Copley Fine Art Auctions Holds Record-Setting $4.7 Million Sporting Sale

  • PLYMOUTH, Massachusetts
  • /
  • July 31, 2017

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Thomas Chambers (1860-1948), Wood Duck Drake, c. 1900, Sold for $270,000
Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC,
John English (1848-1915), Pintail Drake, c. 1880, Sold for $246,000
Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC,

On July 27 and 28, Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC ( held the most successful decoy auction of all time, with an outstanding average price per lot of over $27,000 per decoy. This almost doubled the average price per lot from the sale of the Distinguished Collection of Dr. James M. McCleery held in 2000.

Featuring the Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Collection of Important American Sporting Art and Decoys, Sessions I and II set numerous world records, signaling the decoy market is back to full strength.

Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler (1872-1949), The Mackey-Wheeler Goose, c. 1935, Sold for $198,000
Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC,

Lot 6, a pinnacle wood duck by Canadian carver Thomas Chambers (1860-1948) set the first high water mark, selling for $270,000, a record for the carver and also a record for any Canadian maker.

The John English (1848-1915) pintail drake sold for $246,000, shattering the old record for the maker, and becoming the highest priced decoy ever to come out of the Delaware River region.

The Canada goose by Charles E. “Shang” Wheeler (1872-1949) shot to $198,000, smashing the world record for this important carver as well as for the Connecticut region.

Overall, the blockbuster auction brought $4.7 million. The O’Brien Collection, with a 100% sell-through rate, was Copley's first "white-glove" sale, a true rarity in today’s auction market and a remarkable achievement for the nation’s leading decoy and sporting art auction house. Great decoys with strong provenance and exceptional form carried the day, leading to Copley’s most successful sale in the company’s eleven-year history.

Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC

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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