The Roy Conklin Merganser Drake
The Roy Conklin Merganser Drake. An exceptional example with likely the most intact provenance available for any Conklin decoy. This published decoy is accompanied by its original invoice, possibly one of the only invoices in existence, dated 7/4/1960 matching the date and ink placed on the bottom of the decoy by Roy.
In Roy's early years he had an attraction to local wildfowl, doodling birds in the margins of his school books. He would later study art in the evenings at Columbia University where he worked for the New York Sun. But being a true riverman at heart, Roy moved back to the Alex Bay area just before the Great Depression where he was a boat captain, fishing guide, and carpenter in the Alex Bay area. Due to the seasonal nature of his work he found himself carving whimsical miniatures in winter 1932 to 'amuse himself and earn a little extra money'. Fast forward a few years and Roy developed quite a local and regional following for his miniatures and decorative carvings fulfilling orders for the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch in New York, NY. During WWII Roy transitioned to defense work to assist his nation, but the business didn't shutter. According to the Watertown Daily Times in 1953, Roy was selling through many outlets accross the nation and world including Abercrombie & Fitch New York, NY, Castle & Cooke, Honolulu, HI, Marshall-Field, Chicaco, IL, and Harrods, Ltd., London, UK. The Sportsmen's Club of Chicago named him and honorary member and Lynn Bogue Hunt even complimented Roy on the authentic expressions he managed to capture on his birds. Just before making this decoy, in 1959 Roy moved back to Alex Bay, NY and was still carving pieces for Abercrombie & Fitch in New York, NY.
Large American Merganser Drake carved by Roy Conklin (1909-1967) of Alexandria Bay, NY c.1960. Beautiful flowing form with a lifted and turned head. Glass eyes and nicely carved bill details. Close inspection of this decoy will show it was handled while drying and has a couple of Roy's finger prints on it. It is believed that a similar situation caused the blemish on the right shoulder of the bird.
This decoy comes with the original invoice as well as the Doctors copy of 'Decoys of The Thousand Islands' which is full of his notes as well as a whimsical correction to his name that was printed wrong on page 200. Signed and dated in blue ink pen7/4/1960by Roy ConklinAlex Bay, NY It appears there are many other small stamped 'markers' into the bottom of the decoy. The orange sticker is the Doctors collection sticker #35.
Condition: Near mint with some spots of age related discoloration. Small discolored spot of white on right shoulder, believed to have been a touched up blemish occuring in the late drying stages of the decoy.
Roy Conklin 1960
ex collection Dr. A.C. Peckham Jr aquired directly from Roy
Private consignor acquired from above
Exact decoy pictured pg 200 'Decoys of The Thousand Islands: Jim Stewart & Larry Lunman'
Decoys of The Thousand Islands: Jim Stewart & Larry Lunman
Roy A. Conklin: Thousand Islands MusuemThe Watertown Daily Times 3/6/1934
The Watertown Daily Times 11/28/1953