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Auction Description for Copley: The Winter Sale 2014
Viewing Notes:
Schedule of Events WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 12 Auction Preview 5 PM - 7 PM THURSDAY FEBRUARY 13 Auction Preview 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM Auction 11 AM
Sale Notes:
**PLEASE BE AWARE THAT INTERNET BIDDERS MAY NOT PICK UP THEIR ITEMS AT THE SALE SITE. ITEMS CAN BE PICKED UP BY APPOINTMENT OR SHIPPED ON OR AFTER WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20**

The Winter Sale 2014

by Copley Fine Art Auctions


403 lots | 398 with images

February 13, 2014

Live Auction

446 King Street

Charleston, SC, 29403 USA

Phone: 617-536-0030

Email: info@copleyart.com

403 Lots
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Swordfish Weathervane

Lot 1: Swordfish Weathervane

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Description: A thirty-two-inch-long billfish weathervane with a wind-driven spinning tail and inserted fins. Over the last thirty-five years this important American carver has made only a few other fish weathervanes. This carving was inspired by the artist's travels along the Atlantic seaboard. A related example sold in The Winter Sale 2012. Signed by the maker with an incised "McNair" on the underside. The original hardwood base is signed on the underside "From my dock at Island Neck, Virginia, Mark S. McNair, 2012."

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Old Squaw

Lot 2: Old Squaw

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Description: A turned-head decoy displaying glass eyes, an inserted oak tail, and the maker's incised "McNair" signature on the bottom. Created in the early 1980s, this is perhaps the finest McNair old squaw to come on the market.

Condition Report: Original paint with light patina, minimal wear, rigging removed, and an age line on the bottom.

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Eskimo Curlew

Lot 3: Eskimo Curlew

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Description: A hollow shorebird decoy with unusual carved, raised eyes, incised wings, and the maker's incised signature on the underside. This decoy features some of the maker's most detailed painted feathering with pointalist, scratch, and blended techniques employed.

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Canvasback Drake

Lot 4: Canvasback Drake

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Description: A rare early gunning canvasback decoy with carved eyes, raised primary wing feathers, an inserted leather tail and the maker's incised signature on the bottom.

Condition Report: Original paint with light wear.

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Oversized Curlew

Lot 5: Oversized Curlew

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Description: One of the largest curlews we have handled measuring nineteen inches from tip to tail. This hollow carving features raised wings, an applied head with an oak bill, tack eyes, and the maker's incised signature on the underside.

Condition Report: Original paint with light wear and some seam shrinkage.

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Godwit

Lot 6: Godwit

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Description: A traditional Virginia-style shorebird displaying carved eyes, a splined oak bill, thin square-peg head fasteners, and raised wing and tail carving. This turned-head decoy bears the maker's incised signature on the underside.

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Semipalmated Plover

Lot 7: Semipalmated Plover

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Description: A life-size peep with tack eyes, scratch-painted feather detail and the maker's incised signature on the underside.

Condition Report: Original paint with minimal wear.

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Pintail Pair

Lot 8: Pintail Pair

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Description: A finely executed pair of hollow decoys with slightly turned heads, raised primaries, rigging, and the maker's "I McNair" incised signature on the bottom of each. The drake features an inserted oak tail.

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Flying Quail

Lot 9: Flying Quail

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Description: A trio of life-size bobwhite quail in flight, two males and one hen. Signed and dated by the maker, on the backside of the driftwood base. This wall-mounted installation, measuring approximately three feet across, is exquisitely rendered and shows both the carving and painting sensibilities reminiscent of A. E. Crowell (1862-1952).

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Ring-Necked Pheasant

Lot 10: Ring-Necked Pheasant

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Description: A twenty-seven-inch-long decorative pheasant carving signed and dated on the underside of the base by the maker. This is one of the largest carvings ever executed by this talented maker.

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Wild Turkey

Lot 11: Wild Turkey

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Description: Brakhage spent forty years as a waterfowl biologist and in his retirement carved decoys. His turkey decoys were sold by Crossroads of Sport in New York City. A similar bird by this maker is featured on page 47 of a 1974 Crossroads catalog, and priced at $250.00 (plus $5.00 shipping). Signed under the tail "Brakhage #0874." The legs are removable for easy transport.

