Charles ‘Shang’ Wheeler, Connecticut’s master of duck decoys

Known as the Rockefeller wood duck pair, these exhibition-grade Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler duck decoys achieved $180,000 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2022. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK — Probably the most famous decoy carver to come out of Connecticut was Charles Edward ‘Shang’ Wheeler (1872-1949). He didn’t just carve decoys; he also worked for a time as hunting guide, a sailor, and even a politician. He also collected decoys from other makers and helped stage exhibitions of decoy ducks and wild birds together with renowned decoy collector and author Joel Barber.

Hailing from Stratford, Connecticut, Wheeler worked in the Connecticut tradition of making hollow-bodied decoys for use on the Long Island Sound, but he did not limit himself to one style. His best decoys were often created for competitions, and in 1923, he made his grand debut at a decoy show in Long Island, New York, taking home first prize. That show included a competition carving event to encourage hunters to use decoys in shooting. Shows like this helped Wheeler’s reputation spread far beyond his native Connecticut, and his decoys quickly became staples in hunters’ decoy rigs up and down the East Coast. Today, his decoys are prized as folk art, displayed on a shelf or in a glass case, never to touch water again.

A circa-1940 pair of wood ducks by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler earned $47,500 plus the buyer’s premium in July 2021. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.
A circa-1940 drake and hen pair of wood duck decoys by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler earned $47,500 plus the buyer’s premium in July 2021. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

Wheeler’s unusual nickname apparently dates back to his days in a military academy, when he was a pencil-thin, 6-foot-tall teenager. According to some online sources, the nickname was said to have combined two words: “chang”, after the moniker of a tall circus sideshow performer, and “langshan”, for the tall breed of German chickens.

“Wheeler is best known for his variety of decoys and shorebirds all made in a ‘gunning style’ — much of what he made was meant to be placed on the mantle or entered into decoy carving competitions,” said Jon Deeter, partner of Guyette & Deeter Inc. in St. Michaels, Maryland. “He did make gunning decoys, and some were used, but he was a true artist who liked to carve, paint, and display his works. Some are hollow and some are solid, but all are in the traditional Connecticut School style.”

Arguably, Wheeler was at his finest with his birds that appear as if they are sleeping or totally unaware of the presence of a hunter in a nearby blind. Wheeler was an avid observer, studying the birds that frequented local ponds and creeks to see how they carried themselves, and, in particular, how they positioned their heads. His decoys are highly realistic and expertly mimic the graceful lines of his subjects, which range from ducks to sailfish to sandhill cranes.

Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler’s circa-1940 resting mallard drake shows a relaxed pose that buyers find desirable. This decoy realized $120,000 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of Guyette & Deeter, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.

Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler’s circa-1940 resting mallard drake shows a relaxed pose that buyers find desirable. This decoy realized $120,000 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of Guyette & Deeter, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.

A circa-1940 resting mallard drake — a rare form featuring a sleeping drake, or male duck, instead of a sleeping hen, or female duck —  shows a relaxed pose that buyers find appealing. The drake, which brought $120,000 plus the buyer’s premium at Guyette & Deeter, Inc. in August 2021, had its head tilted to the side and its bill tucked into a nesting wing.

Wheeler’s forte was his wood ducks, and his best examples have attracted the interest of decoy historians as well as sophisticated collectors, the latter of which included noted collectors such as Peggy and David Rockefeller. A pair of wood ducks from Wheeler’s personal collection was handpicked to join the Rockefellers’ collection. Much later, the circa-1935 duck decoy duo was auctioned in March 2022 for $180,000 plus the buyer’s premium at Copley Fine Art Auctions. A photograph of Wheeler’s display at the 1948 National Decoy Makers Contest and Exhibition at Grand Central Palace in New York City shows this same pair, which is noted for having relaxed crests and turned heads, as well as the hen having her turned head tucked into her breast.

Another angle on Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler’s Rockefeller wood duck decoy pair, which achieved $180,000 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2022. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.
Another angle on Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler’s Rockefeller wood duck decoy pair, which achieved $180,000 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2022. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

“With most decoy makers, there tends to be a magic period that collectors gravitate towards. For me, the birds that Shang Wheeler (1872-1942) created between 1923 and 1935 really resonate,” said Steve O’Brien Jr., owner and decoy specialist at Copley Fine Art Auctions in Hingham, Massachusetts. The Rockefeller ducks represent the high water mark for Wheeler birds, he added. “With the maker’s best carving, bright palette, and provenance, there is no finer Wheeler pair that I know of. Kory Rogers, the John and Francie Downing senior curator of American art at the Shelburne Museum, may disagree, as the museum has a terrific mallard pair that was owned by decoy legend Joel Barber.”

