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Strater and Sohier

Antique Shorebird Tinnies on Stand - Patent Date Stamp 1874

Antique Shorebird Tinnies on Stand - Patent Date Stamp 1874

Regular price $ 375.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $ 375.00 USD
Reduced Price Sold out
Shipping Included In the USA
  • Antique item

This pair of folding tin shorebird decoys were invented by William Sohier and Herman Strater, Jr, both of Boston. They each have the patent date of October 27, 1874 stamped in yellow on the inside. They were made in two halves, hinged together along the back and could be opened up flat for storage and nested together, a novel idea at the time. These are black-bellied plovers, meant to stand in marshes and ponds on stakes that were supplied with them to lure the real birds into landing. They are now displayed on clever wooden stands that have a special metal---and somewhat rusty--fitting on top that allows the birds to slip in and adjust to a few different positions.

Each bird was realistically hand painted and measures approximately 10 inches long and 4 inches tall at the center including its 'legs.' When mounted on its stand, it is 11 1/2 inches tall to the top of its head. One stand is about 1/4 inch higher than the other and is slightly canted. Both decoys were definitely used but there are no missing pieces, no cracks or damage (like gunshot holes). They have some areas of rust and the paint is worn, although there is more than enough remaining to identify the species. They do retain the tiny metal rings that act as hinges to fasten the two halves together.

We've included in our photos a picture of the cover of the 1965 book "American Bird Decoys" by William F. Mackey, Jr., a classic in the field. He devoted three pages to these "tinnies;" we've shown copies of the text, which in part states, "Those with the patent stamp on the inside are the best in quality and most desirable." A photo of the U.S. patent and the drawings that accompanied it are also included.

These birds show handsomely and they look great in a group of other decoys or displayed by themselves.

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Linda & Wayne have been buying and selling Antiques and Vintage items since the 70s. We've been selling online since 2015 along with our little girl Sassy.

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