Waterfowl decoys are hotly sought-after collectors' items, their value continually rising since the 1960s. In fact, a duck decoy sold in January 2014 at Sotheby's in New York for $767,000. It was a male eider created around 1900 by an unknown carver.
Collector Harry T. Williams, of Worton, Maryland, built his own "duck dynasty" of sorts. Eight out of three dozen duck decoys he bought for 50 cents apiece about four decades ago are the original core of his collection, he told CNBC in 2014. While Williams realized the investment potential of decoys, he did not make purchases for that reason. "I look for what I like," he said, adding that he focused on local carvers—that is, Maryland-based artists.