West Sea Company

4. Scrimshaw & Whaling

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN


NOTE: A California statute makes it illegal in that state to "possess with the intent to sell" many forms of srimshaw, elephant ivory and other endangered species products, without regard to the age of the object. Accordingly, the items listed below are not available to California residents. However West Sea Company still maintains its long-time affiliate in the state of Massachusetts where these antique items are currently stored and sold legally. Any item you purchase from us is absolutely legal.



4.37  BODKIN/PIPE TAMPER.  Excellent whaleman-made sailor’s bodkin (sewing punch) with the dual purpose of being a pipe tamper.  This functional example of scrimshaw was turned from the dense panbone of a sperm whale.  It was then meticulously cross hatched on the end and decorated with red and green scribe bands.  2 7/8 inches long and ½ inch in diameter.  Outstanding condition.  An especially elegant form.  SOLD


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4.35  CLOTHESPINS.  Grouping of two 19th century sailor-made clothespins.  These classic examples of working sailor scrimshaw are turned with decorative scribe lines from the dense panbone of a sperm whale.  Varying in length and form, both were effectively designed for actual use.  They have turned bulbous knobs giving way to long slotted limbs with surprisingly stout flexibility.  4 ¾ and 5 ¾ inches in length.  Both are about ¾ inches in diameter.  Excellent original condition exhibiting good age patina from actual use.  195

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.33  SCRIMSHAWED ESKIMO RELIC.  Highly detailed scrimshaw scene depicting an angry sperm whale crushing a whaleboat in half, sending its hapless crew flailing in the air.  In the distance the mother whaleship can be seen approaching under full sail.  Uniquely, this scene is done on a section of an antique Eskimo sled runner made from fossilized walrus tusk.  The original drill holes in the tusk were made for attachment of the runner to the sled using seal sinew.  The scene is signed lower left “David O. Adams.”  Execution is of the highest order, requiring magnification to reveal the exquisite details.  The tusk measures 7 inches long by 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick.  It is mounted on an oval stand made of solid walnut with a felt bottom.   It measures 9 inches long by 3 ¾ inches wide.  Outstanding condition in all respects.  945


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4.31  REFERENCE BOOK.  Kenneth Martin, “Whalemen’s Paintings and Drawing from the Kendall Whaling Museum Collection,” 1983, Trustees of the Kendall Whaling Museum.  Hard cloth cover with dust jacket, 169 pages.  Fully illustrated in black and white with color plates.  A very nice compilation of illustrations depicting all manner of the American whaleman’s life, including sections on “Whaling Encounters, Shipboard Life, Landfalls, Sea Creatures, Ships and Boats, and Designs, doodles and Daydreams.”  Fascinating content.   Ex libris.  Excellent original condition.  39


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4.30  WHALING DOCUMENTARY.  Elton Hall, “Sperm Whaling from New Bedford, Clifford Ashley’s Photographs of the Bark Sunbeam in 1904.”  221 glossy pages, hard cloth cover with dust jacket.  Highly illustrated with titled captions depicting all aspects of life and action aboard the whaleship SUNBEAM.  Clifford Ashley was a recognized artist and whaling enthusiast in the waning days of the American whale fishery.  This exceptional book is a window into that lost era.  Perfect original condition, noting one minor scuff in the dust jacket.  29


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4.33  SCRIMSHAW FID/AWL.  Original 19th century whaleman-made example of working scrimshaw embodied in a small ropeworking fid or awl (punch).  This fine specimen consists of a turned bulbous islandwood handle stoutly affixed to a whale ivory shaft with pointed tip.  The knob is rove through to accompany a thong.  5 ¾ inches in length by 1 ½ inches in diameter on the knob.  The whale tooth shaft is ½ inch at its thickest.  Excellent original condition showing good use but no abuse.  An especially effective compact design of this type of sailor’s tool for rope splicing and sail mending.  189

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.34  SAILOR’s PERSONAL TOOL.  19th century sailor’s hygiene tool made of whale bone.  This ingenious device has 3 folding blades nestled within its riveted bone case.   One blade is for manicuring finger nails and includes an inlaid metal file.  The second is a tooth pick.  The third is an ear scoop.  On the face of it, that’s pretty amazing for a compact device only 2 ¾ inches long, less than ½ inches thick.  But the piece-de-resistance is the stanhope inlaid in the body.  A close look reveals a naked Victorian beauty as seen through a key hole!  Outstanding original condition in all respects.  A rarity!  239

A Stanhope is defined as an optical device typically embedded in a bijou, utilizing a modified Stanhope microscope for viewing a micrograph embedded in a the body.  A “bijou” is a small trinket or intricate piece of jewelry.

