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An Early Pair of Red-Breasted Merganser Decoys by Marty Collins, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, circa Early 1990s. Here is one of the Classic Pair of Sleek Solid-Bodied Mergansers with Leather Crests and Detailed Bill Carving that Marty produced in the Early 1990s. The Decoys display Excellent Original Paint with a Good Deal of “Soft” Feathering to Enhance the Realism of the Decoys without turning them into decoratives. The Brass Tags nailed to the Bottom of these Decoys are an early ID form that Marty used and are Stamped: “Martin D. Collins / Decoy Maker / E. Wareham MA 02538”; Marty has since moved to Bridgewater; this Pair was also Originally Signed “Martin D. Collins” in ink. They are now Rigged for use as gunning decoys and Branded: “M. D. Collins.” They are in Very Good Condition with Very Minor Wear. Measurements: approximately 20” in length, 5 ½” in width, and 6 ½” in height; the Drake is slightly larger than the Hen. Nice Pair of Early Collins’ Mergansers.
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Price $875 plus shipping
Wonderful Pair of Red-Breasted Mergansers by Byron E. Bruffee (1942-2013), Middleboro, Massachusetts, circa Early 2000s. Byron was well-known among the New England Decoy Community for both his work as a Decoy Carver and an Early Restorer. Moreover, a number of highly skilled younger carvers were greatly influenced by his work, including Marty Collins and both Bryon’s sons, Byron N. and Dan. This particular pair of Mergansers was made for me approximately 6 years before his death. I originally met the family on the decoy circuit on an individual basis and became good friends with young Byron and, as I called his Dad, “old man Bruffee.” These Mergansers display the Skill of Carving, especially the Bill, Crest, and Tail, the Fine Form, and the Detailed Original Paint that the old man could accomplish. Measurements: 19” in length, 6” in width, and 8” in height. Each is stamped under the tail “Byron E. Bruffee”. They are in Excellent Original condition with the Drake show a minor line of shrinkage where the neck attaches to the body. An Excellent Pair of Byron E. Bruffee Mergansers.
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Price $795 plus shipping
Wonderful High Head Bluebill Hen Decoy with a Slightly Turned Head by Stanley Livingston “Stan” Woodman (1886 – 1949), Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada, circa 1940. Woodman’s “high head” form was influenced by George Coomb’s “Alex Bay Long-Neck” carving style; hence, all Woodman’s later decoys display the Coomb’s influence. In addition, Livingston was quite busy as a carver and guide, so he often had the Nichol family paint his decoys. His late decoys all display Davey Nichol’s Paint, as does this Bluebill Hen with it Original Paint and Quality Combing Technique. (See Stewart & Lunman’s Decoys of the Thousand Islands.) This Decoy also displays some Typical Gunning Wear with both Some Paint Lose and Shot Marks. Measurements: 15” in length, 6” in width, and 8 ½” in height. An Excellent Example of Woodman’s Decoys from Wolfe Island.
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Early Canvasback Drake Decoy by John B. Graham (1832 – 1912) Charlestown, Cecil County, Maryland, circa 1860s – 1870s. The Form of this Canvasback, including the Head Shelf, Tail and Head Shape help to identify the age of the bird. (See especially C. John Sullivan, Jr.’s “The Grahams of Charleston,” Decoy Magazine, July/August 1997.) The measurements of the Decoy closely approximate those identified by J. Evans McKinney’s discussion of Graham in Decoys of the Susquehanna Flats and Their Makers. The Decoy is in “As Found” Condition with numerous layers of Working Repaint, Typical Gunning Wear, and an Apparent Working Neck Repair to a Break in the Neck. The Decoy comes from one of Graham’s Early Rigs and is Branded Twice: “J. B. Graham” on the Bottom (the over paint on the brands has been cleaned at some point). This Canvasback Decoy is a Classic Example of the Cecil County Style by One of Its Most Important Makers.
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