SAINT MICHAELS, Md. – There’s no argument that prices for decoy and sporting art have continued to be strong in 2021. Guyette & Deeter, Inc.’s summer auction on August 6 and 7 grossed close to the high estimate at $4.2 million. The event featured 550 lots, with five lots selling for more than $100,000 and 98 selling for more than $10,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding was facilitated through LiveAuctioneers.
Perhaps the most noteworthy item in the sale was Hermann Simon’s oil on canvas that went to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Completed in 1883, many consider the painting to be the most important waterfowling scene ever painted. It depicts two wealthy sportsmen shooting from a double sink box in the Chesapeake Bay; the only known painting of its kind. It sold for $102,000, a world auction record for Hermann Simon. It will be displayed in the museum’s new addition, which is set for construction starting in December.
Three megastar decoys exceeded expectations with each sale soaring past the $100,000 mark. A sleeping mallard drake by important Connecticut carver Charles “Shang” Wheeler brought $144,000. A superb greater yellowlegs portrayed in a content pose by William Bowman secured a winning bid of $108,000. Also, a ghost fish decoy by Hans Janner topped out at $108,000 – a world auction record for the carver.
The August auction also featured important items from the collection of author Steven Michaan, who procured the finest collection of American fish decoys with a strong emphasis on carvings from Oscar Peterson as well as spearing decoys from Lake St. Clair, Michigan.
Several Oscar Peterson plaques as well as fish decoys by noted maker Hans Janner were offered publicly for the first time. An exceptional plaque of squirrels by Oscar Peterson sold for $69,000. Including Hans Janner’s ghost fish decoy, in total, the sale marked 15 new world auction records for carvers.
Other significant highlights include a mallard drake in excellent condition made by John Blair, Sr. It sold for $96,000 as part of the Bruce Williams collection.
Additionally, the sale featured the best-known pair of canvasbacks carved by Elmer Crowell of Massachusetts, which sold for $78,000.
The addition of the D.C. North collection to the sale ensured Virginia and North Carolina collectors had many choices. Perhaps the rarest of its offerings was a circa-1900 Bufflehead drake by Arthur Cobb. The bufflehead set a world auction record for the carver when it sold for $54,000, and it’s the only known example of this species carved by him. In addition, a stunning bluebill drake made in 1936 by the Ward brothers of Crisfield, Maryland, went for $48,000.
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