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.

Price: $795.00

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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. SOLD

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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: $995.00

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D0936: Fine Virginia Pintail Drake, Circa 1970s

Exceptionally well-executed and life-like hollow-bodied pintail drake by Jack T. James, Jr. (1935-1982) of Hopewell, Virginia, circa 1970s. With its head turned slightly to the right and measuring 20" in length from the tip of the bill to the tip of the sprig tail and standing 7.5" high at the head, the decoy is expertly crafted with an overall feather texture, raised secondaries and inserted raised primaries. It is in mint condition other than for a small chip to the edge of one of the primaries. The detailed feather paint includes fine vermiculation on the back and sides. James was a frequent entrant in the Ward World Championships from the mid to late 1970s where his pintail decoys were particularly well received. SOLD

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D0930: Rarest Herter's Decoy, Model Perfect Dove, 1940s

The Holy Grail for collectors of Herter's decoys! Herter's Model Perfect Model #963 mourning dove, circa 1940s. These were made for Herter by the Artistic Wood Carving Company of Chicago. The Model #963 decoys are recognized as being the best of the company’s decoys with the dove decoys being the most sought-after of the entire Herter's line, more rare even than their owl and cedar crow decoys. This glass-eyed example with carved wing outline, detailed wing feather carving and a fluted tail is in near-mint original condition with the exception of a professional bill repair. It measures about 10 1/4” from tip of bill to tip of tail. References include "North American Factory Decoys" by Trayer, "Minnesota Duck Decoys" by Lodermeier and an extensive article by Donna Tonelli in the May/June 1999 issue of Decoy Magazine. SOLD

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D0929: Rare Delaware River Canada Goose Decoy, Charles Allen, Circa 1940

Rare Delaware River Canada goose decoy by Charles Allen (1893-1985), Bordentown, New Jersey, circa 1940. As the few Canada geese that migrated down the Delaware would decoy to black duck rigs, goose decoys were seldom made by carvers from this region. Those few that exist were made by Allen and a small handful of other carvers including John Blair and John McLoughlin. Allen meticulously painted his decoys in a classic style, often applying five to eight coats. A big, bold glass-eyed decoy in original paint, it is solid-bodied with sharply carved shoulder and wing outlines and crossed and raised wingtips. Measuring 25" from tip of bill to tip of tail, it is signed "Charles Allen, Bordentown, N. J.", possibly by Allen, and dated 1940 on the base of the decoy. There are several tight cracks in the neck, an age split running the length of the back and a small split in the breast. The original leather line tie and pad weight remain.

Price: $695.00

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D0927: Alfred Chopin Bar-Tailed Godwit Decoy, France, Circa 1950

I recently was involved in a trade in which I acquired a rather exceptional European shorebird decoy that reminds me very much of the work of Bill Bowman. I sent photos of the bird to three French experts in the field and received similar replies. One says the decoy is a bar-tailed godwit (called a “barge” in France) that is definitely by Alfred Chopin (1906 - 1982) of Sete, France, circa 1950. The other two agree as to species and say it is probably by Chopin. Chopin is recognized as France’s premier decoy maker. I’ve searched the internet for comparable sales and found only two, both of the same decoy. It was a curlew by Chopin that sold in the McCleery auction (January 2002, Lot 562) and again in 2016 (Guyette & Deeter, November 2016, Lot 220). In the first instance, it sold for $4600.00 and for $2012.50 in the second. Both prices include the buyer’s premium. This glass-eyed decoy is made in three plies, a center of wood flanked on each side by cork. It has relief wing carving, extended wing tips and a slightly exaggerated crop. The bill is a high quality professional repair, utilizing the broken pieces of the original bill. The bill is a high quality professional repair, utilizing the (broken pieces of?) the original bill. This decoy was owned about 30 years ago by a Boston antique dealer who dropped it and had the bill repaired. The person I got it from cannot remember whether he was told that the bill itself was broken or if it was intact but broken out of the face. When the bill was broken, there was damage done to the cork face immediately surrounding it. That area (approximately 1/2") was repaired as well. There is also some touch up to the tail’s tip. These repairs show up under black light but are very well done and virtually unnoticeable. The godwit is in otherwise original highly detailed blended feather paint showing light to moderate flaking and wear. It’s a large bird, measuring about 17” from tip of bill to tip of tail, but to fully appreciate its size, look at the last photo below, taken with a Shourds robin snipe in the foreground. If you are interested in the godwit, your price would be $875.00 including shipping. SOLD

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