D0076: Sleeping Bluebill Hen Decoy, Ontario or Michigan, Circa 3Q, 20C

Well executed sleeping bluebill hen from southwestern Ontario or Michigan , circa 3rd quarter, 20th century. It is in near-mint original condition. Showing the influence of Ben Schmidt and Ken Anger among others from this area, this plump-bodied hen with glass eyes exhibits heavy overall rasping, incised wing outlines, deeply carved side pockets and a fluted tail. The decoy measures 13.5" in length, 7.5" in width and stands 4" and 6" high at the back and head, respectively. The encircled initials "DS", presumably those of the maker, are stamped into the bottom. SOLD

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D0923: Early Feeding Scottish Wood Pigeon Decoy

Very sculpturesque tucked-head feeding wood pigeon decoy with painted eyes by an unknown carver, circa early 1900s. This decoy, along with a rigmate, was found outside of Perth, Scotland, where it was hunted along the River Tay. There is a professional repair to the left wing tip, stretching diagonally across the last two inches of the wing with touch up to that area. Otherwise, the decoy is in well patinated original paint and retains its original bill. There are several age splits in the head and upper back, one of which was strengthened by the addition of two small nails, presumably when the decoy was made. The decoy is unusually large with a length of almost 16" and has a hollow recess drilled and chiseled into its belly, probably to reduce its weight. While most wood pigeon decoys were made in England itself, pigeons were and are hunted in Scotland as well, and it is very possible that this decoy and its mate were made by a heretofore unknown but very talented Scottish carver. SOLD

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D0912: Phil Jones Canada Goose Decoy, Circa 1950s

Very nice lesser Canada or cackling goose decoy by Phil Jones of Bellingham, Washington. In original condition, the decoy is hollow and appears to be constructed from some kind of fabric applied over a wooden framework and then coated with fiberglass. Think of a George Boyd canvas-covered Canada goose encapsulated in a protective coating of fiberglass. Jones worked for Inflite Boat Works, a company founded in Bellingham in 1957, that originally made small fiberglass boats. Apparently, Jones made this decoy in the late 50s to early 60s using the construction skills learned at the boat works. A small decoy, it only measures about 20” in length, 7.5” in width and stands about 8” high at the head. There is a wooden bottom board concealed under the fiberglass and fabric coating. A wooden head is covered in the same manner. As for the body, I can’t tell whether it was molded over a removable and reusable form or over a skeletal framework that remains in place. From their weight (only about 1 lb, 12 oz each), I’m thinking molded. As for the “paint”, I believe it is very possible that the fiberglass itself was colorized and “painted” on, although the detailed feather paint may have been applied before the fiberglass was applied. It is also possible that both techniques were used to achieve the original finish. The raised and crossed wingtips have a bit of flex to them and appear to have been made using very thin wooden lathe as a base. A very durable and serviceable decoy! SOLD

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D0911: Midwestern Canada Goose

One honkin' big Canada goose field decoy with glass eyes by an unknown Midwestern maker (possibly Wisconsin), circa 2nd quarter, 20th century. Carved in the high-head "sentinel" posture and measuring 27" in overall length with a 2-piece laminated balsa body and 2-piece hardwood head/neck, it stands 15" tall at the head. The decoy, exhibiting moderate flaking and wear, has detailed bill carving and raised, crossed wing tips. Two metal straps are attached to the underside to allow the attachment of legs for lifelike placement of the decoy in the field. Other than a second coat of paint applied to the white areas, the decoy is in mostly original paint with detailed feathering on the sides and back. SOLD

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D0915: Leonard Doren Mallard Hen Decoy, Circa 1930s

Excellent hollow, round-bodied mallard hen decoy with glass eyes and detailed bill carving by Leonard Doren (1895-1965) of Pekin, Illinois, circa 1930. Best known for his owl decoys, Doren also produced over 200 practical and realistic mallards, pintails and bluebills over a career spanning 30 years. This decoy, carved in the classic Illinois River style, measures 16 1/2" in length from the tip of the bill to the tip of tail. It is in lightly-crazed original detailed feather paint. Exhibiting a pleasing patina, the decoy is in excellent structural condition showing only light to moderate wear. SOLD

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D0907: Harry V. Shourds Robin Snipe Decoy

Excellent robin snipe with painted eyes by Harry V. Shourds, Tuckerton, New Jersey, circa late 19th to early 20th century. Measuring 9" in length and about 2 1/4" in thickness, this full-bodied little bird in breeding plumage is in original paint showing only light flaking and wear. The original bill has had a professional repair by Russ Allen to replace a sliver off the bottom of the bill (see last two photos for "before" and "after" photos) with touch up to that area. There is an owner's mark, a stylized "A", etched into the paint below the stick hole. SOLD

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D0909: Rare Flying English Wood Pigeon Decoy, Circa Mid-20th Century

Rare and excellent flying wood pigeon, carved as if landing, by an unknown English maker, circa mid-20th century. Wood pigeon decoys in a flying form are seldom found. Most unusually, the body, including the head and bill, is carved from one piece of hardwood. The separately-carved wings are approximately 1/4" thick. They are slightly cupped and tapered at the tips and edges and are inset into the back of the decoy. The carving is in fine original condition with detailed feather paint on the back and wings, showing minimal wear other than a chip to the edge of the right wing tip. The bird measures 13" in length and has a wingspan of 21-1/2". The last photo shows this decoy along with a feeding example by the same maker (D0910l not included, available separately). This decoy was found in central England, near Sheffield. Stand included. SOLD

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M369: Joe Ahearn Bobwhite Quail Diorama, Circa 1940s

Fine diorama of a pair of flying bobwhite quail (male above, female below), by James Joseph "Joe" Ahearn (1904-1963), Stamford, CT and New York City, circa 1940s. An excellent effort, these roughly half-scale full-bodied quail measure 4 1/2" in length (tip of bill to tip of tail) with 6" wingspans. The diorama is in excellent structural condition with a few scratches and overall light wear to the Arts and Crafts style frame which is 10 1/8" x 12 3/8" x 3". The quail themselves are in mint condition with tiny glass taxidermy eyes, carved primaries and excellent detailed feather paint. Ahearn became well-known in the mid-1940's as a carver of miniatures. It is unclear when he began carving them although it is presumed that he started in the late 1930's, if not sooner. While Joe lived in the New York City area where he was a salesman for the National Cash Register Company he was known to have carved miniatures while on the road. At the onset of World War II, he and his wife moved to Stamford, Connecticut. The first documentation of his carvings being offered for sale is in the 1945-46 catalog of the Sporting Gallery and Bookstore in New York City. This catalog featured a wide selection of Ahearn's "functional hunter" and "sportsman oriented" items such as lamps, wall thermometers, letter openers, coat racks, tie racks, pipe racks, book ends and ashtrays in a variety of configurations. It was around this time that he also began offering his miniature carvings of waterfowl and upland game birds. One of the first and certainly the most important retailer to carry his carvings was the Crossroads of Sport store in New York City. They were enjoying a huge demand for A. J. King's miniatures and were more than eager to complement his products with another carver's work. Ahearn is featured in "Birds in Wood and Paint" by Joe Ellis. SOLD

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