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Dovetailed Black-Bellied Plover

Dovetailed Black-Bellied Plover

Item Description:

Dovetailed Black-Bellied Plover
Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, c. 1870
11 in. long

This hollow plover is an expertly crafted decoy. It was created by the same maker as lot 12 in this sale. The inside surfaces of the neck joint are stamped with a corresponding numeral “3.” The body was carefully hand hollowed, creating the lightest practical decoy possible. In addition to the dovetail, the form, paint, and construction feature a number of fine details virtually unseen in other makers’ works.

While the talented creator of this bird and the dovetailed goose decoy remain a mystery, their origins have been attributed to Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, where the dovetailed shorebirds and geese have been found, respectively.
Original paint with minimal even gunning wear, a small expertly crafted repair to back left corner of head joint.

Provenance: Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Collection

Literature: Loy S. Harrell, Jr., "Decoys: North America’s One Hundred Greatest," Iola, WI, 2000, pp. 176-177, exact decoy illustrated.
Gwladys Hopkins, "Massachusetts Masterpieces," Lincoln, MA, 2016, pp. 74-75 and pl. 20, rigmate illustrated.
Milton C. Weiler and William J. Mackey, Jr., "Classic Shorebird Decoys: A Portfolio of Paintings," New York, NY, 1971, pl. 20, related willet illustrated.
Laurence Sheehan, "The Sporting Life," New York, NY, 1992, p. 79, exact decoy illustrated.


Condition report requests can be made via email or by telephone ( or 617.536.0030). Any condition statement given is a courtesy to customers, Copley will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition.

$ 35000.00 ( Sold Price )


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Listed price: $30,000.00

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Dovetailed Black-Bellied Plover

Listed price: $30,000.00

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