A different view of a circa-1940 pair of wood ducks by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler that earned $47,500 plus the buyer’s premium in July 2021. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.
A different view of a circa-1940 pair of wood ducks by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler that earned $47,500 plus the buyer’s premium in July 2021. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

Also featuring Wheeler’s famed attention to detail and realistic head positioning was a circa-1940 pair of wood ducks that swam away with $47,500 plus the buyer’s premium in July 2021 at Copley Fine Art Auctions. Composed of a preening drake and a turned-head hen, the pair had scrupulously detailed carving on the bills, wing tips, and the male’s ‘feather’ crest. This pair was featured in Henry Chitwood’s book on Connecticut decoys, which cited it among the most lavish of Wheeler’s decorative carvings.

The drake, in particular, ticks all the boxes for elite Wheeler collectors. “The head is artfully and accurately turned around from the right side of the breast and is topped with a pronounced crest. The accurately presented bill is heavily incised and shoots across the bird’s back, touching down between the raised wings,” according to Copley’s catalog description for the pair. Proportions overall and the sophisticated comb painting Wheeler is well known for are also worth recognizing in this pair of birds.

This early preening black duck decoy by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler, dating to circa 1910, sold for $9,000 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

This early preening black duck decoy by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler, dating to circa 1910, sold for $9,000 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

While it was not until 1923 that Wheeler made a splashy showing on the competition-carving circuit, he had been carving decoys for more than a decade at that point. Decoys such as a circa-1910 preening black duck decoy catch him in the process of honing his craft. That decoy achieved a strong price of $9,000 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021 at Copley Fine Art Auctions, and featured fine carving and paint detail.

Collectors eagerly snap up works by Wheeler that don’t often appear at auction, such as a Surf Scoter decoy that secured $21,000 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021 at Copley Fine Art Auctions. Scoter decoys were seldom made by Wheeler or any decoy maker, and this hollow-bodied example has lavish carving and a finely turned head.

A Surf Scoter decoy by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler brought $21,000 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.
A Surf Scoter decoy by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler brought $21,000 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

The market for duck decoys is strong and resilient overall, Deeter stated. “Our company has been blessed with selling many great collections over the last few years, and while some of the old guard are missing, they are being replaced with new and enthusiastic collectors,” he said. “Many of the new collectors have deep pockets and are interested in quality pieces. Wheelers are doing fine right now. The Connecticut School is not soft but not on fire, so it’s probably a good time to pay attention to decoys from that area.”

Wheeler decoys generally sell in the range of $5,000 to $70,000, Deeter said, adding, “That’s a broad range, so a newer collector needs to do some homework to understand the significance of each piece.”

A cork body bluebill decoy by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler secured $9,500 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2021. Image courtesy of Guyette & Deeter, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.

An undated cork-body bluebill decoy by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler secured $9,500 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2021. Image courtesy of Guyette & Deeter, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.

Among those affordable to beginning collectors are Wheeler’s cork-bodied decoys, such as a bluebill with an inset wooden tail and well-carved head that sold for $9,500 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2021 at Guyette & Deeter, Inc., or a Canada goose in the same auction that took $8,000 plus the buyer’s premium.

Demographic trends for decoy collectors are varied, but they skew slightly towards veteran collectors for the highest-end examples, which tend to bring high six-figure prices. “Over the last 18 years, Copley has worked with collectors in almost every state in North America,” said O’Brien Jr. “As with most fields, there are three significant driving forces to collecting: passion, time, and money. It is often after people retire that they fully tap into all three of these.”

A cork body Canada goose by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler made $8,000 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2021. Image courtesy of Guyette & Deeter, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.

An undated cork-body Canada goose by Charles E. ‘Shang’ Wheeler, one of only a handful known, made $8,000 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2021. Image courtesy of Guyette & Deeter, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.

