Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. summer decoy auction grosses $1.3 million

PORTLAND, Maine – Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. conducted their annual summer decoy auction on July 18-19, 2009. The auction was held at the Wyndham Hotel in Portland. The auction grossed just under $1.3 million with 36 lots each selling for over $10,000. As was the case in their April 2009 auction, prices remained steady. The top lot in the sale was a snow goose by John Tax, which sold for $55,200. An eider decoy from Deer Isle, Maine, sold over estimate at $46,575 and a pintail drake by John Blair Jr. (Philadelphia) sold for $54,625. The auction was accompanied by a 50-table decoy show with decoy dealers from all over the US.

Frank Schmidt and Gary Guyette assembled over 500 decoys and related items from collections and directly out of houses all over the United States and Canada. Prices for Ontario decoys, Pacific Coast decoys, fish plaques, and Maine decoys were particularly strong. The sale featured decoys from the collections of David Galliher, Joseph Hall, the estate of Barbara McFalls, Ed and Jane German, and Ginny and Charles Harvey.

A significant increase in Internet bidding was noted at this auction. Internet bidders usually bid on less expensive items at Guyette & Schmidt auctions, but at this one they bid on multi-thousand dollar items as well.

Guyette & Schmidt, Inc., established in 1984, is the world’s largest decoy auction firm. They hold three auctions per year and have sold over $120 million worth of decoys. Since 1989, Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. has dominated the decoy auction field, leading by large margins in most of the statistical categories (see “Decoy Magazine”), by which auction houses are measured. In January 2000, Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. in a one-time partnership with Sotheby’s, sold the decoy collection of Dr. James McCleery for $11 million. In January 2007 Guyette & Schmidt, Inc., in conjunction with Christie’s, sold the Alvin Freidman-Kein decoy collection for $2.3 million. In the sale a merganser hen circa 1870 by Lothrop Holmes was sold for the current auction record for any decoy at $856,000.

Highlights from the Joseph B. French collection, which will be auctioned by Guyette & Schmidt in April 2010, were exhibited after the July 18-19 sale. This will be a landmark auction and one of the most significant since the sale of the collection of Dr. James McCleery in 2000.

Highlights from the Joseph B. French collection will continue to be on tour in the eastern United States during the coming fall and winter. Show stops will include the Chatham, Mass., Antique Show & Sale Sep. 18-20; Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show, Tuckerton, N.J., Sep. 26-27; and the Easton, Md., Waterfowl Festival Nov. 13-15; Long Island Decoy Show in Patchogue, N.Y., Feb. 28, 2010; Ohio Decoy Collectors Show, Westlake, Ohio, March 20; Duxbury, Mass., Antique Show, March 27; East Coast Decoy Collectors Show, St. Michaels, Md., April 8.

Guyette & Schmidt, Inc.’s next decoy sale will be held Nov. 11-12, at the Talbot County Community Center in Easton, Md. To preview the decoys that will be sold in this auction, go to The auction will be held in conjunction with the Easton Waterfowl Festival and have a 75-table decoy show. Another 100 vendors sell decoys in the parking lot.

Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. provides free decoy appraisals to anyone sending a decoy photo and stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Guyette & Schmidt, Inc., PO Box 1170, St. Michaels, MD 21663.

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Photos courtesy of Guyette & Schmidt.