Raven's Way Antiques
Shorebird Decoys

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An Excellent Example of a New England Lesser Yellowlegs Shorebird Decoy in a Somewhat Flat-sided Form by an Unknown Maker, probably Northern Massachusetts or New Hampshire, circa 1910. This Rare Shorebird displays Strong Original Paint, Tiny Shoe Button Eyes, and the Original Wooden Bill, all with Some In-Use Wear. The Construction is interesting in that the Decoy is Made in Two Vertical Parts with the Sides Apparently Glued Together because there are no signs of dowels or pins. The Decoy measures 9 ½” from the Tip of the Bill to the Tip of the Tail, 1 ¾” in width, and 9 ½” high, including the stand. A Fine Example of a Lesser Yellowlegs Decoy in Strong Original Paint.

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New Price $650 plus shipping


Outstanding Solid Body Reaching Ruddy Turnstone Shorebird Decoy in the Eugene Cuffee Style with a Carved Deer Antler Bill by Lyle G. Smith, Shinnecock, Long Island, New York, circa 2019. This Native American Shorebird Decoy has carved Wings and Eyes, a Deer Antler Bill, and a Highly Stylistic Paint Pattern, accenting the Turnstone’s Field Marks with a Traditional Shinnecock Decorative Pattern. The Decoy is Signed on the Bottom with a Carved Name and an Ink Signed Name: “Lyle G. Smith / 12/ 2006 - Shinnecock, NY". Measurements: 10 1/2" in length, 2 3/4" in width, and 7 1/2" in height, including the original stand. We have worked with Lyle over the years, and when he has an opportunity to carve decoys for Raven’s Way, we are always appreciative. An Outstanding Native American Shorebird Decoy.

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Price $325 plus shipping


Turned Head Yellowlegs Shorebird Decoy by Herbert S. Randall (1900 – 1971), Seabrook, New Hampshire, circa 1930s – 1940s ?. 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, and a decoy carver. In some way 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. Randall’s work with shorebird decoys is well-known, so identifying the age of particular decoys is a bit difficult. While his style is fairly consistent, some decoys have his classic carrying staple on the bottom, others include his name carved with a linoleum cutter, and still later others are found with the name stamped with individual letters. His early work from the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s appears to be more refined and toward the end of his life the work is rather basic. The condition of this Yellowlegs with its Boldly Turned Head and Split Tail carving displays both significant age: Dried Sap Bleed, Knot Check from the Breast along the Bottom, Rusty Tack Eyes and wear, but it also shows Randall’s effort to Create a Subdued Finish in an attempt to “Age” the decoy while leaving the Heavy Feather Paint to declare the species. Most interesting is the stick hole was clearly made by an early hand drill, not a contemporary machine tool. The decoy measures 10” in length, 2 ½” in width, and 14” in height, including the stand. Randall’s obituary notes that “He was well-known in the Seacoast area as a carver of wooden decoys birds.”

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Raven’s Way is always pleased to offer an Early Dowitcher Shorebird Decoy by Eugene Cuffee (1866 – 1941), Shinnecock Reservation, Long Island, New York, circa 1890 – 1920. This particular shorebird reflects both the basic field marks of a Dowitcher Shorebird and the Native American Paint Pattern associated with Cuffee’s historical work. Especially interesting about this decoy is that while it was Originally made as a Shorebird for hunting purposes (these were the market hunting years), it later became a paper weight, as can be seen from the holes in the bottom. I wrote an article for Decoy Magazine in 2007 about my examination of a Cuffee Paper Weight which was untouched until I took it apart to determine if it was adapted from a shorebird decoy; it was. These modifications of Cuffee’s decoys were probably carried out by a New York City antiques’ dealer since paper weights, bookends, and lamps have been found and sold in NYC. (My article and an example of a Cuffee Yellowlegs paper weight (NFS) is included with the large photos.) This Dowitcher Decoy displays considerable age with craquelure to Strong Original Paint, Shoe Button Eyes, and an Original Bill with “Puppy Chew” at the tip. The Paint on the Back of the Decoy is very typical of Cuffee’s paint work. As the photographs indicate, when these shorebirds were attached to a weighted base, the bottom was shaved to sit flat on the base. Measurements: 9” in length, 2 ½” in width, 11 ½” in height, including the stand. A Wonderful Sporting Artifact from the Shinnecock Nation and an Outstanding Shorebird decoy.

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