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|Crowell Working Decoys|
A.E. “Elmer” Crowell was a turn of the century waterfowl guide and decoy carver on Cape Cod whose prolific work over the first half of the twentieth century became the gold standard of decoy and shorebird carving.
Living in East Harwich all his life, Crowell developed his craft with a meticulous attention to detail, which eventually brought notoriety to his work and his working decoys were in great demand. Crowell put out an extraordinary amount of work in his life, but even with the significant amount of work, the value was never diminished due to his remarkably meticulous methods of carving and painting which imbued his work with great realism. Interestingly, these works of art weren’t just meant for museum shelves, but were working decoys that saw many a cold morning and were used extensively by their owners. Crowell did do a great deal of decorative decoy and shorebird carvings and these works show an even greater attention to detail, and his miniatures number in the thousands, created over his 50-year working career.
This one-of-a-kind working pintail is a great example of Crowell’s working decoy. One can only imagine the number of sunrises this decoy witnessed, the number of flights of birds, the retrieves. It shows it’s heritage with a few shot holes from birds shot a bit too low, but its warmth, aged patina and the knowledge that this bird came from the hand of Elmer Crowell make it well worth its price of $35,000. Given the respect and ever accruing value of Crowell’s work, this decoy can only increase in value.
Collector Alan Haid who is offering this wonderful bird is a well recognized and respected collector and authority on American decoys. He authored Decoys of the Mississippi Flyway in 1981, which is the definitive work for that area. He wrote Mason Decoys, A Complete Pictorial Guide and the revised edition. He was the decoy columnist for Sporting Classics. He has been on the board of the Midwest Decoy Collectors Association since 1978 and Chairman of the Classic Antique Waterfowl Decoys Exhibit.