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Preening black duck with raised wing tips by A.E. Crowell of East Harwich, Massachusetts (est. $240,000/360,000) sold to a New England dealer for $210,000, the top price in the auction.

Crowell preening black duck takes top honors
at Copley's annual "Sporting Sale"

A preening blackduck with raised and crossed wingtips by A.E. Crowell of East Harwich, Massachusetts sold under estimate to a New England dealer for a single bid of $210,000 at Copley’s annual “Sporting Sale” on July 25, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was the top lot in an auction that had strong contributions from both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

There were five more lots by Crowell on the top 25 list, including two full-sized decoratives: a running black-bellied plover well over estimate at $78,000 and a semi-palmated plover within estimate at $21,600. Two of Elmer’s hunting decoys, a running yellowlegs and a Canada goose, brought $27,600 and $9200, the latter just short of estimate. And a miniature preening pintail
sold big, nearly doubling the estimate at $28,800. All sold to phone bidders.

Five decoys from Virginia made the top 25 list, including two by Nathan Cobb Jr. of Cobb Island, a hollow-carved brant and a curlew that sold below estimate for $52,800 apiece to a Southern collector after the auction. A Cobb black-bellied plover made its low estimate $14,400. A pintail with exceptional paint patterns by Ira Hudson of Chincoteague more than doubled its estimate to a phone bidder at $38,400. A Hudson hissing Canada goose sold to a Cape Cod collector for its high estimate $21,600.

A running sickle-billed curlew by an unknown Massachusetts maker, a favorite of its former owner, noted folk art collector Adele Earnest, sold to a phone bidder for exactly double its estimate at $36,000. A hollowcarved golden plover with raised and split wing tips by an unknown Nantucket craftsman also sold to the phone within estimate at $13,200. An outstanding hollow-carved black duck by Charles Hart of Gloucester brought double its estimate, selling to a Cape Cod collector for $12,000.

A group of hollow-carved Canada geese from the rig of T. Gray have intrigued collectors for years, with many attributing their origin to Massachusetts while others believe they were made and used on the Delaware River. A turned head example sold at this auction to a phone bidder for a bargain $20,400, less than half the price realized when last sold at auction in 2002.

Top 25 lots at Copley sale

Read the complete story in the July/August 2015 issue - order this issue now or subscribe to Decoy Magazine.