PLYMOUTH, MASS. — It is the season for high-flying birds of the antique and vintage carved variety, with a couple of sales that took place over the weekend of July 25–26 proving that decoys continue to deliver strong results in the market.
The decoy portion of Copley Fine Art Auctions’ summer sporting sale at the Radisson Hotel was headlined by Maine carver Augustus Aaron “Gus” Wilson’s (1864–1950) red-breasted merganser drake with open bill. Decoys at Copley crossed the block on Friday, and the merganser drake took top billing, taking a bid of $330,000, including premium. The Wilson decoy was eclipsed in Copley’s weekend results only by the firm’s cover lot — Frank W. Benson’s (1862–1951) “Redheads in Flight,” 1916, which brought $360,000 with premium.
The annual summer decoy sale conducted by Decoys Unlimited was led by a widgeon drake by Joseph Whiting Lincoln (1859–1938) that took $97,750, with premium.
Next up was Guyette & Deeter’s North American decoys at auction, July 29–30. We will report on that as well as provide full results for the Copley and Decoys Unlimited auctions in an upcoming issue.