The NJ Decoy Association’s 28th Annual Decoy, Art & Hunting Collectibles Show scheduled for Saturday, March 26 at the Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway, NJ will feature:


William H. “Billy” Cordrey
High Bar Harbor – Long Beach Island, New Jersey

When the other Island boys in the 5th grade were collecting stamps, Billy was collecting pins ! Fifty-five years later when the other Jersey collectors were collecting Barnegat Bay decoys, Billy was collecting Susquehanna Flats birds! How did this happen?

Born on “The Beach” young Cordrey grew up learning and doing all of those bay things that kids, today, are hard pressed to even read about. Sixth grade saw him gunning on his own on the south end of High Island (just off Brant Beach) then Barrel Island and Button Sedge south-south-east of Beach Haven. Just as he finished Viet Nam duty with the US Air Force, he starts his own contracting business known for quality construction and cashed in on the Loveladies, Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light building boom over the next thirty years.

He marries his childhood sweetheart, Pauline. Pauline Cordrey is also a collector (Post Cards) so she understands that Bill’s collecting pursuits are a “mental thing” as in “needs help.”

After building a home for themselves in High Bar Harbor – where they still reside – Bill continued to harvest pintails, broadbills and blackducks under the sponsorship of the High Bar Gun Club and under the noses of many frustrated game wardens. He hung up his shotguns in 1984 but the collecting story continued along with some fine workshop decoy carving .

Step back to 1970 when one of Cordrey’s sub-contractors, Al Nelke, gave Bill a decoy from a bagful of decoys in Nelke’s Brant Beach shop. That year, Billy and Pauline go to the big Easton,Maryland decoy show.  One walk around the show tells Bill that his Nelke decoy was worth MONEY (later he learned that that decoy was a Shourds blackduck); he also saw the range of old decoys on exhibit in Easton and concluded that among them Susquehanna canvasbacks just had to be the most pleasing forms and shapes imaginable – a cut above his Corvette and two cuts below Pauline!!!!

He returns to Nelke who had meanwhile sold the bags of birds; not to be denied, Bill manages a lonely Rolly Horner brant that was stashed away in Nelke’s office. Young Cordrey sells the Shourds blackduck and the Horner brant and begins collecting Susquehanna decoys with a passion only understood by other decoy loonies. Billy proceeds to build a collection approaching 1300 decoys – building, too, a reputation on the Atlantic Coast and points west of being one of the few that can identify a Susquehanna Daddy Holly from a Mommy Holly.

The Cordrey’s are curious and restless people. Over time those Susquehanna and Chesapeake birds lost some attraction not to mention wearing out several GMC trucks carting his ducks to Ohio and other prominent shows, so he decides to de-access the Chesapeake telephone poles cum decoys. He returns to his roots and begins collecting anew Barnegat Broadbills (pairs only please), Blackducks and miniatures. If one wishes to see one of the most complete collections of the aforementioned Jersey decoys go to High Bar Harbor in the wintertime (Bill fishes and plays with his Grandson in the summer.)

This writer has known Billy Cordrey since the 1st Grade at the Beach Haven school – the school just celebrated its 110 years of existence and it seems like a hundred years ago that we were kids. I have a few of his decoys and like the homes he has built on the Island Cordrey’s decoys are “Oh So” pleasing and can be compared to many of the old-time classics. Bill’s generosity extends to his time with the Manahawkin food bank and he’s a magazine of shared information about decoys and The Island’s history.  A good kid who became a good man.

How proud we are, Island natives of long ago, that William H. Cordrey, this year adds “Carver-of-the-Year” to his NJDCA Hall-of-Fame accolades.

                                                                                    Grove Conrad

David Rhodes – A Gentleman & A Carver

David Rhodes

It is with extreme sadness that we learned of the passing of our long-time member and friend, David Rhodes on April 7, 2019. A true gentleman and talented artist.

His wife, Nancy, is on hospice care and we extend our thoughts of peace and comfort to the entire family.

NJDCA Biography of Dave Rhodes as a decoy carver

Services are pending and we will post the information when we have it.

