Bufflehead drake decoy by A.E. Crowell could fetch $125,000-$175,000 at Decoys Unlimited, July 28-29 Early 20th century decoys by the renowned carver A. E. Crowell, plus other highly collectible decoys, will all come up for bid at a Summer Decoy Auction slated for July 28-29 by Decoys Unlimited, Inc.
just a few tiny shot strikes. The original bill is completely and miraculously intact. The other is a dowitcher that Crowell posed so it appears to be gazing slightly upward. It also boasts a split tail with raised wingtips, excellent original paint and a completely intact bill.
One other Crowell decoy worthy of mention is a superb, early 1900s life-size woodcock (est. $25,000-$35,000). Purchased directly from the master carver himself (and signed on the base “A.E. Crowell – Cape Cod”), the decoy features dropped wingtips and a perky, upswept tail. It boasts original, thickly applied and blended paint, with wonderful painted feather detail.
An example of decoy folk art at its finest will come in the form of a pair of pintails by Lloyd Sterling (each est. $27,500-$32,000). The first is a hen pintail, quite possibly the only known pintail hen of the period by Sterling. The bird has had some restoration work done, to a thin crack in the back, the very tip of the tail, a small chip in the bill and the left base of the neck.
The second is a drake, in crackled, all-original paint (like the hen), showing light overall wear that is comparable, too, to the hen’s. There are a few rubs to the age-darkened wood, most notably on the right breast. There is a tight, T-shaped crack on the back, with a small crack on the bottom and on the neck. Also, a tiny chip was reset years ago on the left edge of the tail.
Also sold will be an excellent antique carving of a sperm whale made from the pan bone, or spoon-like rear portion of the sperm whale’s jaw, the most prized part of the whale (after the teeth) to whalemen (est. $2,500-$3,500). The 29-inch carving is mounted on a newer backboard. It hung for years at the Moby Dick Restaurant (now called The Black Eddy) in Westport, Mass.
Start times will be 11 a.m. (EDT) on Sunday, July 28, and 10 a.m. on Monday, July 29. Previews will be held on Saturday, July 27, from 6-9 p.m.; Sunday, July 28, from 9-11 a.m.; and Monday, July 29, from 8-10 a.m. About 300 lots will be sold July 28; the rest will be sold July 29. Internet bidding will be provided by Artfact.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be taken. Also, there will be a dealer and collector “overflow” sale right after Sunday's main sale, at 4 p.m.
The Cape Codder Resort and Hotel is located at 1225 Iyannough Road in Hyannis, Mass., on Cape Cod. The website is www.capecodderresort.com. To reserve a room, you may call (855) 861-4370. Decoys Unlimited has been conducting its Summer Decoy Auctions every July at the Cape Codder Resort and Hotel for several years. Other hotel accommodations are also close by.
Decoys Unlimited, Inc., is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (508) 362-2766; or, you can e-mail