Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Duff Tweed Sells Ten Carvings to One Owner

We’re baaaaack, and a lot quicker than expected. 

We were contacted on May 6, 2012 by a wonderful couple, Margaret and Joe who reside on the west coast of the United States.  They first wrote to inquire about selling their collection of TEN, that’s right, ten Duff Tweed carvings.  We were thrilled to find another collector of Duff Tweed carvings who had actually put together a full collection of carvings, three of which we have never seen before.

From what we gathered from our conversation with Joe and Margaret, was that they had purchased all ten carvings directly from Duff in the late 1970’s.  Joe had a diesel engine shop where he built diesel engines for automobiles.

One day this man appears, sharing his association with Disney and walks in with ten unique carvings.  That man was Duff Tweed and he had all these carvings stored in his car and was making sales trips to find interested buyers.  This is how Duff sold most of his carvings and we have had this verified by many other Duff Tweed carving owners.

Joe took one look at the carvings and purchased all ten directly from Duff.  We asked Joe if he could share any particulars, but it was a long time ago and he recalled Duff walking in, displaying the carvings, selling them and then driving off on his merry way.

We had actually made a deal with Margaret and Joe to purchase all ten carvings, but quite understandably they decided to hold onto them for a while longer.  There were only three that were of particular interest to us, as we do not yet have them in our collection.  Below are all ten carvings from pictures sent by Margaret and Joe.  Some were smaller, so I attempted to crop them, make them larger and hopefully clearer.

 The first picture to the left is a trio of Duff Tweed carvings.  The first one pictured is named “Our Fearless Leader”, one of the three carvings we do not have in the collection. Then we have the ever so familiar “Sue the Bastards” and “Wall Street Hobo”.

Next we have Duff Tweed’s fisherman. We only recently acquired our carving of the fisherman and absolutely love it.  Makes you want to go fishing, doesn’t it?  If not, then you can just get in the boat and drink. Hehe.

To the left is the Duff Tweed carving we named The Laughing Golfer.  We have two in our collection, but this is the first time we have seen the carving elsewhere.  As far as we can tell, Duff did more carvings of golfers and hobos than any other topic.  We are aware of over 14 different golfer carvings made by Mr. Tweed.

Speaking of Duff’s Hobos, here are two of them. The one on the lower left is Duff’s “The Low Bidder” which we own several of in different painted patches and colors.  The second carving to the lower right is a hobo resting on a post.  This second carving is not yet a part of the Duff Tweed collection, but we have a friend who was going to sell it to us.  Time will tell.  We’d love to add the one below to the collection. He's a happy guy!

Below we have a set of three Poker Players by Duff Tweed.  We absolutely love this set of carvings and are aware of four in existence.  We have two sets of this carving in our collection, but the color of the paint does differ on some characters.  Joe and Margaret have a nice clean set of three.  We have always loved this carving and over payed for our first set.  Note the expression on each carvings face.  Did you catch the guy in the middle cheating by reaching under the table to get more cards?  His face tells the entire story.

Last but not least, we have Duff Tweed’s tennis players.  The picture to the left below is of a carving we do not have.  The carving is of a tennis player poised to receive his next serve.  We have never seen this carving before and think he pairs wonderfully with the tennis player below and to the right.  The second tennis player which is also really neat, is a member of the collection twice.

We’re sending out a HUGE thank you to Margaret and Joe for taking the time to share their wonderful collection with the world.  THANK YOU!!! 

We believe they were surprised by the lower values presently attributed to Duff’s carvings.  We do look forward to picking up some of their pieces in the future, but knowing they own and are enjoying their wonderful collection is the best reward ever.  

It is the collective group of Duff Tweed carvings owners that truly contribute to the future value of these priceless pieces of vintage art and culture.  What we appreciate most about our fellow collectors is that they have these carvings purely for their love and appreciation of Mr. Tweeds work, and not for the dollar value they will have in the future.  Duff Tweed collectors, you are a special breed, apart from the rest!

All the best!


  1. Hi Joe! My father-in-law (actually my mother in law) has requested I dispose of this previously unheard of DUFF TWEED wood carving. It is of "OUR FEARLESS LEADER" described above. It was purchsed in the late sixties or early seventies by his employees as a gift for setting up a business while he was in California. He has kept it all this time and is in excellent condition. It has been stored all this time (hidden actually) M-I-L hates it. Tea-totaler. F-I-L not so much!!! He-he!!! He's in his eighties and said it might be worth something as his wife scoffed so I did some research and here I am. What might it be worth? Enough to get us some old mule? Mort. rmortenson@halesmachinetool.com

    1. Hi Mort. Thanks for writing. Love your father-in-laws story! I am now aware of four individual carvings of Our Fearless Leader, but suspect there are more out there. Yours sounds like it is in excellent preserved condition. Personally, from what you told me, I would hold onto the piece. Presently Duff's carvings sell on Ebay for between $50 to $150 for an individual carving, but most often that $150 price tag is paid by myself or another fellow collector/friend I work with in amassing a shared collection between us. We pay $150 for the ones neither of us own. As time marches on, I am hopeful the demand for Duff's work will increase. It actually has increased in the past couple of years. They are getting more difficult to find! If interested in selling the piece, let's communicate...sorry, it will not be enough for that mule! LOL Write me directly at DuffTweedCarvings@gmail.com. All the best! Joe