Marv Meyer is still making hand-crafted duck calls
This week's discussion will be the first of many highlighting sporting collectibles from individuals who still are producing their product. My goal is to illustrate valuable items are available to you from craftsmen and women who reside right here in Minnesota. One such person is Marv Meyer from Richfield, in the Twin Cities area. Marv is well respected nationally and best known for his duck and goose calls and wooden birds. Our focus here will be his hand crafted duck calls. The best written resource I have found which discusses in detail the many skills of Marv is Doug Lodermeier's book titled, "Minnesota Duck Calls, Yesterday's and Today's Folk Artists."
Marv began making calls in 1989. It's interesting to note Marv's wife, Diane, worked full-time, which gave him the much-needed time to pursue his passion in woodcarving. Her efforts were instrumental in allowing Marv to enjoy the success and respect he now has with his calls and wooden birds.
Marv, like many carvers, harvests his own wood for the hand made items he produces. For calls, he starts with a two by two inch block of wood. He utilizes many local and exotic woods, which provide a vast array of styles that appeal to the collector. His call styles include the ever-popular Reelfoot, Glodo. These styles use a one-piece insert or commonly called stopper. This type of call was very common "back in the day." In addition, Marv makes a Louisiana, two-piece call. The wording, one-piece or two-piece simply means the number of pieces which the insert (stopper) consists of.
Marv's most sought after calls are his Reelfoot call with six raised and checkered panels, three up and three down. The carving detail on such a call is quite impressive to say the least. Anyone who works with wood in any fashion can appreciate the skill and detail necessary to produce such a high quality piece of art.
As with most artists, creativity is essential to their continued success. Marv has covered calls with beavertail leather, rattlesnake, eelpout skin to name just a few. It's such diversity that has collectors pursuing his product for their collections and use in the duck slough.
I feel it important to mention the Marv Meyer two-piece Louisiana style duck call and the many types of wood used to construct them. Look for his calls made with apple wood, catalpa and pipestone, curly sugar maple, deer antler, black walnut (many of his calls have brass bands which adds value), mastodon tusk from Alaska, black palm/elk antler, red elm, black ash burl and the list goes on and on.
Until recently, Marv sold his calls in very stylish wooden walnut boxes. More often today, they come in a colorful paper box. Always look for the Marv Meyer brand when purchasing an item of his. Such markings guarantee you're getting an original. A special note on his calls with brass bands -- check that band and make sure his name is etched on it. All of his bands have that engraving.
In terms of value, Lodermeier's book gives an excellent price list for Marv's products. Prices may have gone up since this reference came out in 2003. However, I believe they will be close. The Reelfoot three panel carved call runs up to $150. A solid deer antler call costs from $75 to $150. His specialty covered calls are a bit less running from $65 to $100. A triple head call is highly collectible at $300. Lastly, elk antler trim call is $100 to $150.
I can share from personal experience you won't be disappointed in a Marv Meyer call, regardless of the cost. My advice is check eBay, as you may get lucky and get a good buy on one of his calls from someone short on cash. Patience is key if you're a bargain hunter. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.