Copley’s Sporting Sale 2016 Flies to $1.4 Million

  • HINGHAM, Massachusetts
  • /
  • August 23, 2016

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Lothrop Holmes (1824-1899), Black-Bellied Plover, c. 1880, Sold for $144,000
Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC,

Copley Fine Art Auctions (, the nation’s premier sporting art auction house, continued to build its market dominance when it realized over $1.4 million in sales at the Sporting Sale 2016, held on July 24th in Plymouth, Massachusetts. There was robust bidding across all categories, including paintings, prints, folk art, and antique and contemporary decoy carvings. The auction was 90% sold by lot, extending Copley’s stellar track record.

The top painting lot of the sale was Andrew Wyeth’s watercolor Terns on Little Green Island, Maine, which sold for $63,000. In second was noted American illustrator and sporting artist A.B. Frost’s Grouse Shooting in the Rhododendrons, which sold for $57,000, solidly within its $50/70,000 estimate.

Lothrop Holmes’ black-bellied plover was the top decoy lot, which brought an impressive $144,000. This sale signaled continued strength at the highest end of the market and Copley’s ability to capture bidders.

Arthur Burdett Frost (1859-1928), Grouse Shooting in the Rhododendrons, watercolor, 17 ½ by 25 ¾ inches, Sold for $57,000
Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC,

A selection of John James Audubon prints from the Havell edition got the auction off to a strong start, with the Shoveler Duck more than doubling the high estimate when it sold for $5,400 on a $1/2,000 estimate. Several lots later, the Ferruginous Thrush brought $7,800, well over its high estimate of $1/2,000.

There was continued strength in the Roland Clark market, with prints and paintings finding a steady market. The oil painting Wigeon sold for $19,200, above its $12/14,000 estimate. Richard Bishop’s 1939 oil titled Back Bay - In Currituck Sound saw spirited bidding on the phones and landed at $11,400, well above its $7/9,000 estimate. Classic sporting artist Lynn Bogue Hunt’s dynamic Woodcock oil brought $18,000, over its $10/15,000 estimate.

John Blair, Sr. (1843-1929), Wigeon Drake, c. 1880, Sold for $90,000
Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC,

Aiden Lassell Ripley’s market proved resilient, as Gobbler and Hen Turkey sold for $30,000 after vigorous competition and multiple phone bids, well above its $10/15,000 estimate. Richard La Barre Goodwin’s rare oils of living birds found a ready market. The quail saw a battle between phone and internet bidders and sold for $9,600, above its $5/7,000 estimate. The woodcock brought an impressive $24,000 after extensive competitive bidding.

Paintings of hunting dogs in action were in high demand. Two works by Edmund Osthaus outperformed their estimates; an oil painting of a setter sold for $13,200 on a $6/9,000 estimate and a watercolor of a setter brought $7,800, above its $3/5,000 estimate. Gustav Muss-Arnolt’s oil of two setters, descended from the family of Samuel Henry Vandergrift, went to $19,200, well above its estimate of $5/8,000, to a buyer in the room.

Lanford Monroe’s Fox oil saw a battle between a floor bidder and the phone bank, and it ultimately sold for $15,600, above its $8/10,000 estimate. Contemporary sporting artist Peter Corbin sold for $6,000, exceeding its estimate of $3/4,000, and Milton Weiler’s charming watercolor Broadbills Coming In brought $5,100, more than doubling its high estimate of  $1,500/2,500. The painting portion of the sale wrapped up with prints and works on paper by sporting artists finding eager bidders.

Decoys got off to a strong start, with action coming from phones, floor bidding, and internet platforms. The auction room remained full as the birds of contemporary carver Mark McNair kicked off the second half of the sale. A rare gadwall drake sold for $3,000, above its $1,400/1,800 estimate. A feeding yellowlegs pair brought $5,400 on a $1/1,500 estimate.

The Konopasek-Graves Preening Mallard saw active bidding on the phones and with absentee bids. The decoy ultimately sold for $75,000, above its high estimate of $45/65,000. Auctioneer Peter Coccoluto kept the atmosphere light and laughter filled the room as the highest end of the market responded to quality, rarity, and condition.

Carvings from the Southold Historical Society found a ready market, with almost all the carvings going to the same buyer. A circa 1910 piping plover brought $2,040, well above its $6/900 estimate, and a rare gull decoy carved circa 1930 sold for $21,600, far exceeding its $10/15,000 estimate.

Laughter erupted again as John Blair, Sr.’s fine wigeon drake sold for $90,000 on its $80/100,000 estimate. A. Elmer Crowell’s rare sanderling carving, which is the artist’s smallest working decoy, brought $25,200, well above its $8/12,000 estimate. A Canada goose from the T. Gray Rig out of Massachusetts brought $21,600, outstripping its $6/9,000 estimate.

Maine carver Gus Wilson’s preening eider drake brought $27,600, well above its $10/14,000 estimate. A miniature bufflehead by George Boyd sold for $7,200, exceeding its $1,500/2,500 estimate, signaling continued interest in the miniature market. A lot of three peeps brought $2,760, smashing their $6/900 estimate.

There were significant stretches of the decoy sale with all lots sold, and very active bidding through the online platform Bidsquare. The auction saw the successful implementation of Copley’s native app, Copley Live, and ultimately over 90% of items offered sold.

Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC is preparing for its Winter Sale 2017 which returns to Charleston, South Carolina, in February, with consignments accepted through November 15 or until full. For a free confidential auction estimate please call 617.536.0030 or email A full list of official prices realized from Copley’s Sporting Sale 2016 will be available at All prices include a 20% buyer’s premium (23% for online bidding), and all record prices cite  

Copley Fine Art Auctions
65 Sharp Street
Hingham, Massachusetts
About Copley Fine Art Auctions

Copley Fine Art Auction experts provide a host of services for collectors: Appraisals, including trusts and estates; auction, gallery, and private sales; collections management; custom framing and restoration. Whether you're a new or seasoned collector, we are happy to discuss options for the formation, development, or sale of a collection encompassing our specialties. We work with private collectors, museums, and corporations nationwide, and have helped form many leading collections. In addition, we offer advice regarding personal property for trusts, estates, and private clients to aid fiduciaries, executors, advisors, and collectors.

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