Cape Cod Wood Duck
Many great decoy makers and decoys came from Massachusetts, but the two most famous old timers would be Elmer Crowell (1862-1952) from East Harwich and Joe Lincoln (1859-1938) of Accord. There is no doubt that if 100 decoy experts were polled, Crowell and Lincoln would be in the top ten and quite possibly the top five. There is a small history of Crowell in the “Shorebird” section above.
I saw this gorgeous Joe Lincoln Wood Duck decoy for the first time on the cover of Dr. George Ross Starr’s wonderful book DECOYS OF THE ATLANTIC FLYWAY and I knew that I wanted to include it in my “Classic Miniature” decoy collection. I knew Doc from the various decoy and wildlife art shows and spent many hours in smoky motel rooms while he “held court” in his billowing nightshirt with a toddy in one hand and a cigarette in the other, regaling everyone with his stories until the wee hours. When I visited Doc and his wife Barbara in Duxbury, it was one of the best days I’ve ever had. When I picked up the Joe Lincoln Wood Duck in Doc’s study, it was, at the time, like handling the Holy Grail. I ended up using several of Doc’s decoys in the miniature collection.
Joe Lincoln’s decoys are hollow and extremely light, with crisp, clean lines and symmetry that is legendary among collectors. His paint patterns are stylized with almost a “contemporary” look with hard edges, unlike the “painterly” blending of Crowell’s paint. Doc Starr’s Lincoln Woodie sold for $205,000 in 1986. Today it would probably be close to a million dollars.