Published: July 28, 2017
PLYMOUTH, MASS. — Records tumbled at Copley Fine Art’s July 27 auction of sporting art and wildfowl decoys gathered by the late sportsman, naturalist and connoisseur Donal C. O’Brien Jr. “It was the first ‘white glove’ sale in our company’s history,” Copley chairman and chief executive officer Stephen B. O’Brien Jr, said of the 156-lot session that was 100 percent sold and grossed $3.48 million.
Leading the O’Brien slew was a wood duck, pictured, by Thomas Chambers (1860–1948). It brought $270,000 including premium, a record for the carver and for any Canadian maker. A pintail drake by John English (1848–1915) went for $246,000, also a benchmark for the maker and for any Delaware River decoy. A Canada goose by Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler (1872–1949) achieved $198,000, a record for the carver and for the Connecticut region.
Copley continued with property from various owners on July 28, bringing the two-day tally to $4.7 million. The firm called its 2017 Sporting Sale the most successful decoy auction of all time, achieving an average lot price of more than $27,000 per decoy, almost double the average price per decoy in the 2000 sale of the collection of Dr James M. McCleery.
Watch for a complete report in an upcoming issue.
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