Antique duck decoys are not only beautiful works of art but also valuable collectibles for many enthusiasts. However, identifying the most wanted antique duck decoys can be a daunting task for many collectors. This guide will help you identify the most popular antique duck decoys and what makes them valuable.
What is an Antique Duck Decoy?
An antique duck decoy is a life-sized or smaller model of a duck, usually made of wood and painted to resemble a real duck. Duck decoys were first used by Native Americans to lure waterfowl for hunting purposes. Later on, decoys were also used by European settlers in North America.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, duck hunting became increasingly popular, and decoys were used by hunters to attract and shoot ducks. As the demand for duck decoys grew, many skilled carvers began creating decoys as a form of art.
Identifying Antique Duck Decoys
The most important factors to consider when identifying antique duck decoys are the maker, the condition, and the rarity of the decoy.
The most valuable antique duck decoys were typically made by well-known carvers, such as Elmer Crowell, Charles Perdew, and A. E. Crowell. These carvers created decoys that were not only functional but also beautiful works of art.
Each carver had their own unique style, which can help you identify the maker of a decoy. Some carvers even signed their decoys, which can make identification easier.
The condition of an antique duck decoy can greatly affect its value. Decoys that are in excellent condition with no cracks, chips, or repairs can command high prices at auction. On the other hand, decoys that are in poor condition may have limited value, even if they were made by a well-known carver.
The rarity of an antique duck decoy can also greatly affect its value. Decoys that were only produced in limited quantities or are one-of-a-kind can be worth a significant amount of money. Additionally, decoys that were used by well-known hunters or have a documented history can also be more valuable.
Most Wanted Antique Duck Decoys
- Mason Decoys
Mason Decoys, produced by the Mason Decoy Factory in Detroit, Michigan, are some of the most sought-after antique duck decoys. The factory was in operation from the late 1800s until the 1920s and produced a wide variety of decoys.
Some of the most valuable Mason Decoys are the Premier Grade Mallards and the Challenge Grade Mallards. These decoys were produced in limited quantities and are highly sought after by collectors.
- Ward Brothers Decoys
The Ward Brothers, Lem and Steve, were skilled carvers who created some of the most beautiful and sought-after antique duck decoys. They operated a decoy shop in Crisfield, Maryland, from the 1920s until the 1960s.
Some of the most valuable Ward Brothers Decoys are the Pintails and the Redheads. These decoys are highly detailed and were produced in limited quantities, making them highly sought after by collectors.
- Crowell Decoys
Elmer Crowell is considered one of the greatest carvers of antique duck decoys. He operated a shop in East Harwich, Massachusetts, from the late 1800s until his death in 1952. Crowell’s decoys are highly detailed and realistic, making them highly sought after by collectors.
Some of the most valuable Crowell Decoys are the Black Ducks and the Canada Geese. These deco