Harry V Shourds merganser drake realises $85,000

A rare and important merganser drake decoy by Harry V Shourds from the early 1900s made $85,000 at Guyette, Schmidt and Deeter on November 6.

The decoy duck features its original paint, with only minor discoloration and wear.

Shourds (1861-1920) is the best known of the New Jersey carvers, and is credited with popularising the Tuckerton style - defined by a rounded body with a distinct tail placed in the middle of the body as a non-carved section.

merganser decoy Shourds
Shourds is one of the most important carvers of the 20th century

Shourds decoys routinely achieve considerable prices at auction. In 2012, a pair of hissing Canada geese made $175,000 at Copley Fine Art Auctions.

A one of a kind hooded merganser drake by the Ward brothers, circa 1936, made $80,000.

Among the most respected decoy manufacturers, the brothers lived and worked in Crisfield, Maryland.

They produced between 27,000 and 50,000 birds in all, using the trademark LT Ward and Bro.

The drake is in good condition and features only minor wear. The paint retains its lustre although the "jesso", the term for the join between the neck and body, is chipped.

Decoys by the Ward brothers have realised significant figures at auction previously, with a preening elder drake, circa 1900, selling for $150,000 earlier this year.

The sale was the first half of the Fall Season Auction, which will conclude later today with the sale of a cigar store Indian attributed to Samuel Robb or Thomas Brooks. It carries an estimate of $125,000-250,000.

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