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Shorebird Decoys

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Nicely Carved and Painted Peep Shorebird Decoy by an Unknown Maker from Massachusetts, circa 1880 – 1900. This Little Decoy is about Two-Thirds the Size of a Lesser Yellowlegs and was undoubtedly Used by Hunters in a Rig shooting Large Flocks of these Little Birds to make a dinner of “Peep Pie”. The Decoy has the Strong Characteristics of Massachusetts Shorebirds with Bold Chest Carving, Rounded Head and Narrowing Cheeks leading to the Bill, and the Classic Split Tail. Especially interesting are the Wax Eyes of this Peep, a sign of an early carver without access to glass eyes. The Bill is probably a Later Replacement but indicative of Little Peeps out on the Flats. The Original Paint Pattern displays both an Emphasis on a Basic Shorebird Form, Dark Brown and Dingy White, and a Blend of Detailed Feathering. The Darker Brown shows the Effects of Age in the Loss of Paint. Other Elements of Age and Use indicate Minor Shot Marks and Some Dents to the Lower Breast. The Peep measures 7” in length, 1 ¾” in width, and 4” in height (10 ½” including the stand). A Classic Early Example of a “Peep” Shorebird Decoy.

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Very Appealing Greater Yellowlegs Shorebird Decoy by an Unknown Maker identified as from Somers Point, New Jersey, circa 1890, on pg. 96 in Levinson & Headley’s Shorebirds. Some members of the Long Island Decoy Collectors Association have indicated that Robert Staniford, owner of Wildfowler at Quogue, Long Island, found 2 of these decoys at the Thorne Boathouse in North Hampton, suggesting they are Long Island decoys. Whatever the origin, this shorebird does have a Strong New Jersey Form, displays Excellent Original Paint, has Carved Eyes circled in a Worn Yellow, and an Iron Bill that may or may not be original. There is a Chip out of the back where the stick hole drove through the wood, partially covered by a dowell. The Decoy was in the Levinson Collection and was therefore incorporated into the book on shorebirds. As a Greater Yellowlegs, it measures 13” in length, 2 ¾” in width, and 12” in height, including the stand. A Very Appealing Shorebird Decoy.

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Price $1350 plus shipping


Early Red Knot Shorebird Decoy by Eugene Cuffee (1866 – 1941), Shinnecock Reservation, Long Island, New York, circa 1890 – 1920. This particular shorebird reflects both the basic field marks of a Red Knot Shorebird and the Native American Paint Pattern associated with Eugene Cuffee’s historical work. Cuffee carved over a long period of time, creating everything from Large Curlews with Whale Bone Bills to Little Peep Decoys. Eventually a good deal of his work was obtained by antique dealers, probably associated with an Art Colony across from the reservation, who created bookends and lamps with his decoys to sell in New York City. This Red Knot Decoy displays an Antique Whale Bone Bill, a common material on the reservation as a consequence of Shinnecocks working on whaling ships out of Sag Harbor, Considerable Age with Strong Original Paint, Carved Eyes, and Cuffee’s Typical Raised Primaries. There is a small chip off one wing and “in the making” filler to a defect in the wood on one side (see photographs). The Paint Pattern on the decoy is very typical of Cuffee’s work, and the Solid Wood Body is one source of identification.  Measurements: 11” in length, 2 ½” in width, 11 ¼” in height, including the stand. A Wonderful Early Native American Shorebird Decoy from the Shinnecock Reservation.

(DX406)  Click on Photo for larger images. Contact us for additional information. 

Price $2950 plus shipping

Early Black-bellied Plover Shorebird Decoy by an Unknown Maker from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, circa 1880s – 1900. This Fine Shorebird Decoy which has seen use in the field, displays Strong Original Paint with Wear to the Wood in some places. The Whiteish Paint appears to have been put on rather thinly with no primer; whereas, the Black Paint was placed much more heavily, though both areas show wear. The Decoy is Quite Full-bodied and rather heavy compared to the majority of Shorebirds. A reasonable guess suggests that the bird was made from Mahogany or Walnut, most likely Mahogany. The Decoy is nicely carved down to a Pointed Tail and Each Side of the Tail is Incised to Suggest Primary Wing Separation. The Bill was Dowelled into the Front Head and Held in Place with a Dowell through the Top of the Head. After the Bill was carved down, apparently chip carved, it was split in use and reattached. That Split has been professionally restored and retouched. The photographs should help clarify the description. Measurements: 11” in length, 3” in width, and 13 ½” in height, including the stand. A Fine Cape Cod Black-bellied Plover Decoy.

(DX388)  Click on Photo for larger images. Contact us for additional information.

Price $1375 plus shipping


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