DUCK & GOOSE DECOYS
L L Bean Mallard Field Decoys. These are among the most difficult of the Bean/Soule decoys to obtain. There seem to be two reasons. The first and foremost is few were made. They were only offered for a short time and many hunters didn't realize their potential and/or didn't gun where they could use decoys on shore. The second reason seems to be guys who have them are attached to them. They bring back warm and fuzzy memories of glorious days with the ducks. I will sell two or three, your choice. If you want two, you get the two on the left in the picture above. The male has some head rubs and one small chip in the cork, shown in photo. The hen has paint rubs on head and neck. Both show paint rubs along the high ridges on their primaries. There is nothing wrong with the hen's bill! She just took that moment to grab a bite to eat. Bill is complete and completely original in every way. Overall I grade these two decoys as Exc-. Price for 2 on the left: $385
If you want all three (they have been together since they were made, hunted together as rig mates, and now living in retirement together), that is generally the way they were offered in the catalogs. That is one feeding hen and two upright drakes. The drake on the right has the same paint rubs as mentioned above, but not as many and he has no missing cork chips. He is Exc. Price for the three $595
Just a word of wisdom about the number of hens. Usually Bean offered three decoys as a set for slightly less than if you bought they separately. In every case, it was two drakes and one hen. That automatically makes the hens twice as scarce as the drakes. Throw in the sexy feeding position of the hens, and, bingo, they bring a premium, if you can find one.
Bill Cranmer Hollow Oversized Canvasback Drake. This decoy has so much going for it, it is hard to know where to begin. It is a magnum size, measuring 18" from bill tip to tail tip and 9 1/2" wide. It is hollowed from below with what appears to be a very thin fiberglass bottom with the weight somehow worked into the fiberglass. Pretty slick. It is signed, "Cranmer" and dated, 1967. Also written on the bottom is "1 of 9", "Canvasback Male" and "shot over by Richard Bishop, artist". Ward style paint job with beautifully executed gesso texturing on the back. That is a lot going on for one decoy! Mint. $1250
Wildfowler Brant. Point Pleasant. This one hand signed and dated (1972)by Charlie Birdsall who owned Wildfowler while it was in Point Pleasant. Unused. Beautiful paint. $550
L.L. Bean Canvasback Pair. Unused, early, these have the fixed heads with necks carefully carved to meet breasts. Canvasbacks in any condition are scarce, in this condition, they are down right rare. Male has a bump on his noggin, otherwise Mint. Hen is Mint. Price is for the pair, $225 (I HAVE MORE L L BEAN/GEORGE SOULE DECOYS LISTED HERE, SCROLL DOWN, THEY ARE SPREAD OUT FROM HERE TO THE END OF LIST)
L. L. Bean Black Duck. I am showing two here for a reason. The decoy on the left just came out of a shipping box mailed in 1975 and never opened before! I have the Post Office cancellation stamp and some of the original packing newspaper, so it is a sure bet this decoy was made about, if not in, 1975. It is part of my collection and not for sale. Note the different paint patterns on the bodies and the subtle paint color changes between the two decoys. The decoy on the left is older with a more detailed paint pattern and more accurate feather paint color (more burnt sienna). As time went on, there was a constant effort to keep price down and therefore constant streamlining of production methods. I also suspect the lighter feather colors stood out better in catalog photos to help sales! Both of these were made by Soule. He retired and sold the Decoy Shop to Hargy Heap who continued to make the Coastal decoys for L L Bean. However, it seems George kept his patterns and Mr. Heap drew his own which were not quite as flowing and natural as Mr Soule's. I think that the newer paint pattern is that of Hargy, making the decoy on the right a transitional decoy from one to the other. It is quite probable Hargy inherited unfinished birds with the purchase of the Decoy Shop. The final step in production is painting. What do you think? Decoy of the left has some puppy tooth marks on the bill. Bills seemed to be a magnet for puppies. Dates to before 1975. Exc. $95
L. L. Bean Broadbill Pair. You may call them bluebills or scaup and we would all be right. This is a lousy photo of a very nice early Bean/Soule pair. Some shoe glue showing underneath dates them to the 60s. Yes, "shoe glue". Bean used the same glue they bonded leather to rubber on their Bean Boots on early Coastal models to seal the cork before painting them. Light rubs to head, an occasional handling mark are the only flaws. Never used. These are much better than the ones you see at auctions. EXC+ $159 for the pair. (THERE ARE MANY MORE L L BEAN/GEORGE SOULE DECOYS BELOW, SCROLL DOWN)
L. L. Bean Goldeneyes. This may be confusing, but I know you will understand my thoughts. I have two pairs of these particular whistlers. I am selling one pair. Somewhere around 1969 Bean offered their Coastal models with hand finished and hand painted heads. These are those. Carved nostirls, hand painting on heads and, on the hens, hand painting where the heads meet the bodies. Even have the nails of bills painted. These are special. Never used, Exc+ Price is for one pair, the other pair stays here. (I now have 5 Bean/Soule goldeneye pairs and each is different. I really would love to have the time to do more research and write a book about the Coastal era decoys.) Note the longer tail inserts, also. Later models had much shorter tails. You might look for years and never see another pair of unsed, hand finished headed Bean whistlers. I watch the auctions and I have never seen a pair like this offered. $219 Pair.
