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Goldeneye Drake, A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952)

Goldeneye Drake, A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952)

Item Description:

Goldeneye Drake
A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952)
East Harwich, MA, c. 1905
15 1/2 in. long, 6 1/2 in. wide

Hollow Crowell decoys are exceedingly rare. This example with its stunning paint is one of only a handful known to exist. Subtle intricacies of Crowell's best paint show multiple painting techniques employed, including blending to the head, pouncing to the shoulders, and cut-brush stippling to the sides, among others.

This early decoy is in a rare content or tucked-head posture. The back displays Crowell’s refined raised and carved primaries and fluted tail. The head reveals subtle rasping detail. The bottom board bears the Smith family "S” brand with "SW" representing Stanley W. Smith, Esq. (1869-1941) and "AP" representing his brother Albert P. Smith.

The Smiths were descendents of the Mayflower and their decoys are closely linked to the Willard rig of decoys found with the "JWW" brand on the bottom. The "JWW" rig was commissioned by John Ware Willard (1859-1914) who was the grandson of famous clock maker Simon Willard (1753-1848). Decoy historians Linda and Gene Kangas, in their well-researched article, "Connecting the Dots: Exploring the Provenance of Elmer Crowell's Decoys," discovered that the two owners of this decoy, Stanley Smith and Albert Smith, were close to Willard, who mentions the brothers by name in his will.
Excellent original paint with light gunning wear, some touch-up around body seam, and a reset bill.

Provenance: Stanley W. Smith, Esq. and Albert P. Smith Rig
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Collection

Literature: Stephen B. O'Brien, Jr. and Chelsie W. Olney, "Elmer Crowell: Father of American Bird Carving," Hingham, MA, 2018, exact bird illustrated.
Linda and Gene Kangas, "Connecting the Dots: Exploring the provenance of Elmer Crowell's decoys," Decoy Magazine, March/April 2010, front cover, pp.30-35, related example.


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.

$ 20000.00 ( Sold Price )


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Listed price: $25,000.00

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Goldeneye Drake, A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952)

Listed price: $25,000.00

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