"Ever since Joel Barber, the first known decoy collector,
started in 1918, decoys have become increasingly viewed as an important
of North American folk art. Barber's book Wild Fowl Decoys, was the first book on decoys as collectible objects. It was followed in 1965
by folk art dealer Adele Earnest's "The Art of the Decoy" and "American Bird Decoys" by collector Wm. F. Mackey.
By that time a milestone in collecting had already occurred
with the publication of "Decoy Collectors Guide", a small magazine
created by hobbyists Hal & Barbara Sorenson of Burlington, Iowa. The 'Guide' helped foster a sense of community and provided a forum for
collectors to share their research.
By the 1970s decoys were becoming big business, at least by
previous standards. The death of Wm. F. Mackey brought his decoys
in a series of auctions in 1973 and 1974, with the star of his collection, a Long-billed Curlew by Wm. 'Bill' Bowman selling for a record US$10,500.
Since the 1960s numerous collectors organizations have been
created, specialist books and magazines published, with specialist
dealers, and special
interest shows around the US and Canada. Canadian decoys are still believed to be the "sleepers" in the world of decoy popularity and are often
undervalued but are starting to gain recognition.
The former World Record price for an antique duck decoy at
auction: Red Breasted Merganser Hen by Lothrop Holmes for $856,000.
Guyette & Schmidt and Christie's New York. January 2007.
A new record was set when two decoys (Canadian goose and a
preening pintail drake) by A. Elmer Crowell of East Harwich,
MA were said to have sold for US$1.13 million dollars each in September, 2007. The record-setting decoys were sold in a larger collection of 31
decoys for $7.5 million in total so it remains for a single decoy to clearly break the $1 million mark." READ MORE ON THE HISTORY OF DECOYS