Condition Report: Original paint with minimal wear.

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Flying Canvasback Pair

Lot 12: Flying Canvasback Pair

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Description: A hand-carved pair of life-size canvasbacks in flight, signed and dated by the maker on the top of a wing. This is as fine a pair as can be found by the maker.

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Flying Brant

Lot 13: Flying Brant

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Description: A life-size flying brant, signed with in incised "Borrett" on the top of one wing.

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Life-Size Ring-Necked Pheasant

Lot 14: Life-Size Ring-Necked Pheasant

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Description: A twenty-four-inch-long by eighteen-inch-high upland game bird carving signed with an incised "Borrett" on the underside of the carving and branded "Borrett" on the bottom of the base.

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Large Sperm Whale

Lot 15: Large Sperm Whale

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Description: Clark Voorhees enlisted the help of Wildfowler Decoys' founder, Ted Mulliken, in nearby Old Saybrook, Connecticut, to initially aid in the carving of his whales. His whale carving business was later moved to its permanent home in Vermont. Many of his carvings were sold through the Four Winds Shop on Nantucket. A thirty-five-inch half-whale carving by Clark Voorhees, the son of Clark Greenwood Voorhees (1871-1933), one of the founders of the Old Lyme, Connecticut Art Colony. Signed on the back with an incised "CV" and with a stamped "C VOORHEES."

Condition Report: Original paint with a reset fluke and lower jaw.

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Sperm Whale

Lot 16: Sperm Whale

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Description: A seventeen-inch, half-whale carving. One of seven from a complete set of his smaller scale marine mammal carvings. Included with this sperm whale lot is a rare Voorhees whale inventory and price key. Signed on the back with his stylized "CV" incised signature and with stamped letters "C VOORHEES."

Condition Report: Original paint with minimal wear.

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Fin Whale

Lot 17: Fin Whale

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Description: An eighteen-and-three-quarters-inch, half-whale carving, signed on the back by the maker with his stylized "CV" incised signature and with stamped letters "C VOORHEES."

Condition Report: Original paint with minimal wear.

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Right Whale

Lot 18: Right Whale

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Description: An eighteen-inch, half-whale carving, signed on the back by the maker with his stylized "CV" incised signature and with stamped letters "C VOORHEES."

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Humpback Whale

Lot 19: Humpback Whale

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Description: An eighteen-inch, half-whale carving, signed on the back by the maker with his stylized "CV" incised signature and with stamped letters "C Voorhees."

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Killer Whale

Lot 20: Killer Whale

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Description: An eighteen-inch, half-whale carving, signed on the back by the maker with his stylized "CV" incised signature and with stamped letters "Voorhees."

Condition Report: Original paint with a reset dorsal fin tip.

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Dolphin

Lot 21: Dolphin

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Description: An eighteen-inch, half-carving, signed on the back by the maker with his stylized "CV" incised signature and with stamped letters "C VOORHEES." Voorhees called these forms "porpoise."

Condition Report: Original paint with minimal wear.

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Narwhal

Lot 22: Narwhal

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Description: A twenty-three-inch, half-whale carving, signed on the back by the maker with his stylized "CV" incised signature and with stamped letters "C VOORHEES."

Condition Report: Original condition.

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Sperm Whale

Lot 23: Sperm Whale

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Description: A hollow, wall-mount whale carving measuring approximately forty-four inches long, with carved raised ridges along the back and a slightly curved fin and tail. "FSF" is incised on the back.

Condition Report: Original paint with minimal wear. Reset flukes and pectoral fin.

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Preening Eider Drake

Lot 24: Preening Eider Drake

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Description: A hollow, back-preening sea duck displaying carved eyes, bill detail, and raised wings.

Condition Report: Original paint.

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Duck Hunter

Lot 25: Duck Hunter

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Description: A seventeen-and-one-half-inch-high woodcarving depicting a hunter with duck decoys. Signed by the maker on the underside of the base.