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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2.85/4.29  PLANK-ON-FRAME MODEL.  Charming, sailor-made near scale model of an American whaleboat from the 19th century.  This entirely scratch-built model is realistically molded using indigenous wood for frames and planking, and mahogany for the keel, cap rails and rudder.  The rudder is realistically mounted using post and pintel attachments.  Oarlock holders, cleat, tiller, logger head and chocks are similarly constructed.   The model is complete with 4 very realistic oars.   It also has a working brass hinge for attachment to a retractable sailing mast.  The model is mounted in its original form-fitting hardwood stand.  The model measures 12 ¼ inches from stem to back of the rudder.  It has a beam of 3 ¼ inches and is 3 ¼ inches tall to the top of the tiller.  Excellent original condition retaining its original varnished finish.   675


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4.28  SCRIMSHAW REFERENCE BOOK.  Edouard Stackpole, “Scrimshaw At Mystic Seaport,” 1966, The Marine Historical Association, Inc. Mystic Connecticut.  Hard cloth cover with dust jacket, 53 pages, profusely illustrated in black and white.  Following Everett Crosby’s ground breaking “Susan’s Teeth and much about Scrimshaw” published in 1955, this is the second oldest book ever to be written about the subject.  It is the first scholarly text which defined and described scrimshaw accompanied by photographs of the fine collection held in the Mystic Seaport Museum.  The brief chapters include, “The Development of a Folk Art at Sea, Origin of Scrimshaw,  The Raw materials of Scrimshaw, The Jagging or Crimping Wheel, The Sperm Whale’s Jaw Bone, Baleen Whalebone, The Yarn Winder or “Swift,” Canes, Captains and Mates as Scrimshaw Experts, Walrus Tusk and Narwhal Horn, and The Whaleman Scrimshaws for Himself,” among others.  Excellent original condition.  A corner stone and a must for the scrimshaw collector’s library.  Crosby’s book sells for well over five hundred dollars. 29  


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4.27  SCRIMSHAW REFERENCE BOOK.   Nina Hellman and Norman Brower, “A Mariner’s Fancy,” 1992, South Street Seaport Museum, Balsam Press.  Glossy soft cover, 93 pages exclusive of Index, richly illustrated in color and black and white.  Long time nautical antiques dealer Nina Hellman was one of the pioneers in her field, beginning in the late 1960’s.  Evidence of her early expertise was published in 1975 by author Jacqueline Kranz in the reference book “American Nautical Art and Antiques” in which Kranz drew heavily from Hellman’s inventory.  Moving to Nantucket in the midst of her career, the author, along with her husband Robert, came to be known as two of the foremost experts in America’s whaling industry and the artful whalemen’s hobby known as “Scrimshaw.”  Here, in collaboration with Norman Brower, curator at South Street Seaport Museum, and his knowledge of New York as a whaling port, the two have effectively compiled a photographically documented treatise on both topics.  Ms. Hellman’s section entitled “A Mariner’s Fancy:  The Whaleman’s Art of Scrimshaw” is subtitled, Yankee Whaling, New York and the Whaling Industry, The Whaleman’s Life and the Origin of Scrimshaw, The Nature of Scrimshaw, The Teeth, Whaling Scenes Patriotism and Ships, Identifying Scrimshaw Artists, Women, Homesickness and Sentimentality, The Sailor Personified, Other Subjects, British Scrimshaw, Other Forms, Pie Crimpers and other Domestic Articles, Canes, Ditty Boxes and Trinkets, Busks, Needlework Items, Scrimshaw Walrus Tusks, The Eskimos, and Scrimshaw After the Whaling Period.  Mr. Brower’s section is a brief but concise of the history of New York whaling form 1705 to its demise in 1879.  The entire book is profusely illustrated with wood block prints, lithography, and exquisite modern photography of antiques scrimshaw.  8 by 9 inches.  Author signed.  As new condition.  29


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4.26  SCRIMSHAW SWORDFISH FID.  Very unusual sailor’s fid fashioned from the bill of a swordfish!  This authentic 19th century example of working scrimshaw consists of a swordfish bill which has been carved down to its bone-like surface on the smooth working end.  The  handle increases in size and terminates in a decorative silver cap and screw.  The highly textured surface of the bill offers an exceptional grip.   Just shy of 8 inches long.  The handle is 4 1/8th inches long by ¾ inch wide at the thickest.  Excellent original condition.  A rarity!  129


