A couple of old-style characters use old-style methods to make a contemporary "antique" goose.

By: Bill Kennedy and R.D. Wilson
Photography by Bill Kennedy and RD Wilson

This is the finished goose after we rubbed it with an old bath towel and Scotchbrite pads. When hand rubbing a bird, just keep at it until you get the level of paint wear and patina that satisfies you. This kind of rubbing can take a number of hours.

Contemporary antique decoys have become a new trend in an old folk art, one that has been gaining popularity over the last few years. This artistic style falls somewhere between the real deal—the old collectible decoys—and the modern decorative style of carved and painted birds. As appreciation for this style spreads, many folks have begun collecting these contemporary antique decoys. Numerous carving competitions have added contemporary antique categories, and even more interesting, these new creations are flying off the tables at decoy and art shows. 

One reason behind the popularity of contemporary old- style decoys is the ever-increasing value of the truly vintage birds. It wasn't long ago that you could purchase mass produced, factory wooden decoys for reasonable money at local flea markets, but even these birds now fetch top prices. People who want to decorate offices and homes with the antique sporting look can still afford to have a newly carved decoy that looks old. That may not be the case for long, however, since even these contemporary antique decoys are rising in value.

This article is from the Spring 2010 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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