guide at the legendary Green Island Hunting Club before it burned to the ground in 1933. in 1921, the schooner Carroll A. Deering ran aground off Cape Hatteras with all crew members apparently lost. "Charlie Mac" was rumored to have used wood from the shipwreck in making his decoys. Because this cedar example was left unpainted, it is difficult to tell what species it represents; however, as the hunt club was noted for its redheads, Canada geese and brant, I am guessing this miniature may be a redhead. Roughly half scale, it measures 9 1/2" from tail tip to breast and has carved wing outlines. It is signed "C. C. McWilliams, Ocracoke, N. C." on the bottom. McWilliams later was a well known local figure, serving as the mailman in Ocracoke for many years. SOLD

Price: $250.00

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D0874: Pair of BURBO Wood Pigeon Decoys, Circa 2Q, 20C

Set of two paper mache wood pigeons, circa early 1st quarter, 20th century. While these decoys are unmarked, another example exists that is known to be marked "BURBO", as sold by West and Son, Gunsmiths, Retford, UK. That partnership was dissolved in 1908. There are also unmarked cast metal examples of these decoys known. I suspect that the cast metal examples may have proven to be too expensive to manufacture, resulting in those decoys being used as forms from which the paper mache models were later made. I’ve seen several paper mache examples in the past, but none as nice as these. Rigors of weather and the hunt took there toll on many of these more fragile decoys. In original paint, there is flaking to the primer on the glass-eyed bodies and heads. While the bodies were made entirely of heavy paper, soaked in an adherent and laid over the cast metal forms, the heads appear to consist of small doweled wooden forms, left in place and overlaid with paper mache finishes as well. There is light shot scarring on both birds, attesting to their field use. These are large decoys, measuring 15” in length and 6” in width. Meant to be set directly on the ground, they also measure 6” from the hollow bottoms to the crowns of the heads. As can be seen photos, the heads can be rotated to any position, giving a more realistic appearance to the spread of decoys.

Price: $425.00

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D0873: Francis Rolph Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa Early 1Q, 20C

Excellent English wood pigeon decoy attributed to Francis Rolph of Lakenheath, Suffolk, United Kingdom, circa 1900 - 1910. He was the area's largest dealer in all manner of birds and game. After inquiries from customers, he began making decoys as early as 1880, concentrating on pigeon decoys. The body is somewhat rectangular in cross section, reflecting the exclusive use of hand tools in the making of his decoys. Perhaps the nicest example I've seen by this carver, it is lightly used with a pleasing patina. A stylish carving with a separately carved head and glass eyes, it measures 12.75" in length, 3" in width and is almost 4" in depth at the breast. The decoy is somewhat shorter in length than most of Rolph's birds and has a smoothly carved body, lacking the carved wing edges and shoulders normally found on his work, yet it has a noticeably fuller breast. Except for touch-up to and around the bill, which is an excellent and accurate professional replacement, the decoy is in strong original paint depicting the species' fall plumage. Francis was the father of James Rolph, himself a decoy maker, and father-in-law of William Jaggard, another carver, who joined the family business in the early 1930s. James Rolph's decoys are quite similar to those of his father except that the heads are carved as part of the body rather than separately. Stand included. SOLD

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D0871: George Harvey Jersey Coast Scaup Drake Decoy, Circa 1900

Rare early (circa 1900) Jersey Coast hollow-bodied glass-eyed scaup drake in a mixture of original paint, working overpaint and a protective clear coat by George Harvey of Rumson, New Jersey. "Geo. Harvey, Rumson, N.J., 1900" is inscribed on the bottom in black ink along with a museum's inventory number and rubber stamp (a large capital "C", encircling the "M" of "Museum" and an illegible word). The decoy measures 14" in length and 6" in height, There is a 4" x 2" oblong lead pad weight nailed to the bottom. The bill has a tight crack but is stable. SOLD

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D0869: Rare Split-Tail John Dilley Golden Plover, Circa 4Q, 19C

Outstanding glass-eyed golden plover by John Dilley, Quogue, Long Island, New York, circa 4th quarter 19th century. A rare split-tailed model in winter plumage by this maker who is universally acclaimed as one of the top shorebird makers of all time. The decoy has slight wear and has been lightly hit by shot but is in original condition with strong detailed feather paint. It measures 10.5" from tip of tail to tip of bill. Signed "Dilley" on the underside of the tail. "Capt. Jess Birdsall, Barnegat, 1890, Golden Plover" is inscribed in black ink on the bottom. This was the identification first made of these decoys in the early 1940s as documented by Mackey on page 124 of American Bird Decoys.

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D0868: Early Gene Hendrickson Broadbill Drake, Circa 1930

Early-style, circa 1930, hollow-bodied tack-eyed broadbill drake in original paint by Joseph Eugene "Gene" Hendrickson (1896-1971), Northfield, New Jersey. This decoy was Guyette & Schmidt's lot #128 in their July 2000 auction. According to the catalogue it was purchased by D.R. Gascoyne from Smith's Tavern in 1938. Written on bottom: "From Smith's Tavern, Rt. 9, Absecon, N.J., Dec. 7, 1938. Probably Tuckerton group of decoy makers. Barnegat Bay, N. J., hollow cedar hen (sic), greater scaup-broadbill". Measuring 14" in length and 7.5" in height, it is in strong original paint, protected by a thin coat of varnish. The decoy is flat-backed with a deep, smooth dip to a low tail and has carved nostrils and mandible separations. There is poured inletted weight in the bottom. SOLD

Price: $875.00

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D0870: Harris Family Golden Plover Decoy, Nantucket

Excellent golden plover in breeding plumage by a member of the Harris family, Nantucket, MA, circa 4th quarter, 19th century. The 9.5" decoy is in strong original paint and retains the original conical bill and tack eyes. As was typical of these decoys, the head and neck were carved as a piece separate from the body. The carving is identified on the bottom in ink as a "Golden plover, Nantucket, Mass, 1880". There is a thin coat of varnish protecting the finish.

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D0866: Exceptional Gadwall Drake Decoy, Circa 3Q, 20C

Outstanding hollow glass-eyed gadwall drake, circa 3rd quarter, 20th century. 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 is unknown, there is no questioning 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. 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: $1195.00

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