World Record Prices for Fish Spearing Decoys at Auction, A Brief Historical Overview
By Gary L. Miller, Copyright 12/30/2020
This last November 21st a new world auction record for a fish decoy was set at Guyette & Deeter, Inc. of St. Michaels, Maryland when they hammered down a 15 ¼” Oscar Peterson glass eyed pike spearing decoy for a total sale price of $42,000. I’ve been following this market since the late 1970s and thought it might be interesting to review briefly the history of strong auction values.
In the early days of fish decoy collecting we didn’t pay much attention to claims of sale records. As it was a relatively new field prices were steadily rising and there seemed to be a new record after nearly every auction. All that changed in 1991.
Here’s a brief look at what led the market over the last 30 years:
Oscar Peterson 9″ glass eyed Brook Trout decoy. “For nearly a decade, this decoy held the record for the most valuable ever, fetching $18,700 in auction in New York at Sotheby’s in 1991. This record would not be surpassed until January of 2000.“ – fishdecoy.com.
Lake Chautauqua sucker (no size stated) by an unidentified New York carver. Sold at Sotheby’s in January, 2000 for $32,200. (Lot 192 January 22, 2000 Dr. James McCleery Collection).
Oscar Peterson 15 3/8” glass eyed pike decoy. Sold at Guyette & Schmidt (Lot #146) in April 22, 2004 for $19,800. A new record for Oscar Peterson but not nearly enough to beat out the Chautauqua sucker.
Lake Chautauqua 11” musky by an unidentified New York carver. Sold by Guyette & Schmidt (Lot #452) on July 28, 2007 for $34,500.
Lake Chautauqua 9 ¼” trout decoy by an unidentified New York carver. Sold by Guyette & Schmidt (Lot #454) on July 28, 2007 also for $34,500.
Hans Janner, Sr. 12” bass decoy. Sold by Guyette & Schmidt (Lot 112) on April 28, 2011 for $41,400.
Oscar Peterson 15 ¼” glass eyed pike decoy. Sold by Guyette & Deeter (lot #405) on November 21, 2020 for $42,000. The new “Champ” by a nose!