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The Humbracht Standing Goose, Charles S. Schoenheider, Sr. (1854-1924)

The Humbracht Standing Goose, Charles S. Schoenheider, Sr. (1854-1924)

Item Description:

The Humbracht Standing Goose
Charles S. Schoenheider, Sr. (1854-1924)
Peoria, IL, c. 1918
20 3/4 in. tall and 23 1/2 in. long

While Schoenheider produced very few decoys, the carver’s impact on the region’s decoy portfolio was significant. Although he carved many species of floating decoys, mallards, pintails, and Canada geese were the only species represented in his standing carvings which were balanced on one metal foot. His famous goose rig was originally commissioned by Daniel W. Vorhees in 1918 and consisted of only ten standing and two floating goose decoys.

This decoy was obtained c. 1967 by major midwest decoy collector William Humbracht, of Bartlett, Illinois. According to Americana collector and decoy specialist Randy Root, Humbracht started collecting as early as the 1940s and had a diverse collection that included American furniture, frackturs, and Kentucky rifles. Ahead of his time, Humbracht focused on quality. A testament to the high standard he set, upon his death, when the collection was sold at Oliver’s auction in 1988, Jackson Parker reported Humbracht’s one-hundred-and-thirty Illinois River decoys selling for a (then astonishing) average of over $3,440 per lot.

The Humbracht goose, known for its exceptional form, condition, and paint, was one of the top picks from the Schoenheider rig. It features the maker’s laminated construction, original cast-metal foot, and minimal flaking. "Chas S" is written in pencil twice on the left flank.

Adele Earnest was an early champion of this rig and acquired four of the geese. She featured two examples in her 1984 book, "Folk Art in America: A Personal View." Two of the Earnest birds were acquired by Donal C. O’Brien, Jr., one of which was subsequently traded to the Shelburne Museum. The Shelburne goose most recently graced the cover of the museum’s 2017 book, “Birds of a Feather,” where it is described as "one of the crown jewels of the collection." The other O’Brien goose recently set a world-record price for the maker and for any Midwestern goose decoy at auction. Noted Illinois River decoy collector Thomas K. Figge also acquired two examples, featuring one in “Masterworks of the Illinois River.”

The Humbracht goose relates closely to the O'Brien goose and the Shelburne Museum goose. This exact bird was prominently featured on the cover of the September/October 1988 issue of Decoy Magazine above the title "Schoenheider Standing Goose Breaks Record Price at Auction." In the same year, it again took center stage in the magazine’s Year In Review issue as the top decoy of the year, surpassing a Caines Brothers mallard, a Crowell Cunningham rig bufflehead, and a Boyd hissing Canada goose.

With its grand presence, excellent condition, original foot, and strong provenance, this is one of the finest Schoenheider decoys to ever cross the auction block. Original paint with minimal wear, some minor flaking on back of neck, old touch-up to cheeks, and some green paint rubs on back. Original foot.

Provenance: Charles Schoenheider, Jr., by descent in the family
Joe Tonelli, acquired from the above
Daryl Drennen, acquired from the above
William Humbracht Collection, acquired from the above c. 1967
Private Collection, Virginia
Private Collection, Midwest

Literature: Decoy Magazine, The 1988 Year in Review,1989, cover, pp. 3 and 5, exact decoy illustrated. Decoy Magazine, September/October 1988, cover, p. 3, exact decoy illustrated.
Adele Earnest, "Folk Art In America," Exton, PA, 1984, p. 132, rigmates illustrated. Robert Shaw, “Bird Decoys of North America,” New York, NY, 2010, pp. 246-247, rigmate decoys illustrated.
Loy S. Harrell, Jr., "Decoys: North America’s One Hundred Greatest," Iola, WI, 2000, pp. 184-185, rigmate illustrated.
Kory W. Rogers, “Birds of a Feather,” Shelburne, VT, 2017, front cover and pp. 132-133, rigmate illustrated.
Copley Fine Art Auctions, “The Donal C O’Brien, Jr. Collection of Important American Sporting Art and Decoys, Session III,” Hingham, MA, July 19, 2018, back cover and lot 20, rigmate illustrated.
Stephen B. O'Brien, Jr. and Julie Carlson, "Masterworks of the Illinois River," Boston, MA, 2005, p. 45, rigmate illustrated. Robert Bishop, "American Folk Sculpture," New York, NY, 1985, p. 293, pl. 539, related example 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.

$ 108000.00 ( Sold Price )


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Listed price: $100,000.00

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The Humbracht Standing Goose, Charles S. Schoenheider, Sr. (1854-1924)

Listed price: $100,000.00

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