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Old Wooden Decoy are Treasure !

Its been 35 years of studying & helping people for Mr. Decoy.

Old hunter have priceless stories but they could have priceless old wooden duck decoys.

Your old wooden duck goose even shorebird decoys may be priceless to you for sentamental reasons or could be some of the valuable antique decoys the millionair collectors are hoping to find.

Decoy History

The history of decoys in North America dates back at lest 2000 years. Wow most people didn't realize that . Decoys are noted even further back in other parts of the world like early Egypt. The oldest decoys in North America are housed in the Smithsonian Museum. These unique bird replicas were found in a Arizona cave and were date with native pottery pieces found along side. Our traditional wooden decoys were primarily made in the mid 1800's to the mind 1900's .

In the last 100 years "decoy" means many things to many different people.
To most is an artificial duck or bird carved of wood.
To hunters it is a tool required for successful waterfowling.
To Collectors it means a desired folk art.
To Antique dealers it is a supplemented income and a wonderful accent to country furniture.
To Steven Lloyd it is his life long study and passion.

If your decoy could talk !

A famous saying used when talking decoys is
"If only this old bird could talk, imagine the stories it would tell" .

If you have enjoyed your decoys in your home or cottage, THAT'S GREAT but I'm sure you have wondered what all of us decoy owners have.

What about the history ?
Who made this decoy ?
Where is it from ?
Where has it been used ?
How did it get here ?
Why was it made this way ?
What kind of duck is it ?
Who owned it ?
Is it documented?
Who's initials are on the bottom ?
Is it valuable ?
Would a museum want my decoy ?

Most of these questions can be answered, some easier than others.
You can start by sending a picture of your decoys to Steven. As a well seasoned world expert and Canada's foremost Authority on decoys he can often answer many of these question with glance of your decoy.

The Word " Decoy "

1 a bird or mammal, or an imitation of one, used by hunters to lure game.
2 a thing used to mislead or lure someone into a trap.
3 a pond from which narrow netted channels lead, into which wild duck may be enticed for capture. verb lure by means of a decoy.

Decoy's are a functional tool primary that were used with as many as 300 similar blocks to lure in wild birds to excited waiting hunters.

To day, many decoys are still used for hunting but many thousands have been retired and are being used in Antique shops to lure in wild decoy collectors, excited about finding the next treasure.

Like the early hunters that had different opinions about what was the best decoy and how they should be used .

Today's collectors have similar opinions on what decoys are treasures or trash.

In the most early days of decoys they were primitively constructed from materials on hand, marsh grass, tamarack, mud, twigs even animal skins. All usually had a few found feathers of wild birds to add color and texture.

From the mid 1800's to 1918 was the glory years of decoys . Thousands of decoys were carved out . The market hunter were in full flight and the demand for wooden decoys was higher than what could be supplied. The were many individual carvers that sold decoys but soon factories took the overflow. The Mason , Dodge, Stevens, Victor, and Peterbourgh Decoy Companies were some of the many ones.

The diehard men hunting day after day, many even in spring and fall. It's a known fact that many of these outdoors men prided themselves on hitting 3 or more ducks per shot on a regular basis. Then unfortunately for the waterfowl there was the invention of the punt gun. It was like a small canon that was bolted to the duck boat and could shoot dozens per shot.

In these days ducks were an important source of food for early families.
Many for the commercial hunters also sold at market. The folks would go into town and sell the days hunt often by the pair. The ducks were also shipped in barrels by rail to larger centers. In early days it was common in all the upscale restaurant to order a wild duck dinner or in some areas geese, swans, even shorebirds.

Criteria for Evaluation & Appraising Old Decoys

Most collector and investors agree on the following criteria.

