The Earnest-Gregory Dovetailed Canada Goose. O’Brien considered this to be “the finest decoy in his collection.”

July 18–20, 2018
Hotel 1620, Plymouth, MA
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Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC will host their annual preview party and two action-packed days of auctions from July 18–20 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Collection of Important American Sporting Art and Decoys, Session III, will lead off this year’s Sporting Sale on July 19.

The O’Brien Collection, built and curated over six decades, is virtually unrivaled in its breadth and quality, and many consider it to be the finest American sporting art and decoy collection ever assembled. The final and largest session, featuring approximately 150 lots, is scheduled to hit the auction block one year after Copley’s landmark Sporting Sale, which realized $4.8 million in sales and saw 19 auction records fall.

The Ward Brothers, Lemuel T. (1896–1983) and Stephen (1895–1976), Crisfield, MD, Pinch-Breast Pintail Pair, O’Brien, an authority on the Ward Bros. stated these were “the finest pair of ‘Pinch Breast’ pintails the Wards ever made.”

The headliners of session III include the iconic Earnest-Gregory Dovetailed Goose (ca. 1880), the Gilley-O’Brien Wilson eider, one of Maine’s masterworks, and the White Mallard Club Pintail matched pair. The sale will also include important Audubons engraved by Havell. Session III is followed on the 20th by strong offerings from other single owner collections: the Davison B. Hawthorne Collection and the Ronald S. Swanson Collection of decoys and fish models, in addition to the K. Barry Sharpless Collection of decoys.

This Highlight was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of Antiques & Fine Art magazine, a fully digitized version of which is available at AFA is affiliated with Incollect.