St. Charles, Illinois - Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. conducted their annual spring decoy auction on April 26 & 27 at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois. The auction was held in conjunction with the National Antique Decoy & Sporting Collectibles Show and grossed $5,021,131. The sale pushed Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. total sales to over $100,000,000. The crowd was large and the prices were high with 11 decoys selling for over $100,000 and 88 lots sold for over $10,000. The $7,821 average price per selling lot was the highest ever for Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. In all statistical categories the auction was only second to the January 2000 sale of the Dr. James McCleery collection, which was a joint effort between Guyette & Schmidt, Inc. and Sotheby's.
One of the most interesting aspects of this auction was that it contained many quality decoys that had sold at auction previously and therefore presented a great look at how the decoy auction market is evolving. Once again a great decoy, a curlew by William Bowman, which sold at the Jim McCleery auction in 2000 for $87,750 brought a huge return selling this time around for $313,000. Other examples were a Crowell dust jacket style black bellied plover, purchased for $55,000 in 1986, brought $291,000. A Crowell dust jacket style upright plover, purchased in 1991 for $22,000, brought $137,000. A Crowell feeding semi palmated plover purchased for $22,000 in 1991 brought $214,000.
Other highlights from the sale include a dowitcher by William Bowman that sold for $137,000. A John Williams ruddy duck established a world record for the carver when it sold for $159,000. It sold for $39,600 in 1990. A Walter Brady Canada goose that sold for $55,000 in 1990 sold at this auction for $126,000 and a Nathan Cobb curlew that sold for $31,000 in 1991 brought $258,000 at this sale. An Ira Hudson yellowlegs sold over estimate at $80,500 and had sold in 1990 for $23,650.
A world auction record for an Illinois River decoy was established when a sleeping mallard hen by Charles Perdew sold well over estimate at $252,000. World record auction prices were established for many decoy makers including: John Dilley, Charles Perdew, Jim Holly, John Williams, Walter Brady, John Schweikart, Elisha Burr, Oscar Alford, Walter Peltzer, Frank Reeves, William Chrysler, Robert Morse, Michael Vallero, Hank Caton, and Orrin Hiltz