Special-Order Willet Mason Decoy Factory (1896-1924) Detroit, MI, c. 1900 15 in. long
An extremely rare special-order decoy influenced by the work of Massachusetts shorebird carver Charles W. Thomas (b. 1875) of Assinnippi. Measuring fifteen inches in length, these grand carvings are almost as large as Mason curlew.
Only five of its type are known to exist. Of these, two have holes drilled through the sides for attachment to a fireplace mantle. Many consider this near mint example the best among the handful known to have survived.
Top flight collectors have long coveted these rare Masons, including William J. Mackey, Jr., William J. Butler, Jr., John Delph, John Lellos, and Dr. James M. McCeery. Original paint with minimal gunning wear.
Provenance: Wallace Furman Collection Gordon and Virginia Hayes Collection, acquired from the above, 1961 Mark Smith Collection, acquired 2002
Literature: Russ J. Goldberger and Alan G. Haid, "Mason Decoys: A Complete Pictorial Guide," Lewes, DE, 2014, p. 117, related example illustrated. Hal Sorenson, Decoy Collector’s Guide, 1977, p. 39, related example illustrated. Guyette and Schmidt, "North American Decoys At Auction," July 2002, front cover and lot 543, exact decoy illustrated.
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