Hissing Canada goose decoy by Joseph W. Lincoln hits $299,000 at Decoys Unlimited's July 22 auction A classic carving of a hissing Canada goose by the esteemed carver Joseph W. Lincoln (Hingham, Mass., 1859-1938) soared to a new record price of $299,000 at a Summer Decoy Auction held July 22nd.
News-Antique.com - Aug 06,2016 - HYANNIS, Mass. – A classic carving of a hissing Canada goose by the esteemed carver Joseph W. Lincoln (Hingham, Mass., 1859-1938) soared to a new record price of $299,000 at a Summer Decoy Auction held July 22nd by Decoys Unlimited, Inc., at the Cape Codder Resort and Hotel in Hyannis (on Cape Cod). The auction was held in conjunction with a show for decoy enthusiasts.
The hissing goose boasted superb, dry, original paint and was in impeccable condition, showing off Lincoln’s best painted feather detail. The serpentine neck terminated in an expertly crafted head. The $299,000 was the most ever paid for a Lincoln decoy at auction, and the highest price paid for any decoy at auction so far in 2016. It was also easily the top achiever in the Decoys Unlimited, Inc. auction that saw more than 650 lots come up for bid and grossed about $860,000.
“I was very pleased with the results of this sale, which did better in all areas than our summer 2015 sale, and it just confirmed what I’ve known for some time – that the market is super strong for decoys at all levels,” said Ted Harmon of Decoys Unlimited, Inc., based in West Barnstable, Mass. “Decoys selling for $1,000, $10,000, $75,000 and up are all in demand among collectors.”
Harmon said the top-tier birds – those selling for more than $10,000 – are the ones that have the easiest time attracting buyers. “The numbers of collectors is not dwindling, it’s on the rise,” he said, “and those at the high end, the people with the most money to spend, are eager to purchase what they like because they’re not just collectors, they’re businesspeople, making investments.”
About 300 people attended the auction in person (with some of those people free-flowing back and forth between the auction and the adjacent show), while another 600 or so registered to bid online, via Invaluable.com. There were also an estimated combined 300 phone and absentee (or left) bidders. “I’m not kidding when I say this could have easily been a $2 million auction, if I’d had more high-end decoys to offer,” Harmon said. “That’s how strong the top of the market is.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Other decoys carved by Joseph W. Lincoln included a rare wigeon hen made desirable by the detailed individual painted feather detail on the breast and back, not typical of Lincoln’s work ($10,350); a “sporting grade” yellowlegs, made circa 1900, in near-mint condition, with the original paint ($6,612); and a colorful, scarce example of a miniature shoveler drake ($2,300).
While Lincoln’s hissing goose may have grabbed all the attention and headlines, the rest of the list of top lots was dominated by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952), the master decoy carver from East Harwich, Mass. Crowell specialized in shorebirds, waterfowl and miniatures and his decoys are widely regarded as the finest and most desirable ever made. They also bring the most