While my wife and I were attending the Wisconsin Decoy Show at Oshkosh, Wisconsin this past March, we got a phone call from our oldest grandson of 11 years. He excitedly told us he had, with his father’s supervision, bought his first decoys from an online decoy auction site. We were very happy. Maybe our grandsons (we have three) would be future collectors enjoying some of the same things we do. Also at the Oshkosh show we met a husband and wife who were retired and just beginning their decoy collecting adventure. We met another new collector in his late 40’s who was very enthusiastic. It is obvious to me there are new collectors coming on board every day.
When we returned home the grandkids came to visit. I gave the two older grandsons who are 8 and 11 years old, four pair of early plastic collectible decoys. They were ecstatic. I’m thinking future collectors for sure! It also helps that their father and mother have an interest in decoys and shore birds. The future looks bright.
I recently read a series of 15 articles in Decoy Magazine titled “The Early Decoy Days” by well-known decoy collector and researcher Joe French. In these articles he often mentioned he was one of a very small number of decoy collectors he knew of. The 40’s, 50’s and 60’s was the time period he was talking about. Then decoy collecting really began to catch on, rapidly growing in collector numbers through the hay days of 2006, 2007 and 2008. Then numbers began to decline primarily due to older collectors passing away or preparing to enter retirement homes. I believe today’s collector numbers are alive and well. Many are invisible; acquiring their decoys through the internet rather than by attending shows. I also believe there has never been a better time to collect than the present. Decoys are very affordable. Information about decoys has never been more available with books, shows and the internet. And last but not least, decoys have never been more accessible and available. The time is NOW so don’t miss out!
- Vaughn B. Walters