Condition Report: Original paint with minimal wear and minor hat seam separation.

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The Hunter

Lot 26: The Hunter

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Description: An eighteen-and-one-half-inch-high woodcarving depicting a goose hunter. Signed by the maker on the back side of the base.

Condition Report: Original paint with minor wear including a hat brim repair.

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Snipe Hunter

Lot 27: Snipe Hunter

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Description: A nineteen-inch-high woodcarving depicting a hunter with a bag of birds and a backpack of decoys. Signed by the maker on the back side of the base.

Condition Report: Original paint with minimal wear including a tiny tail chip to one of the shorebird decoys and hat brim.

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Bobwhite Quail

Lot 28: Bobwhite Quail

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Description: A finely detailed life-size male quail carving completed at the height of Elmer Crowell's decorative period. The bill and tail feathers feature incised detail, and the base has a special gouge treatment to simulate grass. Crowell's dry brush technique applied to the still wet oil paint created a realistic quality in his birds that sets his work apart from all other makers. Anatomically correct, Crowell reveals why he is considered the father of American bird carving. Very few examples of quail of this quality have ever come to market.

Condition Report: Original paint with light wear and minor flaking to feet.

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Rigmate Canada Goose Pair

Lot 29: Rigmate Canada Goose Pair

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Description: It is highly unusual to find a perfectly matched pair of rigmate Canada geese by an early maker. This pair retains their original oak bottom boards used for rigging. The end of each board is marked with incised roman numerals, "VI" and "I," and "VI" and "III." The bird numbered VI and III is pictured on the contents page of Cap Vinal's book on Lincoln with a caption that reads, "A classic Lincoln goose used on Duxbury bay." These exemplary specimens, by one of New England's most famous makers, were stored in the rafters of a hunting and fishing shack on Duxbury Beach since their last use generations ago.

Condition Report: Each is in original paint with checks along their right sides. These age checks are common in the large cedar blocks used in Lincoln's geese. Original neck cracks with minor touch-up. In-fill along body seams and possible minor whitewash to breasts.

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Red-Breasted Merganser Hen

Lot 30: Red-Breasted Merganser Hen

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Description: "I had the good fortune of visiting with Jim McCleery on several occasions in his home in Texas. He was one of the most noble gentleman I have ever met and he was a consummate host! I remember our visits as lively affairs that included conversations with his pet parrot, checking out his tortoise in the back yard, and preparing Mexican dinner feasts in the kitchen. Conversations after dinner eventually came back to shorebirds and waterfowl and I was amazed at Jim's knowledge of all things bird related and how he viewed decoy collecting. He was a great teacher, and at all times a student. Nuances of decoys and their makers came second nature to Jim and he would often pick up two birds and reveal how the two related. His take was different from any other collector I have ever met. I believe Jim viewed decoy collecting as a giant puzzle, and he was a master at connecting its pieces. Jim reserved special spots on his shelves, fireplace, and walls for his favorite birds. I remember the first time I saw the George Boyd Mergansers on display in his home. The turned-head hen swimmer graced Jim's coffee table alongside the famous notched neck goose and Crowell's preening goose. Her presence was bold and animated, I was so enamored looking at those three birds it was a half hour before I realized that Jim owned a matching drake!" -Stephen O'Brien, Jr. (****Place the above quote above the main description or maybe on the flap ) This rigmate pair of "paddle-tail" red-breasted mergansers represents one of the finest pairs of North American decoys ever to be offered, and two of the most refined carvings to come out of New England. This bold and racy decoy features a long, wide body with a broad paddle tale. The delicately carved head is turned to the left approximately 30 degrees with a forward reaching and uplifted posture. The surface features both concise paint patterns and the artist's finest stippled paint along the sides and across the back. True to the species, Boyd used amber glass eyes for this hen. The pencil-thin upturned bill is tipped with nail carving. The underside of the hen is partly hollowed out from the bottom and retains the "McCLEERY" ink stamp. From tip to tail the bird measures almost nineteen inches. As a testament to Dr. McCleery's opinion of this bird, it held a special place resting atop the coffee table in his living room alongside his preening Canada goose by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952). This sentiment was echoed in the McCleery Auction flier where the Boyd Mergansers were the most prominently featured birds after the Crowell goose.

