NEW YORK, January 23, 2007 – A rare red-breasted merganser hen decoy set a world auction record for an American waterfowl decoy during a sale at Christie’s auction house in New York City on Jan. 18. The decoy carved by 19th century Massachusetts carver Lothrop Holmes sold for $856,000 to an American buyer.
Collectors consider Holmes (1824-1899) one of the first and greatest carvers in history. His mergansers are held in the highest regard among collectors. This merganser, originally from the collection of American Museum of Folk Art co-founder Adele Earnest, is one of only six attributed to Holmes. The estimated value of the Holmes merganser going into the sale was $400,000-$600,000.
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