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Club Notes
May/June 2004

Burgess decoys, Carteret County brant and geese featured at Carolina Decoy Collectors meeting

The Carolina Decoy Collectors Association, who meets about twice a year at various locations throughout the two states, held a get-together on May 15, 2004 at the Core Sound Carvers Guild Building in Harkers Island, North Carolina. The meeting, which featured presentations on the decoys of Ned Burgess and Carteret County brant and geese, was held in conjunction with the Guild’s annual Loon Day event, and it was well attended with around 60 people on hand for the festivities.

The morning began with a buy, sell and swap session, with dealers and collectors opening their trunks for a little decoy commerce. Some attendants brought decoys for appraisal, but no “gems,” to my knowledge, showed up during the day.

Kroghie Andresen began the program on Burgess with a reading of a prepared text. Dick McIntyre then spoke of the history of some of the rarer decoys by Burgess, including his teal and wooden geese. Dick pointed out the creativity that Burgess applied to painting the backs of some of his pintails and wigeon, referring to these later paint patterns as his “Art Deco” period. Ed Johnston talked about some of the characteristic details in Burgess decoys that verify their authenticity: paint application, wood grain, nail placement and the types of wood used. Ed also spoke about some of the more unusual Burgess decoys, such as his canvas swans, pencil bill coots, black ducks and ruddies. The last part of the program was conducted by Kroghie, who pointed out the different characteristics of Burgess decoys that have come out of over a dozen Carolina decoy rigs. There were some 75 to 80 Burgess decoys on display, allowing collectors to handle and ask questions about some of his finest work.

The second part of the program featured Carteret County brand and geese, and there were over 20 examples by Mitchell Fulcher and Irving Fulcher on display. Roy Willis talked about his father, Eldon Willis, who made a couple of large rigs of geese. The first group, 30 made in 1926, had heads fashioned after a Mitchell Fulcher original goose head; when all were completed no one could pick out the original. Doily Fulcher spoke about finding a rig of Robert Pigott decoys, which included about 20 large geese. There was some discussion among the membership as to whether a Mitchell Fulcher goose even exists, since the examples on display looked to have been made on Jim Holly bodies with Mitchell Fulcher heads.

A short business meeting was held after lunch, provided by the Guild, which included shrimp, burgers, slaw, beans and strawberry shortcake. Good times were had by all.