That said, the decoy market is broad enough to satisfy collectors at all price points. “The great thing about decoy collecting is that there is something for everyone. There are more decoy collectors today than ever before,” said O’Brien Jr. “Entry levels for good decoys start in the hundreds of dollars and go all the way up to over a million. Wheeler’s cork decoys start in the hundreds, his wooden decoys start in the thousands, and on a few occasions, Copley has sold his works for six figures.”

Antique decoys and sporting art aim for bidders at Copley Feb. 23-24

Lloyd Tyler Hooded Merganser duck decoy, estimated at $150,000-$200,000 at Copley.

HINGHAM, Mass. — Nearly 500 lots of vintage sporting collectibles, including antique decoys, bird carvings, fishing collectibles, and sporting art, form The Winter Sale at Copley Fine Art Auctions, taking place on Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24. The catalogs are now online and available for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Lloyd Tyler (1898-1970) lived across the street from the Ward Brothers in Crisfield, Maryland. He was nearly the same age as the Wards, yet is credited with beginning his decoy carving career eight years prior to them. With Crisfield’s three greatest carvers living virtually on top of each other, there was clearly creative energy shared between them. This Lloyd Tyler Hooded Merganser decoy is dated to 1930 and is the sale’s highest-estimated lot. Collectors have long recognized that this decoy captures the charming nature of the species, and so it carries a $150,000-$200,000 estimate.

Brian Cullity in his biography of A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952), The Songless Aviary, writes “Crowell … created the most spectacular group of painted carvings the hunting world had ever seen. His working decoys from this period (1900-1915) also show a degree of love, labor and art that is unparalleled in the decoy world.” The sale includes a 1905 Canvasback hen carved and painted by Crowell and remaining in outstanding original condition. It’s estimated at $125,000-$175,000.

Hailing from West Creek, New Jersey, Nathan Rowley Horner (1882-1942) didn’t muster nearly the output of many other distinguished decoy makers, but his quality and lifelike designs are equally respected by collectors today. This hollow Merganser hen decoy is “an important new discovery as the only known Horner Merganser hen in original paint in private hands.” It comes to market with a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.

‘Fresh Air Dick’ Janson (1872-1951) lived alone in small boats or hand-built shacks along the banks of the Sonoma River in northern California. An avid outdoorsman, Janson carved decoys as a way of earning additional income, and the few that have survived are highly coveted. This exceedingly rare Green-winged Teal decoy dates to 1935 and has rarely seen feather painting on its back. It is estimated at $12,000-$18,000.

A whopping 30 examples from the career of American Impressionist and Realist painter Frank W. Benson (1862-1951) are a cornerstone of day 1. The top Benson lot is Bald Eagles (The Eagles) dating to 1941 and measuring 39.75 by 32in. In this fine work, painted on the eve of America’s involvement in World War II, Benson captures both the impressive power of our national symbol and a looming squall over a turbulent sea. The oil on canvas is estimated at $100,000-$200,000.

Duck, duck, bid: Copley embraces summer with July 13-14 Sporting Sale

Detail of McCleery Eider decoy, estimated at $800,000-$1.2 million. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions
McCleery Eider decoy, estimated at $800,000-$1.2 million. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions
McCleery eider decoy, estimated at $800,000-$1.2 million. Image courtesy of Copley Fine Art Auctions

PLYMOUTH, Mass. – On Thursday, July 13 and Friday, July 14, Copley Fine Art Auctions, the nation’s premier decoy and sporting art auction house, will hold its 18th annual Sporting Sale. This major auction, consisting of more than 515 lots, will offer buyers the opportunity to acquire exceptional paintings, antique decoys, bird carvings, folk art and powder tins from important curated collections. Veteran auctioneer Peter Cocculuto will once again wield the gavel, and the auction will begin at 10 am Eastern time on both days. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Continue reading

Catch Frank Finney’s carvings before prices fly out of reach

This Frank Finney sculpture of a pair of Northern cardinals earned $9,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2022. Image courtesy of New England Auctions - Fred Giampietro and LiveAuctioneers.
This Frank Finney sculpture of a pair of Northern cardinals earned $9,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2022. Image courtesy of New England Auctions - Fred Giampietro and LiveAuctioneers.
This Frank Finney sculpture of a pair of Northern cardinals earned $9,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2022. Image courtesy of New England Auctions – Fred Giampietro and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK — Growing up on Virginia’s coastal Eastern shore, surrounded by wildlife in and around the Chesapeake Bay, it’s only natural that Frank S. Finney (b. 1947-) grew up fishing, hunting and carving decoys.

