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Duck stamp "award" sparks debate

The 1999 "Copy-Cat Award," issued annually by Bob Dumaine in his review of state duck stamps, was given to Nevada for the similarity between their 1979 and 1999 duck stamps.

We quickly heard from the 1999 stamp artist, Sherrie Russell Meline, stating that Nevada, "required artists to submit the Tule decoy as the primary subject matter of their 1999 duck stamp program to commemorate their 20th anniversary stamp. They, in fact, even provided artists with a reference photo of the decoy to use."

However, we later heard from a collector in Colorado, who was rather vociferious in blasting Meline for what he considers the "theft" of Larry Hayden’s artwork.

The collector did not compare stamp art to stamp art, but compared the similarity of Meline’s winning design to the folio cover of Hayden’s 1979 print. Saying that "if the 1999 wasn’t a direct lift from Hayden’s cover, she (Meline) must have had some sort of vision."

We contacted Meline with this allegation and her response was, "Although Larry Hayden’s superb artwork had a definite impact on me 20 years ago, I feel I have my own style. I am familiar with his 1979 duck stamp image – I have NEVER seen the cover art. The final art I submitted was not a ‘vision’; just hours of composing and recomposing. I guess the only explanation might be that ‘great minds’ think alike."

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