Folk Art Fish Decoys, ca. 1930
Appraised Value: $2,500 (1998)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
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Period / Style: 1930s
Value Range: $2,500
Appraisal Video: (2:20)
GUEST: I collected fishing tackle for a number of years.
GUEST: And kind of progressed into the ice fishing decoys. I just love the folk art form of them.
APPRAISER: Right. So where did you find the decoy, actually?
GUEST: The large one was actually purchased at an auction by my wife, and then given to me for Christmas.
GUEST: And the smaller ones, one was a gift from my mother, and the other one I picked up at a tag sale in Connecticut, actually.
APPRAISER: First of all, let me say there's a whole group of people that collect fish decoys. And these were used, as you know, for ice fishing. And basically, the fishermen would go out and drill the large hole, of course, with a shack above it, usually, if it was bad weather, and drill some smaller holes around that big hole and let these decoys down through the ice, and they would just dangle there in the water. And then fish would come up. This is probably a pike, I'd guess, would you say?
GUEST: Or maybe a muskie.
APPRAISER: Or maybe a muskie. A big, big fish. Really mean looking teeth, nice brass tack. But to a big fish coming along, a muskie or a pike, he might say, "Hey, it looks pretty safe over there." You know, "Look at that-- that fish is hanging out, and so I can, too." It's one of the biggest folk art decoys that I've seen. It has its original paint, these wonderful spots, the original tin. And you can see these three holes, and that's what they, of course, hung it from. It's just a really nice, powerful decoy, okay? The other two that you brought in are nice small examples. And these would have been probably simulating either trout or some kind of a...wouldn't you say... A perch, maybe? This looks like a perch here. And they have nice original paint with the dots and the green. And generally to collectors, the ones that bring them more money are ones that are curved or that have really nice paint, I think, like this, this nice striping. So these are fun. These would be great Christmas tree ornaments. Do you use them at Christmas?
GUEST: I used to have them hanging all around the house.
APPRAISER: Did you really?
APPRAISER: This one, probably worth around $250 to $300, this one about the same. And this, this would be worth upwards of about $2,000 retail.
GUEST: Wow. My wife will be very pleased.
APPRAISER: What did she pay for it?
APPRAISER: She did a great job.
GUEST: I'm very happy.
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