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Collectors Shell Out for Decoys

Collectors flocked to Sotheby’s and set their sights on more than 600 waterfowl decoys that sold for nearly $11 million.

The two-day auction included a world record price for a decoy – $684,500 for a 1917 decoy described as an "outstanding sleeping Canada goose."

The pristine piece, a demonstration decoy that never touched water, was sold to an anonymous buyer. The price shattered the previous record of $335,000 set in 1997 for an 1890 "running curlew" decoy.

The 1997 record was also broken three other times, when collectors shelled out $470,000 for a 19th century "ruddy turnstone"; $464,500 for a 19th century "long-billed curlew" and $354,500 for an early 20th century "important wood drake duck."

None of the buyers was identified.

The decoys were from the collection of Dr. James M. McCleery. The total sale of nearly $11 million far eclipsed pre-sale estimates of $5 million to $6 million.

"These are antique pieces that represent something from another era when the craftsmanship was amazing," said Nancy Druckman, head of Sotheby’s American Folk Art department. "It’s very sophisticated art."

Associate Press wire story

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