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Wooden Duck Decoy Collecting

Updated on February 3, 2015

Collecting Wooden Duck Decoy's

Wood Duck Decoy Collecting-Today's artisans can carve beautiful and intricate duck decoys that demand hundreds of dollars each and never give a thought to the fact that their masterpieces may someday be floating in a marsh or a stream on a rainy autumn day.

This act of carving wooden duck decoys solely for art's sake is a relatively new phenomenon, in fact it''s probably been only within the last few decades that duck decoy carving has been performed by some exclusively as a form of artistic expression.

I'm sure you can find a carver or two that still carves working decoys, but likewise I'm sure you will find they are scarce. In it's heyday a wooden duck decoy was a working duck decoy and was treated as a tool. Today some of the most highly sought after decoys are old, weathered, and worn and will probably never see the outdoors again.

I wonder if these early American artisans would have approached their craft differently had they known that their work would one day become a highly sought after collectible?.

Image Credit: lunamarina -

Is Duck Decoy Collecting Expensive ?

Building a duck decoy collection can get costly and quick, but it doesn't have to. Although highly sought after artists and rare finds can easily go into the hundreds and sometime thousands for a single piece, you can opt to start a collection with a few smaller priced pieces.

Duck decoys can be found in lots or as individual pieces. You may consider even buying an established collection. Like any collection, you can throw a lot of money at , if you have it. Or, you can take your time and build up piece by piece, passing on items that are over priced or out of your personal range. Many wood duck decoy collectors opt for quality versus quantity when choosing for their collections.

If you decide to collect vintage or antique wood duck decoys, you'll know soon enough what fits your budget and what does not. With a little diligence you should be able to easily find a nice vintage decoy on e-bay at an affordable price. The e-bay lists are further on in this lens.

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What To Do With A Damaged Decoy ?

Question: If I have a damaged wooden decoy should I repair it ?

Answer: That will depend on the extent of the damage, whether or not it's a working decoy and whether the repairs will affect the history or the value of the decoy. It's always best to tread carefully and consult a professional before deciding to repair or restore your damaged wood duck decoy. see The Chesapeake Old Decoys web site

An excerpt taken from a page at

-----"The purpose of Decoy restoration is to protect, preserve and enhance the value of the decoy." and "Correctly done, decoy restoration does not remove any relevant aspects of provenance."-----

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How to Display a Duck Decoy Collection

There is probably no wrong way to display your duck decoy collection and because of the shape and style they can often be displayed on shelves, mantles or coffee tables.

If there is a metal or wood keel attached you will have to make some minor accommodations by resting the decoy from it's ends. You can of course remove the dangling parts, but then you run the risk of damaging the decoy or ultimately separating it form it's keel. Many a part has been put in a safe place for later retrieval only to be sent to places unknown.

The easiest way to display duck decoys is to employ wood or plastic stands and if you have the materials available duck decoys are often seen mounted or resting on driftwood stands.

Image Credit: gannonsantiques at

The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum

The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum is located at; 215 Gile Street, Havre de Grace, MD 21078. The museum is a testament to the history and artistry of decoy carving and usage on the Susquehanna Flats.

If you cannot make a visit to the museum in Maryland you might take a moment to enjoy their website The museum is a small non profit that houses many permanent exhibits and is run by donors and volunteers. They are accepting donations and have gift shop items for sale that also help the cause.

Image credit: Havre de Grace Decoy Museum

Are You a Duck Decoy Collector?

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    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I have always loved duck decoys, but I don't have any and am reticent to add another collection to my dwindling space. I will have to return here to delight in them!

    • BobZau profile image

      Bob Zau 5 years ago

      @Rosaquid: This makes me smile... Thank you for sharing.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      My father left a lovely one behind when he died. His brother was a duck hunter.

    • BobZau profile image

      Bob Zau 5 years ago

      I've seen plenty of old Duck Decoys at auctions and am ready to start bidding.