Raven's Way Antiques
Shorebird Decoys

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A Fine Yellowlegs Shorebird Decoy by Charles H. Gaskill (1879 – 1957), Osbornville, Brick Township, New Jersey, circa 1900 – 1920s. Faintly written by the Stick Hole is “Charley Gaskill died 1957” apparently by the original collector. An examination of Census and Selective Service Records indicates that Gaskill worked as both a Sawyer and a Carpenter and lived on Drum Point Road literally within walking distance of the bay and Jersey shore. Interestingly, the Shorebird Decoy is Made from three 1” pieces of lumber which Gaskill could easily obtain from his work. Further, it would not be uncommon at the time for a person like Gaskill to supplement his income by fishing and hunting the area. Yellowlegs were still legally hunted until 1928. The Decoy remains in Very Good Original Condition with a Well-Carved Form, with a little extra form on the tail, and Fine Original Yellowlegs Paint with Detail to Embellish the Feathering. The Bill has broken off at some point and has been Partially Replaced. A Very Appealing New Jersey Yellowlegs Shorebird Decoy.

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Price $845 plus shipping

Very Early Golden Plover Shorebird Decoy from Long Island, New York, circa 1880s. The Long Body Form and the Separate attachment of the Neck and Head are indicative of the Early Long Island Shorebirds and there is a Slight Ridge along the end of the body by the tail, another early LI characteristic. As an interesting addition, the round belly on the bottom of the decoy is an applied piece of wood, dowelled into position. The Bill appears to be Original but may be a later replacement; it’s early, so it’s hard to tell. The Paint is Worn Original and Very Indicative of other Shorebird Decoys that may be from the same rig or maker. The Decoy is in Untouched Original Condition. Measurements: 12” in length, 2 ¾” in width, and 12 ¼” in height, including the metal stand. This Golden Plover displays the Nice Early Form of Long Island Shorebirds.

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Rare Pair of Flat-Sided Sandpiper Decoys from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, circa Late 1800s. Cape Cod was Historically Well-Known as a Prime Site for Shorebird Hunting and any number of Shorebird Decoys have come from the Cape Cod area, from Appealing Unknowns to Names like Elmer Crowell. This Flattie Pair are the last of a larger rig that we obtained over 20 years ago. The Decoys all displayed Good Original Paint with Classic Gunning Wear; Salt Water on the Beach and in the Marsh Ages Paint over time. The Rig’s Decoys had Original Iron Stakes and Bills. In this case, the Bills have been lost and show Simple Early Replacements, though the Stacks are Original. Also of interest are the Dowels through the Top of the Head. Apparently, the Maker used the dowels to reinforce the necks from breakage. The Condition is as expected from Age and Use and there are even a couple of shot marks, so obviously the decoys were quite effective. The Decoys measure 8 ½” in length and 1” in width; they are placed on a piece of driftwood and stand a total of 12 ½” in height. Flatties were an important hunting decoy for the Common Man and these Sandpipers are Classics.

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Price $975 plus shipping

Hard-to-Find Golden Plover Shorebird Decoy by Frank Adams (1871 – 1944), Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, circa 1900 – 1920s. This Golden Plover is Typical of Adams’ Classic Form with Excellent Original Paint. Adams’ Shorebirds (Yellowlegs & Plovers) tend to be rather Narrow in Form (this one is 1 7/8” wide) with a Similar Profile. One distinction that is apparent with a Plover and a Yellowlegs in hand is the difference in bill length, with a shorter bill for the Plover though in a similar form. The Strong Original Paint on this Decoy indicates that the Bird displays Transitional Plumage with Thick Black Lines on the Breast and Under-Body; whereas, the Golden Yellow Lines on the Upper Body represent the Golden Plover vs. a Black-bellied Plover. These colors would be typical field marks for the Plover in Fall Migration. There is an extended discussion of the Adams’ decoys in Stanley Murphy’s Martha’s Vineyard Decoys and a Splendid color photo of a Golden Plover Rig. This Decoy displays Minor In-Use Wear with Some Flaking. Measurements: 9” in length, 1 7/8” in width, and 10 ¾” in height, including the wooden stand. Former Herbert Hancock Collection. Great Example of a Frank Adams Shorebird Decoy.

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