1 Condition, as perfect as when it was originally made.
2 Damage, rule of the thumb the more damage the more the value drops.
3 The carver, the decoys of well known carvers often bring higher prices.
4 Documentation, decoys that are documented are usually more desirable
5 Rarity, of the decoy, by specie, construction, or numbers produced.
6 Folk art, unique construction or a creative pose often catches a different eye.7 Matching pairs or sets of birds appeals to many collectors & investors.
8 Museums often have interest in documented & unique decoys.9 Our economy, if things are good in the world decoys price are often up.
10 "A Bird In Hand" is true today as it was years ago. Collectors and researchers like myself often only get one opportunity in a life time to buy a dream decoy. We often have dream a certain bird is still out there. So yes, I have paid much more than market price for a few dream decoys in my collection.

What has happened to the thousands of decoys.
Do these stories sound familiar ?

1 I lent them to a hunting buddy & they never found their way home .
2 I left them in my duck boat on the shore, in the morning they were gone.
3 I once had a great retriever but she love eating the bills off decoys.
Before my great retriever I had great decoys.
4 A great storm came up fast from the northwest and swept them all out to sea.
5 They looked so real they were shot into tooth picks !
6 My great old hollowed body decoys sank !
7 I gave them to my son & nephew.
8 I sold them for $2.00 each, years ago & bought plastics.
9 My wife sold them at her yard sale.
10 I gave them to a friend that liked them.

TRASH OR TREASURE

One mans trash is another's treasure.
There are many ways of saying it .
My way is FIND OUT WHAT YOU HAVE !

Antique Road Shows ..
There are many different Antique Road Shows in different parts of the world. All have the same intent. To help people with that common dream of knowledge of their old item. All of the millions of people that watch week after week hope that they see a glimpse of an item similar to the one in their den.

Your decoys may very well be that treasure! I have see thousands of old dust, dirty decoys pulled from under cottages, attics of houses, in the loft of boat houses, chopped out of the ice, even pulled from the bottom of lakes, that are very valuable.

My Dad, Grandfather or Uncle made my decoys ..
This is often the case. But more often than not there are a few decoys that were found on the shores by our family member while they were hunting. Many times these are the treasures. Every larger rig (flock) of decoys have these diamonds. Often found in apple baskets, brand sacks or old fish boxes so may decoys are still found in.

Decoy Math

A full basket of decoys may valued from $10.00 to $1,000.00 each.
Looking for the valuable ducks in a basket is tricky.
First use a old saying. " Put all your ducks in a " .
Look for differences. Identify the different species . Look for the more rare species like hooded mergansers, shorebirds, teal, geese, gulls or even early mallards .

Many people have decoys that have been in their family for generations or are from a past love one. I feel it is important to be sensitive in sharing my knowledge while informing the family of the value and history of their decoys.

It's great to have old decoys but it adds so much to the pleasure of owning a fine old decoy when you have details of it's history. I love seeing pictures of your Dad's or Grandad's decoys but so often decoys in the rig were made by others. That's often a good thing ! Many pictures of valuable factory made, Mason decoys have been thought to be made by Dad.. Masons can be worth ,many thousands...

My dream is to help as many people as possible in my life time evaluate their old wooden decoys and to educate folks, city dwellers and county folk, about their decoys, the history and their value at NO COST. I enjoy helping outdoors folks.

"The Antique Decoy Road Show" \Steven Lloyd "Mr. Decoy" 441 Elmwood Drive, Belleville, Ontario, Canada, K8N 4Z6 [email protected]
 

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Interesting post, too bad all my dekes are plastic.

This reminds me of when I was a kid,we had a nieghbor,George Lane, who used to carve shorebids alot when he was younger.He was in his 80's when I knew him,he was born around 1880,but he still had a bunch of wood dekes around his house for decoration.I wondered,years layer,if his dekes were the kind that might be sought after.My brother and I used to poke around in his barn and check out his tools and things.He was a great guy as well,he always like to tell stories about hunting or fishing back at the turn of the century,we could listen for hours and often did.
Thanks for jogging some good memories DUKHTR!
 

