D0941: Early Unknown Yellowlegs Decoy, Long Island

Very nice yellowlegs decoy by an unknown carver from Long Island, New York, circa late 1800s. The painted-eye decoy with typical Seaford school carved wing and shoulder outlines and an excellent patina was hand-whittled without benefit of power tools and has clearly seen knife cuts. It is in strong original paint other than at the bill which is a well done professional replacement and for tiny dabs of paint to strengthen the painted eyes. It is 2" thick and measures 11" from tip of bill to tip of tail. The initials "RLS", probably a prior owner, are burned into the bottom of the bird. Additionally, the letters "HOMO" are also punched into the bottom. There are two slightly smaller holes punched into the bottom to the lower left of the left leg of the "H" that could represent a "J" as well, making the letters "JHOMO". Stand included.

Price: $895.00

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M375: A. J. Ditman Miniature Widgeon Drake, Circa 1940s

Miniature carving of a widgeon drake by Albert Joseph Ditman (1884-1974), circa late 1940s. The 4 1/2" long carving is in near-mint original condition. It bears Ditman's paper label on the bottom along with the monogram "AJD" over an "M" on the base. The "M" signifies that the carving was done while Ditman lived in Williamsown, Massachusetts. Earlier carvings were done in New York City while he worked for Mobil Oil. Ditman carved his folky miniatures, usually mounted on a chip-carved "rock" base, through sportsmen's stores in New York City such as Abercrombie & Fitch for a period of some 20 years beginning in 1939. SOLD

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M373: A. J. Ditman Miniature Cock Pheasant, Circa 1940s

Excellent miniature carving of a cock ring-necked pheasant by Albert Joseph Ditman (1884-1974), circa early to mid-1940s. The 6 3/4" long carving is in highly detailed original condition other than a professional repair to a clean break in the neck (See last 4 photos for close ups of the repaired area). It also has a flake of paint missing on the right side of the tail. The base bears his early monogrammed capital “D” with the “A” and “J” inside, indicating it was made while Ditman lived in New York City while working for Mobil Oil. Later carvings were made in Williamsown, Massachusetts, after Ditman's retirement from Mobil in 1947. These were monogrammed "AJD" with an "M" (for Massachusetts) below. Ditman carved his folky miniatures, usually mounted on a chip-carved "rock" base, through sportsmen's stores in New York City such as Abercrombie & Fitch for a period of some 20 years beginning in 1939. SOLD

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D0939/D0940: Schoenheider Illinois River Mallard Pair, Circa 1940s

Very nice pair of Illinois River mallards by Charles Schoenheider, Jr., of Peoria, Illinois, circa 1940s. They are in excellent original detailed feather paint by Millie Graves, wife of fellow Peoria carver Bert Graves. Each hollow-bodied decoy measures 16” in length with especially well detailed bill carving. The decoys generally show light wear other than some flaking along the body seam of the drake. The hen is an especially nice example by this carver. SOLD

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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. SOLD

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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: $595.00

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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.

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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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