By 1865 Harvey started producing decoys for the Montezuma Marsh hunters while working as a guide and market hunter. His earliest decoys, only recently discerned from other "early tackeye decoys", have uniquely broad flat bills and highly sophisticated paint. Decoys from this period do not have the lead filled ballast hole on the underside. The decoys, as with all early tackeye period decoys, have an oval shaped primer paint pattern on the underside. Harvey's first decoys are extremely rare; only 5 (with original paint) have been discovered so far (2021).
Characteristics of Harvey's first decoys:
· Very flat and broad bills.
· Concave head carving.
· Plump humped bodies with head forward on the body.
· The tail extends higher off the back of the decoy.
· Staple hole but no lead ballast hole.
· Primer colored oval on underside.
· No stencils, labels or brandings.
ABOVE: left 1865 model; next 1870 early tackeye and 1880 tackeye, and then glassyeye 1890.
BELOW: Tackeye group; left 1865 model, next 1870 early (or transitional) tackeye and then the 1880 tackeye period.
You can read more about the evolution of Stevens Decoys here.