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I bought a set of three wood decoys today. They are gunning blocks for sure. They have metal straps on the bottom and hooks for line(one of them has line). They have "Mc C" carved in the bottom. They are mallards, two drakes and a hen. The eyes are either glass or plastic. They are in varying conditions.
I am not a collector, but am a duck hunter. I did a little snooping on the net today. I did see that there was a carver named McCoy in Truckerton NJ, but I don't know if the "McC" signifies that.
Any info or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
 

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I have a shoveler decoy from my great uncle, its made of corn stalks wound with wire on both ends and a wooden head. It looks like it had been repainted at one time, and had actually been used a number of times as it has a few lead holes in it. I would love to know more about it.
 

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DUKHTR said:
Old Wooden Decoy are Treasure !

Its been 35 years of studying & helping people for Mr. Decoy.

Old hunter have priceless stories but they could have priceless old wooden duck decoys.

Your old wooden duck goose even shorebird decoys may be priceless to you for sentamental reasons or could be some of the valuable antique decoys the millionair collectors are hoping to find.

Decoy History

The history of decoys in North America dates back at lest 2000 years. Wow most people didn't realize that . Decoys are noted even further back in other parts of the world like early Egypt. The oldest decoys in North America are housed in the Smithsonian Museum. These unique bird replicas were found in a Arizona cave and were date with native pottery pieces found along side. Our traditional wooden decoys were primarily made in the mid 1800's to the mind 1900's .

In the last 100 years "decoy" means many things to many different people.
To most is an artificial duck or bird carved of wood.
To hunters it is a tool required for successful waterfowling.
To Collectors it means a desired folk art.
To Antique dealers it is a supplemented income and a wonderful accent to country furniture.
To Steven Lloyd it is his life long study and passion.

If your decoy could talk !

A famous saying used when talking decoys is
"If only this old bird could talk, imagine the stories it would tell" .

If you have enjoyed your decoys in your home or cottage, THAT'S GREAT but I'm sure you have wondered what all of us decoy owners have.

What about the history ?
Who made this decoy ?
Where is it from ?
Where has it been used ?
How did it get here ?
Why was it made this way ?
What kind of duck is it ?
Who owned it ?
Is it documented?
Who's initials are on the bottom ?
Is it valuable ?
Would a museum want my decoy ?

Most of these questions can be answered, some easier than others.
You can start by sending a picture of your decoys to Steven. As a well seasoned world expert and Canada's foremost Authority on decoys he can often answer many of these question with glance of your decoy.

The Word " Decoy "

1 a bird or mammal, or an imitation of one, used by hunters to lure game.
2 a thing used to mislead or lure someone into a trap.
3 a pond from which narrow netted channels lead, into which wild duck may be enticed for capture. verb lure by means of a decoy.

Decoy's are a functional tool primary that were used with as many as 300 similar blocks to lure in wild birds to excited waiting hunters.

To day, many decoys are still used for hunting but many thousands have been retired and are being used in Antique shops to lure in wild decoy collectors, excited about finding the next treasure.

Like the early hunters that had different opinions about what was the best decoy and how they should be used .

Today's collectors have similar opinions on what decoys are treasures or trash.

In the most early days of decoys they were primitively constructed from materials on hand, marsh grass, tamarack, mud, twigs even animal skins. All usually had a few found feathers of wild birds to add color and texture.

From the mid 1800's to 1918 was the glory years of decoys . Thousands of decoys were carved out . The market hunter were in full flight and the demand for wooden decoys was higher than what could be supplied. The were many individual carvers that sold decoys but soon factories took the overflow. The Mason , Dodge, Stevens, Victor, and Peterbourgh Decoy Companies were some of the many ones.

The diehard men hunting day after day, many even in spring and fall. It's a known fact that many of these outdoors men prided themselves on hitting 3 or more ducks per shot on a regular basis. Then unfortunately for the waterfowl there was the invention of the punt gun. It was like a small canon that was bolted to the duck boat and could shoot dozens per shot.

In these days ducks were an important source of food for early families.
Many for the commercial hunters also sold at market. The folks would go into town and sell the days hunt often by the pair. The ducks were also shipped in barrels by rail to larger centers. In early days it was common in all the upscale restaurant to order a wild duck dinner or in some areas geese, swans, even shorebirds.

