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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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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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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D0925: Unknown Wood Pigeon Decoy, Suffolk, UK, Circa Mid 20C

One of a striking rig of decoys by an unknown carver, circa late 2nd to early 3rd quarter of the 20th century. They were found in and are possibly from Suffolk, UK. The carver made these decoys in a number of different poses and sizes, leading me to the conclusion that they were made without pattern. I had originally thought that these decoys were made by a hunter for his own use, but I‘ve now seen enough examples to suggest that they could be a small volume commercial product. While each individual example is exemplary in its own right, a grouping in various poses produces a synergistic effort of great appeal. The bills on these decoys were crafted from nylon or a similar synthetic material rather than wood or cast metal. Unfortunately, the material proved to be rather brittle, resulting in breakage and replacement as is the case with this example. Measuring 15” in length, it is in original paint that has developed a very pleasing patina. SOLD

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D0926: Unknown Wood Pigeon Decoy, Mid-20th Century

Very well done fat-bodied English wood pigeon decoy from the London area, circa late 2nd quarter to early 3rd quarter, 20th century. Most unusually, it is of six-piece construction. The body is made of four vertical laminations, two at the body’s center and one for each raised-tip wing with carved shoulders. The glass-eyed head and neck are formed from a fifth piece attached at the breast while the tail is an inserted sixth piece. Also unusual is the carving of nostril ceres, the soft, fleshy patches at the base of the upper side of the bill. Overall, the decoy is structurally sound with no separation of the pieces comprising the whole. The decoy is in strong original polychrome paint showing minimal soiling or wear. Stand included. SOLD

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M370: Three-Quarter Scale Redhead Drake, Richard & Marion Harris

Three-quarter scale Wildfowler-style decorative redhead drake by Richard and Marion Harris, Harris Wild Duck Decoys, Old Saybrook, Connecticut, circa 1960. The Harris's worked for Wildfower for 25 years, he as a carver and she as a painter, until the company moved to Quogue, Long Island, in the winter of 1957-1958. The solid-bodied carving, made of high grade Eastern white pine, is in excellent original paint other than for touchup at a tight and stable crack through the neck. One of the glass eyes is cracked but otherwise intact. The bird measures 11" in length, 4 3/4" in width and stands 5" tall at the head. As was characteristic of their work, black paint was used to indicate the separation of the bill and face. As was less common but seen in a few of their carvings, the margin between the face and bill was also wood-burned. A similar example can be seen on page 161 of Wildfowler Decoys by Dick Cowan and Dick LaFountain. SOLD

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D0920: Gene Hendrickson Old Squaw Decoy, Circa Mid-20C

Very nice hollow-bodied old squaw drake with tack eyes by Joseph Eugene "Gene" Hendrickson (1896-1971), Northfield, New Jersey, circa mid-twentieth century. The decoy, which has never been rigged, is in dry original paint showing only very light soiling. There is a very slight separation to the body seam with some paint loss in that area. Hendrickson used an insetted bottom weight in the same manner as Harry V. Shourds. His initials, JEH, are stamped into the weight. In addition to being a professional decoy maker, Hendrickson, who began carving decoys circa 1920, was also an accomplished sneakbox builder and carpenter. SOLD

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