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By Paul Brisco

Paul Brisco is a long standing director and member of the Canadian Decoy and Outdoor Association.  He is the author of the book titled "Decoys of Southwestern Ontario and the Men Who Made Them." 

1.  Read, read, read decoy books and magazines.  See the LEARN page for more information.

2.  Look at all the decoys that you can find.  Other Canadian Decoy and Outdoor Association members might be 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.  

Antique wooden decoy close up of bill
Antique wooden decoys on display at Canadian Decoy & Outdoor Collectibles Association show and sale

4.  Try to find a nearby or available mentor or coach who is an experienced collector and 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 an 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.

Paul Brisco article on antique wooden decoy collecting tips for a beginner.
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