HINGHAM, MASS. — Copley Fine Art Auction’s March 4-5 sale showed the continuing strength of the market for decoys and fine sporting art. An exceptional pair of wood ducks made by Connecticut master decoy maker Shang Wheeler, about 1935, brought the highest price of the sale at $216,000. The pair was well-known to collectors, having frequently been written about and included in exhibitions; provenance included the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection. The sale included three other decoys that sold for more than $100,000 each, one that earned $96,000, and several sporting paintings that brought prices in the high five figures. A particular strength of the sale was the very large selection of miniature carvings by masters such as Elmer Crowell, Alan King and several others. Stephen O’Brien wrote an introductory essay in the catalog about his early involvement with miniatures. An oil painting by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tate, “Dog With Three Quail” led the varied selection of sporting art, earning $90,000. Copley’s catalog descriptions are extensive and informative.
There’s much to say about this sale and a full report will follow.
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