Loading Spinner

Decoys

From ducks and geese to trout and frogs, vintage decoys have become valuable relics of early American fishing and hunting. Decoys were used not only in the commercial supply of fish and game to restaurants, but also for the personal need of feeding one's family.

The earliest decoys were made by Native Americans over a thousand years ago, with grasses, plants, and bones used as building materials. As settlers came to North America in the 19th century and began to fish and hunt, they generated a great demand for decoys, sparking a new industry of wood carvers and crafters that would cater to them. Of all bird decoys created, duck decoys were the most commonly made, however it wasn’t unusual to produce other species, such as geese, turkeys, swans, grouse, partridge, and pigeons. Winter spearfishing in the northern climates also created a demand for fish decoys, and these were used widely until many jurisdictions banned spearfishing in the 20th century.

Values of decoys today depend largely on several factors: rarity, condition, and form. For example, an unused, handmade decoy from a famed carver will often be worth more than a used, factory-made decoy. Of course, competitive bidding can always change that.


Quick Facts

  • A number of companies produced wooden duck decoys in the late 19th and 20th centuries including Dodge, Reynolds, Peterson, and Mason
  • A rare swan decoy made by Charles Birch sold for $186,500 in a 2011 Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. auction. This was an auction record for the carver’s pieces
  • Until the Migratory Bird Act was passed in 1918, shorebirds were commonly hunted for food and sport. Plovers, snowy egrets, yellowlegs, and flatties are a few of the shorebird types made into decoys

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

3 vintage wooden hunting decoys
Nov 19, 4:00 PM EST
3 vintage wooden hunting decoys
by Horst Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$656 Bids
(2pc) Carved Wood Duck Decoys
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
(2pc) Carved Wood Duck Decoys
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$405 Bids
A large carved and painted wooden Canada Goose decoy. 12 1/4
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
A large carved and painted wooden Canada Goose decoy. 12 1/4
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $80- $120
$703 Bids
A Dale Davies carved wood model of a Kokanee salmon as a wood stand, 14 in. l. (35.6 cm)
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
A Dale Davies carved wood model of a Kokanee salmon as a wood stand, 14 in. l. (35.6 cm)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $100- $150
$902 Bids
Early Trout Fishing Decoy
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
Early Trout Fishing Decoy
by Caza Sikes
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
2 antique working decoys
Nov 20, 9:00 AM EST
2 antique working decoys
by Horst Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$301 Bid
bp parity badge
LONG ISLAND MERGANSER HEN DECOY Early 20th Century Length 15.5”.
Nov 18, 9:30 AM EST
LONG ISLAND MERGANSER HEN DECOY Early 20th Century Length 15.5”.
by Eldred's
Est: $900- $1,200
$4501 Bid
Rare pair of Canada goose andirons, 1st quarter 20th century.
Nov 10, 11:00 AM EST
Rare pair of Canada goose andirons, 1st quarter 20th century.
by Guyette & Deeter
Est: $500- $800
$2501 Bid
Robin snipe in fall plumage, Mason Decoy Factory, Detroit, Michigan, circa 1900.
Nov 10, 11:00 AM EST
Robin snipe in fall plumage, Mason Decoy Factory, Detroit, Michigan, circa 1900.
by Guyette & Deeter
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
Curlew, Mason Decoy Factory, Detroit, Michigan, circa 1900.
Nov 10, 11:00 AM EST
Curlew, Mason Decoy Factory, Detroit, Michigan, circa 1900.
by Guyette & Deeter
Est: $5,000- $7,000
$2,5001 Bid
Wooden fish decoy
Nov 13, 9:30 AM EST
Wooden fish decoy
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Set of 6 NOS J.C. Higgins Life-Like duck decoys
Nov 13, 9:30 AM EST
Set of 6 NOS J.C. Higgins Life-Like duck decoys
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
A Ken Kirby carved and painted Raven, 16 in. (40.6 cm) h.; 17 1/4 in. (43.8 cm) h.
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
A Ken Kirby carved and painted Raven, 16 in. (40.6 cm) h.; 17 1/4 in. (43.8 cm) h.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $125- $175
$801 Bid
Two Ken Kirby carved and painted shore birds, 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm); 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm)
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
Two Ken Kirby carved and painted shore birds, 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm); 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $100- $150
$701 Bid
Three Ken Kirby carved and painted wood shore birds, 7 1/2 - 8 in. (19.1 - 20.3 cm) h.
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
Three Ken Kirby carved and painted wood shore birds, 7 1/2 - 8 in. (19.1 - 20.3 cm) h.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $60- $90
$401 Bid
Two Ken Kirby carved and painted Morning Doves. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 x cm); 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm) h.
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
Two Ken Kirby carved and painted Morning Doves. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 x cm); 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm) h.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $60- $80
$401 Bid
Two vintage carved and painted duck decoys, 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm); 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm) h.
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
Two vintage carved and painted duck decoys, 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm); 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm) h.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $100- $150
$701 Bid
Canada Goose wooden decoy. 8 3/4 x 22 x 9 1/4 in. (22.2 x 55.9 x 23.5 cm)
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
Canada Goose wooden decoy. 8 3/4 x 22 x 9 1/4 in. (22.2 x 55.9 x 23.5 cm)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $75- $100
$501 Bid
A stuffed mallard.
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
A stuffed mallard.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $100- $150
$701 Bid
A stuffed pheasant.
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
A stuffed pheasant.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $80- $120
$501 Bid
A carved wood decoy, 6 x 13 x 4 1/4 in. (15 x 33 x 11 cm); 6 3/4 x 14 x 6 in. (17 x 35.5 x 15 cm)
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
A carved wood decoy, 6 x 13 x 4 1/4 in. (15 x 33 x 11 cm); 6 3/4 x 14 x 6 in. (17 x 35.5 x 15 cm)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $100- $150
$701 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Decoys


Guyette & Deeter

Guyette & Deeter

Maynards Fine Art & Antiques

Maynards Fine Art & Antiques

Eldred's

Eldred's

Atlee Raber Auctioneer

Atlee Raber Auctioneer