Continue reading

Nathan Cobb Jr brant decoy swims away with $252K at Guyette & Deeter

Swimming Canada goose by Nathan Cobb, Jr., $252,000
Swimming Canada goose by Nathan Cobb, Jr., $252,000
Swimming brant by Nathan Cobb, Jr., $252,000

ST. MICHAELS, Md. – The sun was out and spirits were high during Guyette & Deeter’s July 29-30 decoy and sporting art auction at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. The sale had 120 collectors in attendance and more than 1,000 others participating online and by phone. Gross sales totaled $3.32 million, with 72 lots selling for more than $10,000, including one that exceeded $200,000.

Continue reading

Duck, duck, goose: Copley to hold 2022 Winter Sale, March 4-5

Charles Safford, Sleeping Canada Goose, est. $100,000-$200,000
Charles Safford, Sleeping Canada Goose, est. $100,000-$200,000

HINGHAM, Mass. – On Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, Copley Fine Art Auctions, the nation’s premier sporting art and decoy auction house, will host its Winter Sale 2022. The two-day, virtual-format sale will offer the opportunity to acquire world-class paintings and bird carvings. The auction will begin at 10am on both days. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Continue reading

Goose decoys could take flight at Guyette & Deeter, Nov. 10-11

Pair of hollow carved Canada geese by Mandt Homme, each estimated at $100,000-$150,000
Pair of hollow carved Canada geese by Mandt Homme, each estimated at $100,000-$150,000
Pair of hollow carved Canada geese by Mandt Homme, each estimated at $100,000-$150,000

SAINT MICHAELS, Md. – Guyette & Deeter, Inc. is pleased to announce its next sporting art, and decoy auction, to be held November 10 and 11. The auction will feature prominent collections of important decoys and prodigious original artwork, with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.

Continue reading

Gallery Report: Magical mechanical bank conjures $288K winning bid

ATLANTA – At the beginning of every month, ACN columnist Ken Hall delivers top auction highlights from around the United States and the world at large. Here’s his October 2021 edition of Gallery Report. All prices include the buyer’s premium, except where noted.

Kyser & Rex mechanical bank, $288,000, Bertoia Auctions

A Mikado cast-iron mechanical bank made by Kyser & Rex (Philadelphia) sold for $288,000 at Part 2 of the sale of the Schroeder toy collection held Sept. 10-11 by Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey. The bank, in pristine to near mint condition, was the red table version. The user placed a coin under the right hat, turned the rear crank and watched as the man lifted the left hat to reveal the coin, then lowered the hat as the coin was deposited.

 

1987 Hermes handbag, $15,000, Crescent City Auction Gallery

A circa-1987 Hermes Kelly Sellier handbag in natural black box calf leather with gold hardware sold for $15,000 at an Important Estates Auction held Sept. 18-19 by Crescent City Auction Gallery in New Orleans. Also, a 1988 oil on canvas by James Michalopoulos, titled New Orleans Center Hall Cottage, went for $10,625, and a circa-1965 oil painting by Clementine Hunter, titled Uncle Tom in the Garden with Little Eva, made $9,375.

Chinese dragon bowl, $200,000, Briggs Auction, Inc.

A Chinese porcelain dragon bowl with Yongzheng mark sold for $200,000 in an online Fine Estates Auction held July 30 by Briggs Auction, Inc. in Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania. Also, an early 20th-century Louis Vuitton steamer trunk adorned with various travel stickers brought $12,250; a Scandinavian peg tankard with Danish Coronation medal realized $10,625; a George Nakashima Minguren side table with triangular-form free-edge top made $8,750; and a painting by James Webb hit $8,750.

Elvis contract for Graceland, $114,660, PristineAuction.com

The 1957 contract signed by Elvis Presley and both of his parents for the purchase of the home in Memphis that became known as Graceland soared to $114,660 in a single-lot online auction held August 10 by PristineAuction.com, based in Phoenix, Arizona. The document stated that the Presleys would trade their property on Audubon Drive in Memphis for a $55,000 credit, plus an extra $90,000 to purchase Graceland.

 

Model steam locomotive, CA$15,340, Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.