Criteria for Evaluation & Appraising Old Decoys

Most collector and investors agree on the following criteria.

1 Condition, as perfect as when it was originally made.
2 Damage, rule of the thumb the more damage the more the value drops.
3 The carver, the decoys of well known carvers often bring higher prices.
4 Documentation, decoys that are documented are usually more desirable
5 Rarity, of the decoy, by specie, construction, or numbers produced.
6 Folk art, unique construction or a creative pose often catches a different eye.7 Matching pairs or sets of birds appeals to many collectors & investors.
8 Museums often have interest in documented & unique decoys.9 Our economy, if things are good in the world decoys price are often up.
10 "A Bird In Hand" is true today as it was years ago. Collectors and researchers like myself often only get one opportunity in a life time to buy a dream decoy. We often have dream a certain bird is still out there. So yes, I have paid much more than market price for a few dream decoys in my collection.

What has happened to the thousands of decoys.
Do these stories sound familiar ?

1 I lent them to a hunting buddy & they never found their way home .
2 I left them in my duck boat on the shore, in the morning they were gone.
3 I once had a great retriever but she love eating the bills off decoys.
Before my great retriever I had great decoys.
4 A great storm came up fast from the northwest and swept them all out to sea.
5 They looked so real they were shot into tooth picks !
6 My great old hollowed body decoys sank !
7 I gave them to my son & nephew.
8 I sold them for $2.00 each, years ago & bought plastics.
9 My wife sold them at her yard sale.
10 I gave them to a friend that liked them.

TRASH OR TREASURE

One mans trash is another's treasure.
There are many ways of saying it .
My way is FIND OUT WHAT YOU HAVE !

Antique Road Shows ..
There are many different Antique Road Shows in different parts of the world. All have the same intent. To help people with that common dream of knowledge of their old item. All of the millions of people that watch week after week hope that they see a glimpse of an item similar to the one in their den.

Your decoys may very well be that treasure! I have see thousands of old dust, dirty decoys pulled from under cottages, attics of houses, in the loft of boat houses, chopped out of the ice, even pulled from the bottom of lakes, that are very valuable.

My Dad, Grandfather or Uncle made my decoys ..
This is often the case. But more often than not there are a few decoys that were found on the shores by our family member while they were hunting. Many times these are the treasures. Every larger rig (flock) of decoys have these diamonds. Often found in apple baskets, brand sacks or old fish boxes so may decoys are still found in.

Decoy Math

A full basket of decoys may valued from $10.00 to $1,000.00 each.
Looking for the valuable ducks in a basket is tricky.
First use a old saying. " Put all your ducks in a " .
Look for differences. Identify the different species . Look for the more rare species like hooded mergansers, shorebirds, teal, geese, gulls or even early mallards .

Many people have decoys that have been in their family for generations or are from a past love one. I feel it is important to be sensitive in sharing my knowledge while informing the family of the value and history of their decoys.

It's great to have old decoys but it adds so much to the pleasure of owning a fine old decoy when you have details of it's history. I love seeing pictures of your Dad's or Grandad's decoys but so often decoys in the rig were made by others. That's often a good thing ! Many pictures of valuable factory made, Mason decoys have been thought to be made by Dad.. Masons can be worth ,many thousands...

My dream is to help as many people as possible in my life time evaluate their old wooden decoys and to educate folks, city dwellers and county folk, about their decoys, the history and their value at NO COST. I enjoy helping outdoors folks.

"The Antique Decoy Road Show" \Steven Lloyd "Mr. Decoy" 441 Elmwood Drive, Belleville, Ontario, Canada, K8N 4Z6 [email protected]
Your on antique roadshow!? :eek:
 

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I have some old decoys, maybe 20, some hollow some solid, different species.

They come from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, I hunted with some of them.

Some maybe 100 years old, they were in the attic of our very old house.
They are all in rough to very rough condition, a couple heads are broken off.