Condition Report: Outstanding original paint with light even gunning wear, a tight age crack along the bottom and anchor line wraps around the neck.

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Red-Breasted Merganser Drake

Lot 31: Red-Breasted Merganser Drake

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Description: This racy decoy features a long, wide body with a broad paddle tale identical to the hen's with the exception of a slightly higher back. The delicately carved head is turned to the left approximately 30 degrees with a forward reaching and uplifted posture. The surface features both concise paint patterns and the artist's finest stippled paint along the sides. True to the species, Boyd used red glass eyes for this drake. The pencil thin upturned bill features nail carving and a mortise and tenon fit hardwood bill, identical in construction to the maker's shorebirds. The bottom retains the "McCLEERY" ink stamp.

Condition Report: Outstanding original paint with light even gunning wear and a tight age line along the bottom.

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Wood Duck Bookends

Lot 32: Wood Duck Bookends

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Description: An exquisite pair of bookends made for and gifted to Mr. and Mrs. August Mac Taggart, by Wheeler. The carvings are referenced in the Taggart letter illustrated with lot 36. The drake is featured on the dust-jacket cover of Dixon Merkt's book "Shang." The bookends exhibit slightly turned heads, appearing to glance at each other. The birds are mounted on cedar blocks with a rich patina.

Condition Report: Original paint with minor wear from use.

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Miniature Black Duck

Lot 33: Miniature Black Duck

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Description: The rarity of this miniature can not be overstated. While Wheeler made hundreds of decorative carvings in his lifetime, his stand-alone miniatures are virtually non-existent. There is only one other waterfowl miniature, which is set against a painted grass backdrop, pictured in Dixon Merkt's comprehensive treatise on the carver. This six-and-one-half-inch miniature black duck displays a slightly turned head, glass eyes, scratch-painted head detail, and grooved wing definition. The bottom of the carving reads "Made by Shang Wheeler, Black Duck, Babylon, NY, 1935" in barely legible, worn pencil. Babylon was the annual site of the National Decoy Show starting in 1923, and Wheeler was often in attendance in the 1930s and '40s.

Condition Report: Original paint with minor touch-up to bill tip edges and along neck seat.

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Striped Bass

Lot 34: Striped Bass

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Description: Striped Bass, 1906 signed "Shang '06" lower center pen and ink drawing, 12 3/4 by 6 in. The original mat also retains a pencil remarque by Wheeler exhibiting two fishermen in a dory fishing at the edge of submerged rocks landing a "rockfish" or striped bass.

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Preening Wigeon Drake

Lot 35: Preening Wigeon Drake

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Description: A classic, hollow-carved, turned-head wigeon with combed vermiculation and scratched feather detail on the head. This is believed to be the finest Wheeler wigeon to ever come on the market.

Condition Report: Excellent original paint with light gunning wear, a small tail chip, and the rigging removed.

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Wood Duck Drake

Lot 36: Wood Duck Drake

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Description: "Sometime during 1945 when I was 'Shang' Wheeler's assistant he asked me what was my favorite duck? I told him that by all means I thought the male wood duck was the most colorful. He then made and gave to me the carved and mounted male wood duck [lot 36] which I think is a masterpiece. When I told him a few days later that my wife thought it was great, he promptly made the book ends [lot 32] and presented them to us... 'Shang' was not only my boss but a close family friend. Though the years he gave me several pen and ink drawings all signed." -August Mac Taggart, 1977 August Mac Taggart was Wheeler's assistant at the Connecticut Oyster Farms Company and eventually took over his position there. Retirement found August Mac Taggart on the Carolina coast and he sold his treasured Wheeler carvings to the consignor in 1977. In many instances carvings find their way to the best patrons and friends of the artist; this wood duck exemplifies that pattern. This content drake rests on a carved base with a slightly turned head that draws back to a fine crest. The body displays raised feather groups and split, raised wing tips. The bird is finished with Wheeler's finest paint detail that includes blending, feather painting, and tight vermiculation. Only three or four other decorative wood duck drakes by this maker are known to exist. This is believed to be the finest of that group and was selected by Connecticut decoy specialist, Dixon Merkt, to be prominently featured in "The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys."

