A preening bluewing teal pair by the Ward brothers stole the show at Guyette & Deeter's February 14 auction of duck decoys in Maryland.
The exceptional lot realised $16,000.
The Ward brothers began producing the elaborate and startlingly lifelike birds during downtime at their barbershop in the sleepy coastal town of Crisfield, Maryland during the early 1900s.
Slowly an industry began to grow up around them, with hunting clubs opening nearby, and the brothers moved into supplying the trade full time.
Today they are recognised as masters of their craft and their work can achieve impressive sums at auction. In 2006, a golden eye drake sold for $109,250.
A working Widgeon hen by Elmer Crowell sold for $10,000 at the present auction - an increase of 24% on a $2,000 estimate.
Crowell worked out of East Harwich, Massachusetts and is widely regarded as one of the greatest decoy carvers to have ever lived. His pieces were groundbreaking in their blend of form and function.
The record for a decoy stands at $1.1m - a figure shared by a preening pintail drake and a Canadian goose (both by Crowell).
The sale included pieces from other well-known makers, including Ned Burgess and the Mason Decoy Factory.
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