A rare hollow black bellied plover will highlight the second day of Guyette & Deeter's July Decoy Auction in Maryland tomorrow with a $90,000-100,000 estimate.
The lot was built by an unknown maker and dates to the late 19th century. Unusually, the head is detachable, presumably allowing for different models to be fitted.
Little is known about the piece, but its superb construction and beautifully patinated paint make it hugely desirable. Previously it was held in the collection of major enthusiast Joe French.
A presentation black duck by Shang Wheeler (1872-1949) is estimated at $65,000-85,000.
Wheeler's work ethic was legendary - over the course of his life he produced one of every species of bird inhabiting the east coast of the US.
He carved primarily for his own enjoyment and gave the majority of his work to friends and admirers. His output included both hunting and presentation decoys, the latter of which feature exquisite paintwork.
The bottom of the duck is inscribed "To Eugene V Connett, with my compliments. It's wide and flat as Doctor Burke would like it, with a lifelike pose as Lynn Hunt would like it, painted something like a Black Duck as I would like it and a bit oversize so you will like it. I hope you do, Shang."
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