Condition Report: Outstanding original paint with minimal wear.

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Yellowlegs

Lot 37: Yellowlegs

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Description: A life-size shorebird decoy displaying Boyd's classic form, "shoe button" eyes, and stippled feather detail.

Condition Report: Original paint with light gunning wear, touch-up to a neck crack, and a wing tip chip.

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Yellowlegs

Lot 38: Yellowlegs

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Description: An alert, four-piece, laminated shorebird decoy by this famous carver from the South Shore of Massachusetts.

Condition Report: Original paint with gunning wear, seam shrinkage, and paint loss at wing laminations. Replaced eyes and bill.

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Raised-Wing Yellowlegs

Lot 39: Raised-Wing Yellowlegs

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Description: A well-crafted shorebird displaying a metal bill, raised carved wings, a downward-angled split tail, and a faint Mackey collection stamp on the underside.

Condition Report: A mixture of original paint and old in-use repaint on the underside with gunning wear.

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Yellowlegs

Lot 40: Yellowlegs

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Description: A tack-eyed, split-tailed shorebird decoy with stippled paint and the Mackey Collection ink stamp on the underside. Exhibiting fine proportions with a delicate thin neck and typical spoke-shaved finish.

Condition Report: Original paint with even gunning wear.

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Yellowlegs

Lot 41: Yellowlegs

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Description: A tack-eyed, papier-mâché shorebird decoy with a Mackey Collection ink stamp on the underside.

Condition Report: Original paint with gunning wear and an in-use bill repair.

