NEPTUNE – American Antiques Company, 1318 Corlies Ave., will be hosting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, an evening of duck decoy appraisals and a Q&A with Jon Frank of Frank & Frank Sporting Collectibles in Howell.
Frank is a leading national authority on duck decoys and is an appraiser for the auction houses of Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Freeman’s. There is no fee to attend the event, but preregistration is requested to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 877-992-6847.
During the event, Frank will touch upon the history of duck decoy collecting on the Jersey Shore. As many decoy collectors know, New Jersey has long been known for its rich history of water fowling. The early New Jersey decoy carvers were not actual artists that were making decoys as decorative objects, but were hunters with the sole purpose of making them to trap and hunt ducks and train hunting dogs. Condition, paint quality and form are the things most often looked at first by top collectors. Many decoys achieve value because they were made by carvers with highly regarded reputations.
New Jersey carvers developed a tradition of hollowing out decoys to reduce the weight of the boat’s gear. These Barnegat decoys are known as “dugouts” and except for the early types, are hollowed from white cedar. The decoys are made in two pieces, with hollowed carved bodies and attached pine heads. Weight is an important factor when loading a boat with a dog, a weapon, ammunition, food, a decoy rig, so hollowing out the decoys reduces some of this weight. The carving technique also adds value for collectors because of the extra work and skill required.
A serious collector realizes that while thousands of decoys were made, few survive today in their original condition. Jersey decoys were heavily used, and the salt water attacked their paint from the time they were tossed overboard. The common practice of repainting them after each hunting season makes it challenging to find examples of original paint. Few were used as decoration and when market hunting came to an end, thousands were used as firewood or thrown away.
Additional information is available by visiting americanantiquescompany.com or calling 877-992-6847.