The McCleery G.K. Schmidt Rig Mallard Pair
Mason Decoy Factory (1896-1924)
Detroit, MI, c. 1900
17 1/4 in. long
"PREMIER MALLARD PAIR, ca. 1900. Rigmates in unused condition. Mason's finest style. Famous G.K. Schmidt brand." " Goldberger and Haid discussing this exact pair in "Mason Decoys"
As fine as they come, an exceedingly rare and important hollow mallard pair in unused condition. According to decoy historian and author Donna Tonelli, there are only a dozen of these Schmidt rig mallards known to exist. With beautifully swirled paint, "ribbon candy" speculums, snakey-neck form, and impeccable provenance, this pair ranks among the finest Mason decoys known to exist. The underside of each has the McCleery Collection ink stamp, a Lellos Collection "JL," and the large Schmidt rig brand. The hen also has the small Schmidt brand.
This legendary Schmidt rig was commissioned by George K. Schmidt (1869-1939), the president of the Prudential State Savings Bank in Chicago. From approximately 1930 to 1970, this rig was essentially held in a time capsule residing in a bank. Dr. James M. McCleery selected this pair for his incomparable Mason collection. Since then they have been the most prized mallards among collectors and were selected to represent the rig in the leading book on the maker.
Outstanding original paint with minimal wear, drake has hairline crack at back of neck seam.
Provenance: G.K. Schmidt Rig
John Lellos Collection
Dr. James M. McCleery Collection
John Delph Collection
Mark Smith Collection
Literature: Russ J. Goldberger and Alan Haid, "Mason Decoys: A Pictorial Guide," "Updated Edition," Lewes, DE, 2014, p. 21, exact pair illustrated, p. 23, exact hen illustrated.
Sotheby's and Guyette and Schmidt, "American Waterfowl Decoys: The Distinguished Collection of Dr. James M. McCleery," New York, NY, January 22"23, 2000, lots 439 and 440, exact decoys illustrated.
Joe Engers, ed. "2004 Year in Review," Decoy Magazine, 2004, p. 13, exact decoys illustrated.
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