Dexter-Gardner dowitcher decoys estimated to make $300,000

A pair of dowitcher decoys by Dexter and Gardner are to auction with an estimate of $200,000-300,000 at Copley Fine Art Auctions in South Carolina on February 13.

Newton Dexter (1841-1901) and Dr Clarnece Tripp Gardner (1844-1907), from Rhode Island, are regarded as among the finest carvers of duck decoys in the US.

The circa 1885 hollow-bodied dowitchers, in near original condition, are among their most successful realisations.

dowitcher pair Dexter Gardner
The dowitcher pair were produced by Dexter and Gardner circa 1885

They featured in the sale of the Dr James M McCleery collection at Sotheby's in 2000 where they achieved $101,500.

Gardner was a renowned physician based in Maine, while Dexter was a naturalist for the Smithsonian who accompanied Louis Agassiz on an 1896 trip to the Amazon, as well as living for a time in the American West where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull.

They worked predominantly in Gardner's holiday home on Sakonett Point, where they also produced taxidermies of the birds they shot.

A red breasted merganser drake by George Boyd (1873-1941) of Seabrook, New Haven is valued at $100,000-150,000.

It also featured in the McCleery sale in 2000, where it made $87,500.

It dates to around 1910 and features a superbly realised head, set with glass eyes along with the original paint, which features only light wear.

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