Oliver Lawson swan decoy brings $14,000 estimate to John Maddox auction

An Oliver Lawson-made swan decoy with an estimate of $14,000 is among a set of unique duck decoys coming to auction. 

Amassed by the late John Maddox - founder of the Chincoteague Refuge Museum - the collection is set to auction through Guyette, Schmidt and Deeter at the Virginia museum on September 21-22.

Oliver Lawson, a master carver of waterfowl, made the full-size swan in 1986. In previous years, smaller Lawson pieces have brought up to $3,000 - the price paid for a blue goose decoy in 2005. 

Also selling is a $4,500-estimated unique display of 12 dowitchers arranged on a stone base, and a rare horse drawn carriage circa 1900, which includes gun boxes and leather seats.

Swan Decoy Maddox
The swan decoy is described as being in good condition

The Maddox collection is among the finest decoy collections in the US and is comprised of over 5,000 pieces, 297 of which are available at the auction.

Steven Lloyd, a historical duck decoy collector and researcher, told HamptonRoads, a Virginian news site: "It's absolutely magnificent and unique. It's obviously a lifetime of passion." According to the publication, the collection could bring up to $750,000.

While decoy ducks are relatively unknown in the UK, they change hands for huge sums of money in the US. Used in hunting to attract ducks, they are painted to be as close as possible to the real thing. AE Crowell (1852-1952), a master duck carver from Massachusetts, holds the current record auction price for a duck decoy. His preening pintail drake and Canadian goose each sold for $1.1m in 2007.

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