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Outstanding Dowitcher Pair

Lot 42: Outstanding Dowitcher Pair

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Description: "The Dexter- Gardner tucked and turned dowitchers are not only exquisite figures of wooden sculpture, they are singular in their design. They sat front and center on Jim McCleery's shelf and with good reason, they possess a bold and powerful dynamic not often seen in shorebird decoys." -Stephen O'Brien Jr. The Dexter-Gardner Dowitcher Pair "Dr. Clarence Tripp Gardner (1844-1907), a prominent surgeon and president of the Rhode Island Medical Society, and Newton Dexter (1841-1901), a naturalist associated with the Smithsonian, were hunting and fishing companions who worked together on the creation of a number of remarkable shorebird decoys, including hollow- and solid-bodied curlews, yellowlegs, black-bellied and golden plovers, and dowitchers. Both men were skilled in taxidermy and mounted many of the birds they shot. Their collection of specimens was later donated to the Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History in Providence. Gardner was precocious and ambitious. He taught school briefly at fourteen, entered Brown University at sixteen, and enlisted in the Union Army when the Civil War broke out even though he was two years under age. He fought in the first and last engagements of the war. In 1866 he graduated from Harvard Medical School. In 1883, he built a summer home in Little Compton, Rhode Island, on Sakonnet Point which is still called Gardner's Bluff, where he hunted and fished with Dexter and his son, Clarence H. Gardner, who was also a skilled taxidermist. In a memorial appreciation, Gardner's colleague, Dr. Walter Lee Munroe, noted: 'He was a daring and original surgeon... He was a born mechanic and dexterous in the use of all manner of tools. Many of this happiest leisure hours were spent in his work-shop where he was equally at home whether engaged in fashioning and painting decoys or installing an electric lighting plant. To this mechanical dexterity can be attributed many of his successes as a surgeon... He was an ardent sportsman, especially with the shotgun, and lost no opportunity when the birds were flying and he was away from business. He had a profound knowledge of natural history and especially ornithology. His collection of shore-birds and sea-fowl at Sakonnet, all shot and mounted by himself, his son, and the late Newton Dexter, would be hard to duplicate. His retentive memory made him a mine of information as to the habits and habitat of the different species.' Newton Dexter was a largely self-taught naturalist whose early talents were sufficient enough that he was invited to assist the renowned Harvard Scientist Louis Agassiz on a 1865 expedition up the Amazon. The pioneering psychologist William James, who was then a medical student at Harvard, was also an assistant on the trip and became a good friend of Dexter's. Dexter showed such remarkable ability as a naturalist during the trip that Agassiz recommended him to the Smithsonian for a return expedition, after which he gave up the idea of going to college and devoted the rest of his life to scientific studies. He spent several years in the American West, where he lived for a time in a Sioux village and befriended both Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill Cody, and traveled extensively in pursuit of specimens throughout his life. In his later years, Dexter wintered at Oak Lodge in Grant, Florida, a boardinghouse frequented by naturalists and sportsmen, on the St. Johns River south of Melbourne, and spent summers with Gardner in Sakonnet. He died there in 1901 after suffering a heart attack while the two men were out fishing." -Robert Shaw, "Bird Decoys of North America" Newton Dexter (1838-1901) and Dr. Clarence T. Gardner (1844-1907) Little Compton, RI, c. 1885 Newport, Rhode Island, produced some of the best woodworkers the world has ever known, perhaps none more recognized than the cabinet makers John Goddard (1723-1785) and John Townsend (1732-1809). A century later, just a few miles across the bay at Sakonnet Point, the naturalists Dexter/Gardner produced Rhode Island's finest bird carvings. In the 1930s Frank D. Lisle (1871-1940) purchased the summer home of Dr. Clarence Gardner. The summer home was built in 1883 and perfectly located on the productive shores of Sakonnet Point, ideal for fishing and hunting. Soon after the purchase, Lisle discovered Dexter and Gardener's rig of shorebirds in an outbuilding on the property. Newton Dexter was an excellent taxidermist. While both gentlemen carved shorebirds, Dexter painted them as well. Information regarding this important rig was first published in Hal Sorenson's 1966-67 Decoy Collector's Guide. These exact dowitchers are prominently featured in the article written by Frank Lisle's sons, Lawrence and Richard. Measuring almost twelve inches long, these boldly carved shorebird decoys exhibit hollow, laminated three-piece, pegged-body construction. One bird has a turned head while the other displays a tucked head; both have carved raised wings and a superb dry original surface. They rank not only among the finest shorebird decoys ever to come on the market, but also, like the Nina Fletcher Little duo of Bunn-Bowman curlews, Crowell dust-jacket plovers, and Fred Nichols animated plover and yellowlegs, these iconic bird decoys represent the very best of American folk art.

Condition Report: Both are in fine original paint with minor gunning wear.

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Red Knot

Lot 43: Red Knot

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Description: An extremely rare red-breasted, or robin snipe, shorebird decoy displaying tack eyes, stipple-painted feathering along the back, knife carving, and a McCleery collection stamp on the underside. It is also marked on each side with stamped letters that appear to read "C A _ _ RDY," possibly for sportsman and early A. E. Crowell patron, Charles Ashley Hardy. This exact decoy was used as a model for Weiler and Mackey's "Classic Shorebird Decoys: A Portfolio of Paintings." The largest and brightest of the peeps, red knots rely heavily on consuming horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay during their migrations. Historically one of the smallest populations of shorebirds, red knot decoys are exceedingly rare. Lincoln carved very few birds of this species, and finding an example other than this one in any decoy publication is virtually impossible.

Condition Report: Fine original paint with light gunning wear.

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Black-Bellied Plover

Lot 44: Black-Bellied Plover

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Description: This decoy is distinctively animated with its skyward reaching head and graceful sweeping tail. Massachusetts, with its bountiful shorebird hunting grounds, produced a great number of shorebird decoy makers. Dozens of talented carvers were known to have worked within a hundred mile radius of Boston. Within that group, perhaps no other maker, save the master A. E. Crowell, is as well-known as Lincoln within collecting circles. During his lifetime Lincoln produced hundreds of plover decoys in several grades, perhaps none more bold and racy than this early plover. Measuring twelve and one-quarter inches in length, this decoy is the same size as Harry V. Long's Crowell dust-jacket plover and bears a striking resemblance. This singular oversized plover by this important Massachusetts maker is the only one of its type to have surfaced. This auction marks the first time that this decoy has been publicly offered for sale since 1973. The underside bears the Mackey Collection ink stamp.

