Tax, John Franklin – Osakis, Area 4, Minnesota

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John Tax is from the Lake Osakis Minnesota area. He is both a fish & duck decoy carver. In the magazine article from Decoy Magazine (Mar-Apri 1992) issue, he is discussed and identified as a Whittler. Some of John Tax’s goose decoys have auctioned for more than $40000 and a snow goose sold for over $100,000. So anything from John Tax appears to be a nice future value item.ed in his dad’s harness and shoe repair business and took over the business in 1928.

Follow this link for more info at Decoy Magazine

excerpt from the above link by Donna Tonelli

The most famous decoy maker from Minnesota is John Tax, and he might be the only early Minnesota maker whose work could be identified by the average collector. The most historically important decoys in the state are likely a group of canvasbacks that were made by a handful of little-known carvers for use at Heron Lake. But Minnesota, by far, produced more spear fishing decoys, and certainly the folkiest, than any other state.


excerpt from

Regional Decoy Traditions and Masters

Minnesota’ s most important carver, John Tax (d. 1967) of West Union, was a harness maker who made a large rig of goose decoys for his own use in 1917. Since he intended to use them in the corn fields that the geese frequented in the fall and winter, Tax mounted all the birds on iron poles which he could push into the ground for stability. The rig included decoys of Canada, snow and blue geese (a color phase of the snow goose) with laminated bodies carved in a variety of forms-alert watch ganders with their necks stretched up to full length, standers with their heads cocked in different directions, feeders with their necks arching and bending toward the ground, and resting birds with their heads tucked close into their chests. No two birds in the rig were exactly alike.



Photo provided by Ron Holloway
eBay ID holloway47

More info on John Tax in an article written by Donna Tonelli

John Tax – A Minnesota Whittler from the Shores of Lake Osakis

Decoys Magazine Pages 8-11, March/April 1992 Issue.

Also more on John Tax in the Decoy Magazine Issue January/February 1995, Pg 28-30

 John is called the “Last of the Prairie Carvers”

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