Astoria decoy collectors BILL and KIM CARTER went to the Guyette and Schmidt DECOY AUCTION in Easton, Md., Nov. 11 and 12. "This was our first trip to this area and we were coming to see and bid on the 1940 pair of CHARLES M. BERGMAN teal to add to our collection (our collection was on display at the Columbia River Maritime Museum for almost two years)," Bill (www.decoy.net) wrote.
Bergman's teal set went up for bid on the second day of the auction. "There were more than 250 people just in the auction room and more phone bidders ... These teal were the best example of any Bergman decoy to hit the auction block. They were made in the late 1930s to early 1940s, and they were from the hunting rig of CHUCK BERGMAN and made by Chuck's grandfather. Chuck sold one of his grandfather's swans to a collector more than 30 years ago and threw these teal in with the swan purchase." Then the teal were traded to another collector who traded or sold to the current consigner.
Bill said he "flew to Riverside, Calif., to see these exact teal decoys about 15 years ago and tried to buy them for $15,000 back then." However, it was a whole new kettle of fish (or ducks) this time around. "The decoys started around $20,000 and moved quickly to $35,000 then slowed down but continued to the final winning phone bid of $55,000, plus a 15 percent ($8,250) buyer's commission paid to the auction house, for a total of $63,250 for the pair of teal. That is a record sales price of any West Coast decoy lot ... and of any Bergman decoy sold at auction."
"One of the Bergman swans sold privately a few years ago to a Washington collector for more than $100,000," Bill added. Speaking of the Bergman swans, Virginia Hendrickson of Astoria called the Ear to say yes, it really is true: Grandma Bergman did trip on the Bergman swans and, in a fit of pique, chopped the majority of them into kindling. Yikes.