Finest Decoys On Offer at Copley Fine Art Auctions, July 22 and 23 Copley Fine Art Auctions will offer over 400 lots of the finest quality antique decoys on July 23 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Go to www.copleyart.com for more information.
News-Antique.com - Jul 07,2010 - Copley Fine Art Auctions will conduct its fifth annual summer auction of sporting art, decoys, fishing collectibles and other related folk art on July 22nd and 23rd in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Last year’s auction grossed over $4.1 million, and the 2010 sale aims to build on Copley’s fine tradition of achievement. Copley has assembled an outstanding selection of decoys that will be on offer the second day of the sale, July 23rd. Session Two will start off with the Theodore Cross Collection of A. Elmer Crowell Bird Carvings. Cross was the author of two impressive books of bird photography titled "Birds of the Seashore and Tundra" (1989) and "Waterbirds" (2009), and this group of nineteen miniatures and life-size decoratives by famed maker Crowell includes the curlew from the famous 1927 photograph of the artist seated at his work bench. Other important carvings by A.E. Crowell on offer include an exceptional red-breasted merganser pair ($30/60,000), and an early flying common tern, c. 1900 ($20/30,000).
Other important Massachusetts decoys include shorebirds by Fred Nichols, c. 1880 ($35/55,000) and Tom Wilson, c. 1890 ($10/20,000), a pair of museum quality golden plover by Melvin Gardner Lawrence ($30/60,000), and a rare two-piece brant by Joseph Lincoln ($10/20,000). Important decoys of Virginia are highlighted by a flying pintail drake by Ira Hudson ($30/40,000) that was purchased directly from the maker in 1940 for seven dollars. Two Virginia curlews out of the distinguished collection of Donal C. O’Brien will cross the block, one by Nathan Cobb, Jr., c. 1870 ($20/40,000), and the other a reaching curlew by Capt. John Haff, c. 1890, ($30/50,000). The two curlew have impeccable provenance and were acquired from noted decoy collector and author of American Bird Decoys William J. Mackey, Jr. in the 1960s.
Several superb decoys by Maryland’s most famous makers, the Ward brothers, include an early canvasback drake, c. 1929 ($20/40,000) out of the Dr. Morton D. Kramer Collection. Also out of this collection is an outstanding preening Canada goose, which along with the Ward Museum’s logo bird is considered one of Lem Ward’s crowning achievements ($30/50,000). Also available by the Wards are a mallard pair, c. 1930 ($30/50,000), a brant , c. 1965 ($8/12,000), and a decorative canvasback pair, c. 1973 ($15/25,000), among others.
Decoys from the Delaware River set to cross the block include an exceedingly rare hollow bufflehead drake by John Blair, Jr. (1881-1952), of Philadelphia, PA, c. 1910 ($30/50,000) along with a black duck by John Blair (1842-1928), Philadelphia, PA, c. 1880 ($30/60,000). Exemplary offerings from New Jersey include a bufflehead pair by Harry V. Shourds (1861-1920), Tuckerton, NJ, c. 1910 ($60/90,000) and a black duck by John English (1852-1915), Florence, NJ, c. 1880 ($35/45,000). A strong grouping of factory decoys include two superb curlews made by the Mason Decoy Factory (both $16/22,000), along with several dozen additional Mason and Dodge factory duck and shorebird decoys. Building on last year’s record-breaking successes, another fine grouping of carvings by contemporary decoy maker Mark McNair will be on offer.