Oscar Peterson Fish Decoys, ca. 1932
Appraised Value: $12,100 - $12,300
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (3:33)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Musical Instruments
Ken Farmer Auctions, LLC
GUEST: I was born up by Cadillac, Michigan. Lived in a town, McBain, and my dad was a farmer, and did a lot of ice fishing in the winter because there was not a lot to do on the farm in the winter. And he passed away when I was 15 and I always liked these things. I played with them a little bit and it was one of the things that I took when we sold the farm and moved to town.
APPRAISER: Of course, these are... these are by Oscar Peterson. But did you tell me that your dad bought them from Oscar Peterson?
GUEST: Yeah, they tell me that my dad and my uncle, they... who did a lot of ice fishing. They would go to Cadillac, and I guess he sold these out of his garage. They would go there and he'd have his whole garage hanging full of these, some painted, some unpainted. And that's where they would buy them.
APPRAISER: Oscar Peterson was from Cadillac, Michigan, and it's my understanding that Peterson sold a lot of these to tourists and then I guess he sold them to people like your dad that actually might have used them. They look like they might have been in the water a couple times.
GUEST: Oh yeah. I've even fished with them.
APPRAISER: Oh yeah?
GUEST: They work rather well.
APPRAISER: I say, did you catch anything?
GUEST: No, not that I can recall. But I know my dad speared a lot of fish around these, so...
APPRAISER: Peterson used imagination and... the thing that's cool about his stuff, too, is that he did make a lot of them, but he didn't lose that enthusiasm for the way that he carved them or the way that he decorated them. And I always look for the way he turned the mouth, and one thing that you really got to watch out for with these is that there's a lot of reproductions and out-and-out fakes. There's no doubt that these are the real deal right here. And the larger they are, generally, the better they are. And, of course, condition enters into that. You've got a few little places on the fins and stuff, but basically really, really good paint. What do you think they're worth?
GUEST: Well, I've been told by guys they're worth 30 bucks or different people. I've never had them appraised. And then other people that I told I had them, they probably said, "Oh, maybe they're worth $500, $600, $700, $800 maybe." But other than that, I don't really know the value.
APPRAISER: Let's start right here. I think in a retail setting the $600 or $800 is probably accurate for that. Now, both of the ones on top-- this perch and the big trout-- each one of those is easily worth $3,500 retail.
GUEST: Each one?
APPRAISER: Each one.
GUEST: Well, that's a lot more...
APPRAISER: Because of the size.
APPRAISER: And believe it or not, I was looking online and one of those trout like that-- what is he, about eight inches?
APPRAISER: Sold for $4,500.
GUEST: Wow. That's a lot more than I thought. (laughing) They were worth hanging onto. I carted them with me for a lot of years, you know, so anything I got out of them, that's more than I really expected. Makes me feel good.
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