Paul Brisco is author of Decoys of Southwestern Ontario and The Men Who Made Them and a long standing Director and member of CDOCA
Here is what he has to share with the new collector.
1. Read, read, read. Decoy books and Magazines. See “Books and Other Reference Materials” page for further suggestions.
2. Look at all the decoys that you can find. Other CDOCA members are often / usually willing to show their collection and share knowledge to assist and encourage new collectors.
3. Take advantage of the decoy shows and museum displays in your area. See “Related Links” page for more information on this.
4. Try to find a nearby or available mentor / coach that is an experienced collector that can help develop your collecting focus.
5. Learn about original paint, versus repaint or old working repaint; and in use repairs versus restoration repairs. Remember that most old decoys were used in a harsh environment and normal wear is often a part of their charm.
6. Buy what you like and can afford. A single decoy or two that makes you smile and feel good is the goal. Your taste will change and re-focus and your collection will as well. Regional and family preferences that are often tied to nostalgic history are part of the joy. Don’t feel that every decoy has to be investment quality decoy to enjoy.
7. Display your decoys so that you can enjoy them as often as possible.
8. Keep notes on your decoys; where you found or acquired them. It will help when selling or trading later. You can add to a decoys “provenance” as you learn more about it.
9. The technology of black lighting and x-rays or paint analysis is available as your needs and wants develop.
10. Have fun and meet lots of people with a passion for collecting. They are located all over North America and around the world and are most often willing to share their collecting enjoyment.