Decoy auction record

This pair of decoys carved by Doug Jester of Chincoteague, Va., sold for $21,600 in a recent Guyette & Deeter auction. It was a world auction record for Jester’s work.

The Guyette & Deeter Inc. Decoy Auction Company conducted their annual fall decoy auction on Nov. 10 and 11 at the Talbot County Community Center in Easton, Md. For the first time since 2019, the auction was held live with an audience onsite. The sale was accompanied by a 50-table decoy dealer show, as well as an outdoor tailgate at the same facility.

Prices through the sale continued to be high, with the sale grossing near the high estimate, totaling $4.6 million. Three lots sold for more than $100,000 each, and 82 sold for more than $10,000 each.

The sale was highlighted by two goose decoys made circa 1920 by Wisconsin carver Mandt Homme, one selling for a world auction record price for Homme, at $156,000, and the other selling for $144,000. Another notable piece was a cigar-store “Indian princess” that sold for $570,000.

A pair of hooded mergansers (hairy heads) carved by Chincoteague, Va., carver Doug Jester (1876-1961) sold for five times their auction estimate, at $21,600. That is a world auction record for Jester, who was one of the Virginia carvers featured in the book “Southern Decoys” by Henry Fleckenstein.

Other Chincoteague carvers represented in the sale were Miles Hancock and Ira Hudson. The top price paid for a Virginia decoy at the sale was $96,000, for a goose by Eli Doughty (1844-1923) of Hog Island, Va.

The sale featured many collections, highlighted by the Charlie Hunter, III collection. Other collections included were those of Virginia and Jonathan Chua, Dr. John Dinan, John and Vickie Forbes, Norma and John Gass, Dick and Lynn Gove, Dale and Gary Guyette, Lynwood Herrington, Gene and Linda Kangas, Don Kirson, Dr. Preston Lowe, Gen. Warren Magruder, and other collections from across the United States and Canada.

Many world auction records for carves were set in the sale. New high marks were set for Miles Hancock, Captain Frank Newnam, Mandt Homme, George Skerry, Harry Ellison, Eli Doughty, Ron Tepley, Ned Burgess, Otto Weinert, Doug Jester, Carl Wagner and Lee Lester.

Guyette & Deeter Inc., established in 1984, is the world’s largest decoy auction firm, with more than $215 million in decoy sales. They hold three cataloged auctions per year, in Lombard, Ill., in April; in Portsmouth, N.H., in July; and in Easton, Md., in November. For more details, visit their website at www.guyetteanddeeter.com. The firm also conducts weekly online auctions at www.decoysforsale.com.

Guyette & Deeter provides free and confidential decoy appraisals to anyone sending a decoy photo and stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Guyette & Deeter, P.O. Box 1170, St. Michaels, MD 21663. Email can be sent to Gary Guyette at decoys@guyetteanddeeter.com or call (410) 924-5678, or Jon Deeter at jdeeter@guyetteanddeeter.com or call (410) 440-1768.