Guest essay by Travis Bryant
Currently a Harvey Stevens Redhead Decoy is being offered on Ebay. See Listing. The auction will end on Sunday night 5/10/20. Currently the highest bid is $805, but I wanted to make everyone aware of the facts surrounding this decoy. It was first entered into the Stevens Decoy Database in 2017 and has had multiple updates since.
The first time it was added to the database was in December of 2017 after being posted on www.decoysforsale.com. The auction ended on 1/4/18 and the decoy brought $1645 at gavel.
Listing: Click Here
Auction Description: Original paint with moderate wear protected under a thin coat of varnish with fine white paint drips on back; many small dents on back; tight crack in tail; most of bill is replaced; head does not swivel.
This decoy most recently sold at the Copley Winter auction on 2/15/2020 for $350 gavel.
Listing: Click Here. You can see the Copley photos of this bird from February below. It does not look like the decoy was modified after it was purchased in 2018 and prior to selling it in February of 2020.
All Original Stevens Redhead for Reference
After being purchased in February of 2020 this decoy was modified as can be seen in the first two pictures above. The third picture is an all original Harvey Stevens Redhead. I will say the new bill is certainly closer to the original than the first attempt, but still a poor repair. Although I will not put a price on this decoys head, I hope you can use my evaluation below to help make your best decision.
Final Decoy Evaluation:
Circa 1890 (Glasseye Period)
Carved and painted by Harvey Stevens
Original worn paint on body with fine combing on back and nice original paint on breast. (Light coat of varnish is mentioned in the 2018 auction description but hard to see in photos)
Small specks of white paint found on decoy.
Of the 31 known Harvey Stevens Drake Redheads from the Glasseye Period this decoy would rank around 15th in regards to the quality of the original paint on the body.
Replaced eyes that are not properly recessed.
Unfortunately this decoy at minimum has had a significantly repaired bill, but it might be worse and the entire head could be a replacement.
Touch up paint to head.
The head does not swivel (Indicated in the 2018 Auction Description) indicating it was repaired or glued/nailed to the body at one point. All Stevens Glasseye Period decoys should have a removable head.