Published: May 2, 2017
ST CHARLES, ILL. – Exceedingly rare, a rigmate pair of hollow carved pintails by Canadian carver Ivar Fernlund (1881-1933) was the star lot at Guyette & Deeter’s April 27-28 auction at the Pheasant Run Resort. Conducted in conjunction with the North American Vintage Decoy & Sporting Collectibles Show, the largest of its kind in North America, this year’s sale grossed approximately $2.2 million, according to Gary Guyette.
Realizing $201,250, including buyer’s premium, the pair was made by the Hamilton, Ontario, carver in the first quarter of the Twentieth Century. Both birds have raised necks, with the drake exhibiting a long forked tail and slightly turned head, while the hen has a shorter inserted tail. The auction house wrote in its catalog listing for the lot, “Some seasoned collectors believe this pintail pair is the finest pair of Canadian decoys known.”
They came out of the Peter Brown collection, and are believed to be the only pair known. According to catalog notes, Guyette and Schmidt sold the rigmate drake in July 2007.
Brown, a Vancouver, British Columbia, businessman, amassed a remarkable collection beginning in the 1980s, and, now at 75, has begun divesting his decades-long pursuit. Last year, he donated 1,000 antique duck, geese and shorebird decoys, appraised at $1.5 million, to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), which in turn offered the majority of the collection to the public by Guyette & Deeter, with net proceeds going back to DUC.
The Brown collection will be further sold in upcoming Guyette & Deeter auctions, as well as the firm’s weekly online auctions.
At the firm’s annual St Charles auction, buyers had an opportunity to choose from just under 600 lots of decoys and related items, including duck calls, sporting art and fish decoys. As the Canadian dollar hit fresh lows against its US counterpart – even as the sale was being conducted, according to Guyette – Canadian bidders were in the catbird seat throughout.
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