L. L. Bean Eider Drake. I have shown both sides of this regal gentleman. He has had some use and wears the scars with pride. Paint loss on tail, else just a random mark here or there. Exc. SOLD (det)
L. L. Bean Bargains. I couldn't resist the aliteration. Here are 4 honest Bean/Soule decoys priced for the faint of heart, the bargain hunters out there. Act fast or... Mallard Drake. Normal wear from use. VG++. (zyx) SOLD Black Duck Butt. Legs gone, repainted. Great user or try to get the newer paint off. They didn't make many of these. $59 Light Weight Canada Goose. Repainted. Ditto above. This is the first one of these light weight geese I have seen. Structurally perfect. (znt) SOLD Canada Goose. All original, normal in use wear. You may be able to get some of the scuffs of it. Way less than others of similar condition I have seen offered. (zut) SOLD
Oliveros (1941-1950s) Mallard Hen. (photo above, front left decoy) See Trayer, pp 269-270. I see not signs of use, but she is a little dirty. A careful bath would brighten her up immeasruablly. For some reason, there is white paint on the bottom of this decoy. Looks like someone set her down on a paint spot. I am guessing some acetone would take it off without hurting the canvas. No rubs anywhere. Exc- that could be made exc or better with some tlc. SOLD (cl)
Scott Cork Decoy Co.(1927-1954) Pintail Drake. (above photo, front right). This fine looking fellow is made of cork filled canvas and has a really pintaily look to him. One of the finer canvas decoys I have seen. He sports some light rubbs, mostly on the white sides. See Trayer, pp. 338-342) Ken told me it is a later, hand painted, model with all canvas bill. VG+ to Exc-. SOLD (ol)
Macal Dukoy Decoys. (1945-1955) Trayer, p. 241. Factory stamp still legible on bottom. Kapok filled canvas. Light in use wear on breast and sides of head. The stitching through to body takes some getting use to, but now I think he is fairly hansome. VG+ $50
If you do not have Ken Trayer's excellent book on factory decoys, we have signed copies available: Trayer, Kenneth L. North American Factory Decoys: A Pictorial Identification and Reference Guide. 2003. 1st ed. 415pp. The best book on the subject ever written. Don't leave home without it! SIGNED. VF in vf dj, exc+, new. $69.95
Rather than put individual pictures of each decoy on here, I am going to show you a pic of a bunch of them on the shelves ready to go hunting or into your collection. If you have questions about any them I can talk to you about it or send you pictures of those in question. This is a random sample of what I have on hand at present. It will change, sometimes daily, so call 740-698-5060 to get up to the minute availability or to place an order. Update: most of these decoys have sold, but the pic will give you an idea of what some of the speicies might look like.
Dale Dalrymple Wood Ducks. My latest pair. These have headed south to be used in South Carloina. I will make you one or more. All you have to do is place an order. Price per bird is $250.
Dale Dalrymple Brant. I made this pattern in 1999 and never used it until now. My two daughters worked on it with me, so noted on the pattern. I think it is the best pattern I have had. $250. (This one Sold, orders taken)
L. L. Bean Goldeneye (Whistler) pair. Exceptional pair of Bean goldeneyes, or whistlers as they are known in Maine. The hen has not been used, the drake has light wear from honest labor. No shotmarks, or any gouges in cork. Again, I show the poorer side if one is worse than another. Both sides of these two are virtually the same. Body size shows these were made any where from 1967 to 1993. Those are honest dates. (How many have you seen offered with dates much older? ). Condition is much more important than age when looking at many collectibles. But you knew that. (If you have been following the auctions, this is what a drake's head paint is supposed to look like. Beware elsewhere). You may have to look a long, long time before you find another pair this nice. Exc. Price is for the pair. $215.
L. L. Bean Blue-winged Teal Drake. I believe blue-winged teal were only offered by L L Bean for a year or two in the 1980's. As I do further research I will update you on this. Blue wings are the scarcest of the decoys Bean offered because they were offered for such a short period of time and because the real blue-wings were usually gone before most of our hunting seasons opened. A special teal season was not offered in most states, and blue-wings migrate earlier than any other ducks. Note the body color differences between the two shown. Even the wing templet was applied in different locations from bird to bird. It seems they made it for so short a time they couldn't get the kinks out. Both are Mint $300 each. (Mint means without blemish, as made. Too many of the sellers use it wrongly. See the bird below as an example. How many sellers would call the following Blue wing listing mint???? The buyer must beware when buying from the unknowing.)
A lovely Red-bellied Woodpecker committed suicide by window recently, so I made a pattern and carved these two likenesses. Both are spoken for, but I would attempt another if you want one. Also shown, and orders accepted for, mourning doves, downy woodpecker and rufous-sided towhee (aka eastern towhee). Price is each $55
via email: email@example.comI answer all emails. If you do not get a reply look in your spam or junk folder. Or call me, 740-698-5060!
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