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An Early Pair of Red-Breasted Merganser Decoys by Marty Collins, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, circa Early 1990s. Here is one of the Classic Pair of Sleek Solid-Bodied Mergansers with Leather Crests and Detailed Bill Carving that Marty produced in the Early 1990s. The Decoys display Excellent Original Paint with a Good Deal of “Soft” Feathering to Enhance the Realism of the Decoys without turning them into decoratives. The Brass Tags nailed to the Bottom of these Decoys are an early ID form that Marty used and are Stamped: “Martin D. Collins / Decoy Maker / E. Wareham MA 02538”; Marty has since moved to Bridgewater; this Pair was also Originally Signed “Martin D. Collins” in ink. They are now Rigged for use as gunning decoys and Branded: “M. D. Collins.” They are in Very Good Condition with Very Minor Wear. Measurements: approximately 20” in length, 5 ½” in width, and 6 ½” in height; the Drake is slightly larger than the Hen. Nice Pair of Early Collins’ Mergansers.

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Wonderful Pair of Red-Breasted Mergansers by Byron E. Bruffee (1942-2013), Middleboro, Massachusetts, circa Early 2000s. Byron was well-known among the New England Decoy Community for both his work as a Decoy Carver and an Early Restorer. Moreover, a number of highly skilled younger carvers were greatly influenced by his work, including Marty Collins and both Bryon’s sons, Byron N. and Dan. This particular pair of Mergansers was made for me approximately 6 years before his death. I originally met the family on the decoy circuit on an individual basis and became good friends with young Byron and, as I called his Dad, “old man Bruffee.” These Mergansers display the Skill of Carving, especially the Bill, Crest, and Tail, the Fine Form, and the Detailed Original Paint that the old man could accomplish. Measurements: 19” in length, 6” in width, and 8” in height. Each is stamped under the tail “Byron E. Bruffee”. They are in Excellent Original condition with the Drake show a minor line of shrinkage where the neck attaches to the body. An Excellent Pair of Byron E. Bruffee Mergansers.

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New Price $495 plus shipping


Offered is a Pair of Red-breasted Mergansers attributed to Herbert S. Randall (1900 – 1971), Seabrook, New Hampshire, circa 1930s – 1940s. When first encountering these Mergansers, the influence by George Boyd (1873 – 1941) of Seabrook is immediately apparent. (See especially Jim Cullen’s Finely Carved & Nicely Painted, pg. 37, a pioneering work on George Boyd.) Boyd was one of the primer carvers of the era who not only had a wide-ranging influence on local decoy carvers but was also well-known to Herbert Randall. Research indicates that many local collectors have looked to Herbert Randall to create work similar to George Boyd, and Randall’s history offers many insights. Herbert was the son of Herbert L. Randall (b. 1867), a “market hunter”, a shoe maker, and a decoy carver. He grew up working with his father in the market hunting arena, eventually working as a shoe maker in the same factory as his father, and a decoy carver throughout his life. In some ways Herbert was a jack of all trades, working as a hunting/fishing guide, in construction at the Naval shipyard in the 1940s, and finishing up as a carpenter, all the while carving shorebirds and duck decoys for the local population and the tourist industry.

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Over the years, I have collected numerous examples of Randall’s hunting decoys, most of which were made in his own style. Other work was clearly styled after George Boyd, as are these Mergansers. These particular Mergansers display a Solid Body made in two parts and attached with 5/16” dowels and undoubtedly glued together. Use and Age have caused some separation. In addition, a Third Piece of Wood creates the Head which is most likely also dowelled in place. Both Decoys display Worn Original Paint with the Drake’s Paint Pattern most similar to Boyd’s. Randall also carved nostrils into the Bill, but used Painted Tack Eyes rather than more expensive glass eyes. Finally, the Original Weights on these Mergansers are similar to Weights Randall frequently used for the rigs of decoys he made for others. Measurements: 18 ½” in length for the Drake (Hen is about an inch shorter), 5 ½” in width, and 7” in height. An Early Pair of Red-breasted Mergansers from Seabrook, New Hampshire.

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Price $3450 plus shipping

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