The Delph Perdew Crow Call
Charles H. Perdew (1874-1963)
Henry, IL, c. 1935
5 1/2 in. long, 1 5/8 in. diameter
"From the early 1900s when Charlie Perdew established himself as an independent businessman in the town of Henry, until the last years of his life, Charlie was recognized as the maker of one of the finest crow callers ever crafted." ? Ann Tandy Lacy, "Perdew: An Illinois River Tradition"
?Charlie?s penchant to vary his standard wares is especially evident in one particular Fancy Crow Call that features a single crow silhouetted against a painted forest background and accented with indented stippling?? writes Donna Tonelli in discussing this exact call. ?At first glance it appears to be a duck call barrel, with brass shim bands around the top and bottom of the barrel. Although Charlie painted most of his fancy calls, the refined brushstrokes of the forest background suggests that this was Edna?s work.?
This is believed to be the finest Perdew crow call known and perhaps the finest by any maker. Its sale in 2000 appears to have set the record for a crow call. The front of the oversized call showcases a large crow with raised wings and a glass eye and open beak in a forest setting. The bird is over two inches long. The crow portrait is framed with ornate decorative carving with scalloped edges. The hunter?s initials, "F.E.L.," are incised and painted gold within a decorative teardrop design.
The top of the call bears the maker's "CHAS. H. PERDEW, HENRY, ILL." stamp. Copper bands were used to secure the ends of the red cedar barrel. The inside and top of the call are painted as black as a crow.
"Shooting Mr. Crow: The famous Perdew Crow Call and Charlie's Crow Decoys" is the title of the forty-page-long Chapter 2 in the monograph on Perdew. Several "fancy" calls are illustrated.
?From the 1930s to the 1950s Perdew created a few Fancy Crow Calls, which some collectors would argue are among his finest folk art creations.? ? Donna Tonelli
Original paint with minimal wear and full functionality.
Provenance: John Delph Collection
Mark Smith Collection
Literature: Ann Tandy Lacy, "Perdew: An Illinois River Tradition," Indianapolis, IN, 1993, p. 32-71, "Mr. Crow" chapter.
Donna Tonelli, "Fish and Fowl Decoys of the Great Lakes," Atglen, PA, 2002, front dust-jacket cover and pp. 148-149, fancy crow calls illustrated and discussed.
Jackson Parker, "Auction News," Decoy Magazine, May/June 2000, p. 41, exact call illustrated.
Donna Tonelli, "Crow Hunting with Charlie," Decoy Magazine, January/February, 2006, p. 29, exact call illustrated twice.
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