Condition Report: Original paint with fine patina, even gunning wear, a minor tail chip, and worn stick hole.

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Milton C. Weiler (1910-1974)

Lot 45: Milton C. Weiler (1910-1974)

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Description: This painting was completed for Weiler and Mackey's "Classic Shorebird Decoys: A Portfolio of Paintings." The Lincoln red knot, lot 41, was used as a model for this watercolor.

Condition Report: signed "M. C. Weiler" lower right

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Dowitcher or Yellowlegs

Lot 46: Dowitcher or Yellowlegs

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Description: Dave "Umbrella" Watson (1851-1938) or Ira D. Hudson (1873-1949) Chincoteague, VA, c. 1910 This bird hails from both the William J. Mackey, Jr. and William H. Purnell, Jr. collections and bears their stamp and brand, respectively. Bill Purnell put together one of the greatest Southern decoy collections ever assembled. He owned a half dozen of the best Hudson-Watson shorebirds, describing this particular decoy as "the best" among that group. Made from mahogany, this Chincoteague Island shorebird decoy displays a feeding posture with deep V-cut wing definition. William J. Mackey, Jr. wrote in "Classic Shorebird Decoys: A Portfolio of Paintings": "So little is known about Watson and his work that one wonders how such famous gunners as Van Campen Heilner came to have the Gooseville Gun Club stocked with Watson's decoys. Of course, he was head and shoulders over all local competition. It is only within the last few years, however, that his shorebirds have been identified. The pert dowitcher shown was part of a little group found in Andy Dirksen's clam house, where they had gathered dust for many years. Andy had ordered them from Dave Watson, so the evidence was complete. Since that happy day, a few more pieces have turned up that can be attributed to him."

Condition Report: Original paint with even gunning wear, a chip missing from the point of bill insertion, and partial bill repair.

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Dowitcher or Yellowlegs

Lot 47: Dowitcher or Yellowlegs

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Description: Dave "Umbrella" Watson (1851-1938) or Ira D. Hudson (1873-1949) Chincoteague, VA, c. 1910 This bird is a rigmate to the previous lot and hails from both the William J. Mackey, Jr. and William H. Purnell, Jr. collections. It bears the Mackey Collection stamp on the underside. Made from mahogany, it exhibits rare one-piece construction and deep V-cut wing definition.

Condition Report: Original paint with gunning wear.

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Milton C. Weiler (1910-1974)

Lot 48: Milton C. Weiler (1910-1974)

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Description: An accomplished carver as well as painter, Weiler was a decoy collector and a national judge in decoy carving competitions. An outdoorsman and conservationist, he was devoted to trout and salmon fishing and waterfowl and upland gunning. His paintings are widely represented in private collections of sporting art across the country. This painting was completed for Weiler and Mackey's "Classic Shorebird Decoys: A Portfolio of Paintings."

Condition Report: signed "M. C. Weiler" lower center

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Curlew

Lot 49: Curlew

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Description: A three-piece, laminated, full-bodied shorebird decoy, displaying tack eyes, and two stick holes on the underside. This plump curlew measures almost four and one-half inches in width. It is one of the fattest curlew decoys to have surfaced from any region.

Condition Report: In old paint, worn to the wood in places with gunning wear, and an old replaced bill.

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Plover

Lot 50: Plover

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Description: Dave "Umbrella" Watson (1851-1938) or Ira D. Hudson (1873-1949) Chincoteague, VA, c. 1900 A plump shorebird decoy displaying scratch feather detail and a distinct central ridge along the top of the tail. The ridge treatment and paddle tail carving are nearly identical to that of lots 47 and 48, but without the raised wings. It also bears the Mackey Collection stamp on the underside.

Condition Report: Original paint with gunning wear, a tight age crack on one side, and restoration to lower half of the bill.

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