Wishing All a Happy Holiday Season

As the year comes to an end, we would like to thank you all for being Members and Friends of the New Jersey Decoy Collectors Association.

2018 seems to have flown away. For us it was a very successful year.

  • Memberships were up from 2017
  • The annual show was very successful, both in good times and financially for the club
  • Hall of Fame night was enjoyed by many and for the first time elected new inductees posthumously
  • Our general meeting attendance was outstanding, even on lousy weather nights
  • Exhibits put on by the club in the Hunting Shanty at Tuckerton Seaport were the best yet
  • We have a new “home” venue for our 2019 show (and beyond!) 
  • Pizza is back at our meetings and we even had a few complimentary nights
  • and much more went on including great speakers, participation in the Tuckerton show (Ocean County Decoy & Gunning Show), members mentoring Tuckerton Seaport Youth Carvers, videotaping of speakers…

Please be sure to renew your membership for 2019 and sign up for a table at the show if you are so inclined. Our first 2019 meeting is on Tuesday, January 22nd. Until then…


2018 Hall of Fame Induction


On Tuesday, June 2, 2018 the New Jersey Decoy Collectors Association held a small plate reception to honor and celebrate Hurley Conklin (Carver) and John Hillman (Collector) for their contributions to the decoy community. Both men were posthumously elected to the NJ Decoy Hall of Fame this year.

While more than 50 members enjoyed appetizers and desserts several speakers told stories of their encounters with the two men. Members also displayed fine examples of their works and Jim and Deb Allen provided two videos for the members to view. Bob Seabrook provided the storyboards for the evening’s exhibit.

The event was organized by Pete Butler. Blessing given by Clarence Fennimore. Thanks to all who helped with the event. Flowers provided by J.W. Lloyd Lawncare. Photos of the event by Nancee Jo Luciani.

(Click on the light green names to read more about the person)

Established in 2006, the New Jersey Decoy Hall of Fame members now include:
2006 William Cramer
2009 Harry V. Shourds III
2010 David Rhodes
2011 Dick Gove
Art Birdsall
2012 Bill Cordrey
Clarence Fennimore
2013 Bill Doggart
Bob White
2014 Grove Conrad
JP Hand
2015 Lawrence Pollin
Robert Seabrook
2016 Pete Butler
John Holloway
2017 Jim Allen
2018 John Hillman (posthumous)John Hillman_NJDCA 2018 Hall of Famejohnny-a-hillman-drake-pintail-carved-painted-and-signed-vintage-duck-decoysJohn Hillman 36285147_909067499272233_8815442206358765568_nThe Hillman Collection
2018 Hurley Conklin (posthumous)Hurley ConklinHurley Conklin FullSizeRender_NEW_NEWHurley Conklin IMG_2571_NEWIMG_3249_NEW

NJ Decoy Hall of Fame 2018

At the May 2018 general meeting the membership voted to elect the 2018 Decoy Hall of Fame recipients. They are:

The Hillman Collection    Collector is John HIllman (Posthumous).

Hurley Conklin     Carver is Hurley Conklin (posthumous).

On Tuesday, June 26, 2018 these two men and their contributions to the decoy world and NJDCA will be honored at the Manahawkin Elks Lodge, 520 HIlliard Boulevard, Manahawkin, NJ 08050 at 6 p.m. Members and guests are invited to join us for appetizers and dessert.

Members please bring an appetizer to share. Dessert will be provided. Cash bar.

Please join us!

It’s Time

…for our Annual Decoy Show & Sale. This year we are pleased to be partnering with NJ Ducks Unlimited to present a Bucket Raffle and Auction.

The large banquet room at the Manahawkin Holiday Inn will be full of Decoy, art, and hunting collectibles and we also will have our usual activities of the day.

We encourage everyone to stop and say hello to Featured Carver Barry Griffiths.

Food and drink is available through Hotel Services.

Those attending who are members of DU or the Elks (our new meeting place hosts) or join NJDCA at the show will get an opportunity to win a special Decoy door prize.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 24, 2018, 9a.m.-4p.m., Holiday Inn Manahawkin, 151 Route 72 East, Manahawkin NJ 08050