Contact Information:

Chad Tragakis, President

      Potomac Decoy Collectors Association

Code of Ethics

Decoy collecting is a rewarding, enriching and enjoyable activity.  The Potomac Decoy Collectors Association (PDCA) was formed in 1997 to encourage and promote interest in and appreciation of waterfowl decoys and related items among collectors based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region and around the country.  The following code was developed in 2007 to provide a framework of ethics “best practices” that will help establish common standards and expectations for all members and others in the greater decoy collecting community, thereby furthering our enjoyment of the hobby.

Most of these common sense principles are already widely practiced by PDCA members and should go without saying.  For the benefit and education of all, however, we shall list and describe them here.  Each of us will decide what these values mean to us personally, but we all should subscribe to the same high level of fairness, respect and personal conduct.

PDCA’s Code of Ethics defines the standards and behavior that are expected from every PDCA member and, ideally, from all fellow decoy collectors.  It was developed through consultation with members and others in the decoy collecting field, draws inspiration from similar codes adopted and promoted by fellow collecting organizations and associations, and was approved by majority vote of the membership.  Please take the time to read it, understand it and live it.  It is the gold standard of behavior we expect from everyone in PDCA. 

These ideals are non-binding and PDCA shall not arbitrate, but by joining PDCA, members accept and pledge to uphold the spirit of this Code of Ethics in the course of interacting with one another and with those outside PDCA. 

We believe in . . .

1 People first.  No decoy or object should ever come before friendship or between PDCA members.  There are more than enough good decoys out there for each of us to collect.

2 Being good ambassadors.  Members shall strive to be good ambassadors for PDCA and for the greater decoy collecting community.  We will conduct ourselves so as to bring no discredit to the PDCA or to impair the prestige of PDCA or its members.  We will at all times obey all applicable laws and the rules governing the shows, auctions or events we are attending.

3 Accuracy and honesty.  Members should make every effort to establish the true condition and authenticity of all decoys and related items they offer for sale.  Members pledge to always disclose any damage, repairs or restoration to decoys they may be selling.  If a buyer finds that a seller has misrepresented the condition or authenticity of a decoy or related item—or if damage or a repair invisible at the time of purchase is discovered—they should be given the right to return the item and receive a full refund.  Sellers pledge to promptly correct any error they make in a decoy-related transaction.

4 Ensuring Integrity.  Sellers must pass to buyers clear title on all decoys and related items sold.  Members agree never to knowingly purchase or sell any decoys or related items whose ownership is in question.  Additionally, members will make every effort to prevent the theft of decoys and pledge to report to the proper legal authorities any information known concerning stolen items.  Members shall cooperate fully with law enforcement in an effort to recover and return stolen decoys and related items and apprehend and prosecute those responsible.

5 Encouraging new collectors.  PDCA members shall actively encourage and support those new to decoy collecting.  In addition, special care shall be taken when selling to, trading with or purchasing from new collectors.  Experienced collectors must not take advantage of the inexperience of newer members of our club and hobby.

We aspire to . . .

6 Speak up!  In the best interest of the PDCA, its members and the greater decoy collecting community, members should willingly share with others the lessons of their experience and scholarship for the benefit of all.  Additionally, members shall not knowingly misrepresent a decoy for sale—or allow a decoy to be misrepresented or over-represented at auction.  If a member knows that a decoy offered for sale is being misrepresented, it is his/her duty to alert the seller or auction house and fellow collectors.

7 Honor and respect one another.  Debates and disagreements are natural, healthy and important aspects of PDCA’s efforts at decoy scholarship.  We must, however, always remain civil and conduct ourselves cordially and with the highest standards of courtesy and respect.  Members should not criticize or express opinions regarding decoys to others unless invited to do so by one of the principals involved in a transaction.  In expressing opinions, members pledge to do so with courtesy and to be fair and impartial.  Members should also refrain from personally disparaging a fellow member or collector and his/her decoys.

8 Avoid conflicts of interest.  PDCA members shall refrain from providing decoy evaluation or appraisal services to others where they have a present or contemplated interest or an appearance of conflict unless such interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.  Additionally, members shall conduct all decoy purchases, sales and trades in the spirit of fairness and integrity.

9 Be true caretakers.  With the understanding that we are only caretakers for our decoys and related items for a short time, we shall protect, preserve, adequately house, maintain and document the items in our care to the utmost of our ability.  We shall also promote scholarship and share knowledge about the decoys and other items in our collections with others. 

10 Always use good judgment.  While certain issues related to decoys and decoy-collecting are subjective and matters of personal preference, careful consideration should be given before any repairs or restoration are performed.  Good judgment should prevail.  When possible—in keeping with prevailing standards of preservation—restoration to important decoys should be reversible and all repairs should be detectable.  In this way, important examples will be preserved for the future enjoyment of all.

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