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Ducks Unlimited belt buckles are items of merchandise commissioned by the international non-profit organisation Ducks Unlimited.
Background and Description
Ducks Unlimited are an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation and conservation of wetlands and upland habitats for waterfowl and wildlife. They were established in 1937 by a group of duck hunters concerned about the loss of wetlands and habitats for waterfowl during the Dust Bowl, and the impact this would have on wildfowl hunting as a sport. The group became a leader in waterfowl habitat conservation, and has grown to be the world’s largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetlands conservation organisation. It continues to protect these areas, allowing for a steady continuation in duck and waterfowl populations.
Since growing in popularity worldwide, they also produce merchandise to help raise money for their cause, including clothing, artwork prints, books, hipflasks, hunting accessories etc. These are generally collected by members of Ducks Unlimited, or those interested in waterfowl hunting.
Ducks Unlimited belt buckles are produced in limited runs to mark auspicious occasions in the history of the organisation, such as the 1987 50th anniversary of Ducks Unlimited, or they are produced for the members of a specific area. For example, the 1996 Alaska Ducks Unlimited belt buckle, of which 400 were produced, the 1984 Iowa Ducks Unlimited belt buckle, of which only 1000 were produced, or the 1984 Nebraska Ducks Unlimited belt buckle, of which only 2500 were produced.
These often state how many were produced in their limited edition, with a statement to the effect of ‘this buckle represents a commitment to waterfowl conservation by Iowa sportsmen who are members and supporters of Ducks Unlimited’.
On the reverse side, the buckles often have a makers mark, for example some are stamped by the Wyoming Studio Art Works, a well-known maker of vintage belt buckles. These list James Lind’s copyright plus date, and are sometimes signed ‘Le Blanc’ on the front. Examples also exist produced by Rothchild Industries, Greenville S.C.
Buckles are made of pewter or brass, with the Ducks Unlimited name or logo, often with images of ducks, waterfowl and wetlands.
Collecting Ducks Unlimited belt buckles
Ducks Unlimited belt buckles have a niche area of collectibles, generally members of Ducks Unlimited, or waterfowl hunters, or just people who like the look of these vintage metal buckles. As they are produced in limited runs, they are likely to become more valuable as time goes on, as long as collectors continue to have an interest in them.
They can be found at car boot sales, flea markets, antique fairs, estate sales, or on auction websites such as eBay. If new examples are produced for members, they will be found at a Ducks Unlimited event or convention.
Ducks unlimited belt buckles generally sell for between $5 and $20 on eBay, though particularly nice examples are offered for around $50 elsewhere on the internet. They are likely to be cheaper at a car boot sale or antique fair or similar.
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