You could still hunt with some of them, and I may this year. The canvass backs are solid ceder from a split log, I even have a replacement head that is just roughed in, just needs to be carved and finished. These are the ones we used. They look very servicable.

I doubt these are priceless, but were used by my family so mean something to me. What markings do you look for to identify makers?.

A few have brands or marks on the bottom.

Regards,

jds
 

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I'm wondering if there are some local decoy experts who might be able to identify a wooden crow decoy that I've had for some years now. I never really thought about value, but I was informed recently that some of these bring big bucks.

But I really need to figure out who made it if that's even possible.

Anybody? I can take a picture if anybody wants to take a shot at it (figuratively speaking).
 

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I don't know if the very wide beak and the odd head shape were just the carvers creative interpretation of a duck or whether this was some other bird species I'm not familiar with. Anyone know? Or know where I could find out? Thanks for any info.



 

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i live on the eastern shore of VA and decoys here hold both sentimental as well as monetary value as stated above. completed decoys are passed from generation to generation as well as how to make them, how to use them, and some history behind patterns, decoys themselves and a little bit of everything in the family. i am lucky enough to come from a somewhat long line of carvers. though none are as famous as Ira Hudson, they have decoys that are sought after by family as well as collectors. i am however lucky enough to know the two youngest Ira Hudsons. one of which i go to school with. hes a freshman here on chincoteague and beginning to take up the families heritage from his father, Ira Hudson, who learned from his father Ira and so on back to about the 1800s i believe. i am also living with some legends in the making such as troy libertino and others who are making names for themelves. if anyone has any questions about obtaining any decoys from the carvers listed and some not listed, pm me and ill try to put you in contact with them.
 

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I am Decoy carver, and collector, I to have let slip through my fingers, some nice old birds,i started this crazy sport of waterfowl hunting over 35 years ago. this craziness started by listening to the stories of my grandfather told to me by my father and grandmother, about his duck hunting days and the decoys used by him..I was hooked buy these tales. It didn't stop there it was only the horrid beginning, what a cruel thing to tell a young boy, so cruel infact I just had to try duck hunting! From there it only got worse,i started to carve my own decoys out of cork,raised mallards( to learn how to call ducks ( my grandmother gave me one of mt grandpa's old calls, turned out to be ( a CHARLES PERDEW CROW CALL, WORTH $200-400.00) worse duck call iI ever used back in my start,almost threw it into the beaver bog, lots of times,because it was his I kept it, in my CALL COLLECT NOW ( count of 50 calls at present and climbing-CRAZY),started selling carved decoy at 13,still carving and selling, and competing,(CRAZY ) Picked Old birds by trading new ones, sold some for what i thought was decent money,(started collect OLD DUCK GUNS, model 12's side by sides, lever action shot guns, hammer guns, square backs, 20 count and climbing--looking for original hammer pump gun,--lets deal ( CRAZY ) Did you say duck boats? I have 5 looking to build layout flying saucer type now looking for a 16' aluminum--got one? In high school built a sneak box ,sold it 4 years back.Addae to decoy collecton 25 and climbing( CRAZY) plastic decoys while living in N.Y. had big floating blind on the lake 1000 decoys with buddies moved to MAINE started over now have 350 and climbing (CRAZY )I've Duck Hunted In V.T. N. DAKOTA, N.Y. and this yaer went to N.J. to hunt BRANT, on BARNEGAT BAY, one of those Famous places i plan on hunting on my COLLECTION LIST killed BRANT GREAT HUNT!!! 4 Trips down next year i'm thinking Arkansas or Louisiana ? (CRAZY ) As For BIRD mount Yes Im GUILTY TOO, need them for my decoy carving I will not get in to my CARVING TOOLS HERE(CRAZY) THANKS GRANDMA & DAD ...If you see in the OBITUARIES I'm UNDER the Title ( CRAZY DUCK HUNTER ) P.S. I just bought 2 calls and a decoy on E-BAY(CRAZY ).. :fingerhead:
 

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very interesting read...would like to find some old decoys just to put up for decorations at the apt.
 

