D0721: Fred Allen Bluebill Drake Decoy

A well-proportioned and rare hollow-bodied bluebill drake attributed to Fred Allen (1838 - 1912), Monmouth, Illinois, circa 4th quarter of the 19th century. The decoy is in original paint with good patina and combed paint on the back, showing moderate flaking and wear. These decoys are fitted with a gasket to prevent leakage at the body seam. Measuring approximately 12" in length, 6" in width and 6.5" in height, it is structurally excellent with no cracks or breaks and a tight body seam. The left eye is cracked but intact. The decoy's lead weight has notches, perhaps purposeful, on each end, two on one and five on the other, designating the number "25" perhaps. The bird was formerly in the collection of Joe French, with his collection number (152) on the bottom. Information from Joe French's written records, as provided by Joe Tonelli, show that French purchased this decoy on 6/24/55 from Frank Eckard of Putnam, IL. Eckard was caretaker for the big Sanachine Gun Club. Controversy surrounds the identification of the carver of these fine birds. A solid majority of them were originally found in southwest Minnesota, leading many to speculate that they are the work of either John Tax or john Tax, Sr. Where the identification of Allen as the carver originated is unknown; however, no mention of him having made or sold decoys can be found in any of the printed ads for his products. Allen, a frequent advertiser in sporting publications in the late 1800s, was perhaps best known for his patented bow-facing oars and duck calls. His work, some of the earliest documented from the Illinois River region, is chronicled in numerous decoy books and publications, including Decoys and Decoy Carvers of Illinois by Parmalee and Loomis.

Price: $2995.00

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