A 7 ¼in gauge model steam locomotive of the Great Western Railway 4-6-0 locomotive and tender sold for $15,340 in back-to-back online auctions held September 11 and 12 by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., based in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada. Also, an 1869 French style Boneshaker bicycle sped off for $10,620; and an iconic 1946 Wurlitzer jukebox Model 1015 hit $7,670. Prices are in Canadian dollars.

Moby-Dick first edition, $60,000, Potter & Potter Auctions

A first American edition copy of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, The Whale sold for $60,000 at a Fine Books & Manuscripts Sale held August 28 by Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago. Also, a 38-volume set titled The Writings of Mark Twain brought $33,600; a set of five Christmas books by Charles Dickens made $28,800; and a typed letter by Nikola Tesla, signed, hit $10,800.

Shaw cup and saucer, $75,000, Skinner, Inc.          

A cup and saucer from Samuel Shaw’s Society of the Cincinnati Chinese Export porcelain service sold for $75,000 in Americana auctions held Aug. 18-19 by Skinner, Inc. in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Also, an Andrew Clemens patriotic sand bottle rose to $75,000; two molded copper models of the Massasoit weathervane brought $31,250 and $43,750; a portrait of a child in a blue dress by William Matthew Prior climbed to $28,750; and a Portsmouth, New Hampshire work table brought $17,500.

Ivan Aivazovsky painting, $169,650, Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

An oil on canvas by Ivan Aivazovsky, titled After the Storm, sold for $169,650 at an auction titled the Splendid, Part II, held August 27-29 by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries in Thomaston, Maine. Also, an oil on hardboard depicting the yacht America by James E. Buttersworth realized $117,000; and a painting by Andrew Wyeth, titled In the Georges Islands, finished at $87,750.

Korean glazed ceramic moon jar, $22,500, Auctions at Showplace

A large Korean Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) white glazed ceramic moon jar sold for $22,500 at an estate auction held August 8 by Auctions at Showplace in New York. Also, an Indian ink and watercolor on paper Paithan manuscript illustration, depicting a figure with two horses, earned $4,062; and a colorful 1990 Pop Art acrylic on paper of a man, a house and a water tower by Tom Slaughter finished at $3,125.

Duncan McFarlane oil, $39,680, Marion Antique Auctions

A mid-19th-century marine oil on canvas rendering of the packet ship City of Montreal by Duncan McFarlane sold for $39,680 at a Summer Sale held June 26 by Marion Antique Auctions in Marion, Massachusetts. Also, a diminutive oil on canvas by Charles Henry Gifford, depicting New Bedford Harbor, realized $33,920; an Izannah Walker doll went for $26,240; and two wooden decoys by Canadian carver Tom Chambers rose to $5,625.

Laverne Chan cabinet, $113,400, Freeman’s

A four-door Chan cabinet by renowned 20th-century designers Philip and Kelvin LaVerne sold for $113,400 at an Art and Design auction held September 15 by Freeman’s in Philadelphia. Also, a striking glazed ceramic work ,Untitled (Dango) by Jun Kaneko, achieved $20,160; a 1950s settee by Paul Laszlo realized $11,970; and two prints by Josef Albers, SP IV and SP XII, both from Homage to the Square, brought $13,680 and $10,710.

Jason Rich painting, $12,500, John Moran Auctioneers

An oil on board by Jason Rich, titled Working Sun to Sun, sold for $12,500 at an Art of the American West auction held August 31 by John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, California. Also, a painting by Bill Anton, titled Range Management, brought $10,625; a 20th-century Thomas Curtis, Sr. Navajo / Dine silver bolo and buckle set achieved $8,750; and John William Hilton’s 1961 work Desert Hideaway realized $7,500.

Sleeping mallard decoy, $144,000, Guyette & Deeter, Inc.

A sleeping mallard decoy by Shang Wheeler, which was featured on the dust jacket cover of Shang by Dixon Merkt, sold for $144,000 at a Summer Auction held Aug. 6-7 by Guyette & Deeter, Inc. in Saint Michaels, Maryland. Also, the finest known pair of canvasbacks by Elmer Crowell soared to $78,000; a mallard drake by John Blair, Sr. rose to $96,000; and an oil painting of waterfowling on Chesapeake Bay by Herman Simon brought $102,000.