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goodkarmarising, I trade newly carved decoys,for duck related items, i got pick ot the litter of my first black lab, i had a roof put on the house, firearms old decoys. The Barter System is GREAT! If you have a skill or provide a service, this is easy to trade seek out your target, act coy, don't oogle over old decoys on the outside,keep it to yourself.. the HIGHEST DECOY ON MARHET IS 856,000,00$$$ ( $ 856,000,00- by LATHROP HOLMES, MERGANSER, ca. 1810's, mass.) So you never know what you'll run into, I ran into 2 lately 1- made in 1856 whistler drake, by a local carver its in one of my collecting books, #2- is by Gus Wilson, from ME. late 1800's , he was a lighthouse keeper iI payed around 300.00ea. I have studied all the makers fo 35 yrs. started same time i began carving them. It's real TREASURE HUNTING and PROFITABLE just find the right seller & buyer e-bay offers decent birds at good price

s..i cant give all my resources but there are BIG DECOY AUCTION COMPANIES WHO SCOUR THE EARTH --get started! Each bird has a HISTORY ENJOY.
 

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When I was younger an older fellow on the Island I lived on Ocracoke-Outer banks NC anyway he had given me a half dozen beautifully carved redhead decoys. I used them as hunters for years as that is what he intended me to use them for!! Over time I simply misplaced these decoys...Unfortunetly thinking back most of the set was carved by different people I know a couple of them where from Core Sound. It's the if I only Knew!! I believe these decoys would have been worth their weight in gold Today hopefully they are sitting on someone's mantle..But now that I appreciate the heritage of Duck Hunting I am fascinated by hand carved decoys new and old!! I remember stories from the old timers on the Island, they would keep pen raised geese and other ducks keeping their wings clipped so they couldn't fly away and take them out and anchor them in their spread..I know this is now illegal. but when all you have is hand carved decoys in an era when duck hunting was first evolving into sport these guys had it figured out! RT
 

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I have access to two mallard decoys carved in the 1930's by a gentleman from Evansville, ID. They are flat on the bottom and they turn up slightly to form a broad tail. The weights are approx. 1" by 1" and nailed to the center bottom. The heads are a seperate piece of wood. The paint is not crude yet not artful. They were sold to the owners father and used during the 30's and 40"' Anyone with information about these decoys please respond.
 

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35 years ago, when I was just a kid, I bought a burlap bag full of old decoys. When they were cleaned up that were all in original paint. The AT carved in the bottom identified them as made by Albert Terry, mid 1800s. I have a scooter, in beautiful condition. Do you want to make an estimate of what it is worth? eGrant51
 

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JUST PURCHASED VERY EARLY SOCKET HEAD GOOSE OR BRANDT DECOY. HEAD STRETCHED OUT SUGGESTING HONKER OR AGRESSIVE DECOY. SOLID BODY PROBABLY PINE. TRACES OF ORIG PAINT. BODY FLAT ON TOP, ROUNDED ON BOTTOM. HAS BLUE PAINT ON BOTTOM "RUS 401". I WOULD APPRECIATE ANYTHING YOU CAN TELL ME ABOUT THIS DECOY. I CAN SEND PHOTOS IF NEEDED. THANKS. SAM
 

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Guys, beware of this fellow, he is not well liked among the decoy collecting fraternity because of his low ethics. He is also not as knowledgable as he would have you believe. If you have any old wooden decoys take them to one of the many collector shows and show them to more than one dealer to get a fair valuation. Or better still go to the shows and auctions for awhile and you may get interested in collecting and at least become a bit better informed before you let a $500 decoy go to a guy like Steve for $100 or less.
 

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I have a hollow body "Black Duck" decoy. Never shot over condition. One small chip on the tail. The decoy is signed "Robert A. Dailey" The decoy appears to be a Jersey Shore or Chesapeake Bay style. I can send photos if you pm me. Any info on this decoy would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Paradux
 
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