Nicolai Fechin still-life, $281,000, Dallas Auction Gallery

A floral still-life painting by Russian artist Nicolai Fechin sold for $281,000 at an auction held September 8 by Dallas Auction Gallery in Dallas. Also, a 1951 work by Porfirio Salinas, titled Bluebonnets with Fence and Gate, realized $56,250; a signed oil on canvas by G. Harvey titled Pinon Smoke Santa Fe achieved $75,000; a circa-1905 Parisian street scene by Edouard Cortes went for $93,750; and an acrylic on canvas by Ernie Barnes, titled Two Shots, hit $81,250.

Copy of Journey into Mystery$319,800, Goldin Auctions

A copy of Journey into Mystery #83, from 1962, featuring the first appearance of Thor, graded CTGC 9.4, sold for $319,800 in an online auction held in September by Goldin Auctions, based in Runnemede, New Jersey. Also, a copy of the 1962 Marvel Amazing Fantasy #15 comic, featuring the first appearance of Spider-Man, commanded $707,000; and a 1996 copy of the Super Mario 64 game, graded WATA 9.8/A++, changed hands for $800,000.

Taffin diamond ring, $387,500, Hindman

A diamond ring by Taffin, containing an internally flawless cushion cut 5.89 carat diamond, D color and Type IIa, sold for $387,500 at an Important Jewelry auction held September 13 by Hindman in Chicago. Also, a diamond ring with a 5.12 carat emerald cut diamond, D color, VVS2 clarity, rose to $181,250; a Vendura yellow gold multi-gem and diamond ‘Sunburst cuff bracelet hit $43,750; and a Tiffany & Co. diamond bracelet realized $37,500.

Harrington & Richardson calendar, $6,548, Route 32 Auctions

A 1908 Harrington & Richardson Arms Co. calendar, depicting a hunter with a back pack and elk by artist Phillip Goodwin, sold for $6,548 at a Firearms & Western auction held Aug. 26-27 by Route 32 Auctions in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Also, a Winchester Model 1866 .44 caliber centerfire rifle, shipped in 1870, realized $7,188; and a 1911 Peters (“Big Game Ammunition Will Stop Them”) poster rose to $5,462.

Copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, $3.6 million, Heritage Auctions

A copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 from 1962, featuring the first comic book appearance of Spider-Man, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, sold for $3.6 million at a Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction held Sept. 8-12 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. It was the most ever paid for a comic book, eclipsing the $3.25 million pledged earlier this year for a copy of Action Comics #1. Also, a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 from 1963 realized $241,200.

Chinese Imperial vase, $2.45 million, Doyle New York

A Chinese Imperial falangcai vase, created during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796), sold for $2.45 million at an Asian Works of Art auction held September 20 by Doyle in New York. The vase came from the collection of Sarah Belk Gambrell, the Belk department store heiress. It bore a four-character mark in blue, indicating its origin as a product of the Qianlong Emperor’s imperial workshop. Only a few were produced.

Gerrit Beneker painting, $11,250, Bakker Project

An early 20th-century oil on board by Gerrit Beneker, titled Mudhead, sold for $11,250 in an online Fine Arts auction held August 28 by The Bakker Project in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Also, an early 20th-century charcoal drawing by Kathe Kollwitz, titled Mother and Child, achieved $12,500; and a circa-2010 oil on canvas by Christopher Sousa, titled Sometimes in the Morning, went to a determined bidder for $6,250.

Chesapeake Bay museum wins important painting at Guyette & Deeter

Large 1883 Herman Simon painting of waterfowling on the Chesapeake Bay, $102,000
Large 1883 Herman Simon painting of waterfowling on the Chesapeake Bay, $102,000
Large 1883 Hermann Simon painting of waterfowling on the Chesapeake Bay, $102,000

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.

Continue reading

Shang Wheeler duck decoy headlines Guyette & Deeter Aug. 6-7 auction

Sleeping mallard decoy by Shang Wheeler, estimated at $80,000-$120,000
Sleeping mallard decoy by Shang Wheeler, estimated at $80,000-$120,000
Sleeping mallard decoy by Shang Wheeler, estimated at $80,000-$120,000

SAINT MICHAELS, Md. – Guyette & Deeter, Inc. is pleased to announce its next sporting art and decoy auction, to be held on Friday and Saturday, August 6 and 7. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Continue reading