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4.25   SCRIMSHAW REFERENCE BOOK.  Stuart M. Frank, PhD. “Ingenious Contrivances Curiously Carved,” 2012, David R. Godine, Jaffrey, New Hampshire.  Hard cloth cover with dust jacket.  375 pages exclusive of index including 2 Appendices listing the roster of known scrimshaw artists and a guide to the scrimshaw currently held in the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  Profusely illustrated in color by expert photographer Richard Donnelly.  Forward by the noted scrimshaw pioneer E. Norman Flayderman, the author who first composed a comprehensive illustrated publication on the subject of scrimshaw in the early 1970’s.   In a word, this book is “fabulous.”  Authored by the world’s foremost expert on scrimshaw and the Curator Emeritus of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, it represents the epitome of books on the subject of scrimshaw.  To be sure it is first and foremost a stunning catalog raisonné which documents in full color the contents of the world’s largest and most comprehensive museum about whaling.  Located in new England, its focus on America’s Yankee whaling in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.  13 chapters deal with topics including “Yankee Scrimshaw Pioneers, The Golden Age, The Whalemen’s Prowess, Tools and Methods, Canes, Sticks and Rods, Baskets Boxes and Bins, Swifts, and Eskimo Scrimshaw” to name a few.  Mint, unread condition.  The original published price was $65 12 years ago,  Now mint, with author’s signature.  79


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4.23 UNUSUAL BODKIN. Precisely-made made 19th century scrimshaw bodkin.  This authentic example of the whaleman’s art consists of a miniature fid turned entirely from a sperm whale’s tooth.  It has several fine decorative scribe lines along its length and 4 raised bulbous bands.  But what is truly unique about this scrimshaw is that it was made in two separate sections.  The actual purpose of this construction is not clear, but it is beautifully executed.  2 ¾ inches in length and a mere 3/8 inches in width.   A genuine bargain in light of current auction prices for similar items ranging from $300-600, especially in light of its unique composition.  99

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.16  SCRIMSHAW.  Remarkable mid-century ‘scrimshaw’ done on a much older sperm whale’s tooth.  This unique example features a real whale’s tooth which is 3 ½ inches long, professionally engraved with very detailed scenes on both sides.  The charming obverse side whimsically depicts Old Man Weather with long hair and flowing beard blowing a breeze.  The reverse depicts a beautifully-rendered port side view of a whaleship plying choppy seas.  The tooth is very unusual in that it would have projected only about ½ inch above the whale’s gum line!  While this work cannot technically be called “scrimshaw” from the Yankee whaling era, the tooth itself is definitely from that time frame, later decorated with quality engraving.  A period example of this wonderful subject matter would certainly command thousands of dollars.  As such this is an exceptional bargain for the collector who wishes to acquire an example of engraving on a real whale’s tooth at a fraction of the going multi-thousand dollar price!  895

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.24  CASK MEASURING STICK.  Very scarce, genuine 19th century whaleman-made measuring stick used to ascertain the quantity of oil in a barrel of whale oil.  This elegant example of working scrimshaw looks like a delicate walking stick of the era.  But in fact it is a functional tool.  It consists of a 4 sided shaft made of solid rosewood with riveted whale ivory ends.  The ivory tip is tapered.  The shaft is also gently tapered its entire length.  Of particular importance is the fact that it has inlaid silver dots spaced along one side at specific intervals.  The stick measures 36 inches long.  At  exactly its mid-point, 18 inches, are 4 inlaid silver dots on all sides obviously indicating “1/2.”  Less clear as to their meaning, are an additional 16 dots at specific intervals.  This antique “dip stick” is in beautiful original condition with absolutely no damage.  A rarity in the world of Yankee whaling – much rarer than its scrimshaw cane cousins!  895


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4.20  NYE OIL.  Scarce, fine unopened bottle of Nye whale oil made in the 19th century.  This mint bottle has full original paper labels front and back.  The front reads (in part) “NYOIL 4 Oils Combined For Lubricating Cleaning Polishing and Preventing Rust… The Most Highly Refined Oil That Has Yet Been Produced…Manufactured By Wm F. Nye, New Bedford . Mass. U.S.A.”  The top of the label bears the iconic logo of the company – A whale in a flurry attacked by a whale boat with the mother ship in the background.  The label on the back extols directions and uses of the old, reading “Contains No Acid And Will Not Gum or Stain.”  The bottle retains its original cork stopper with serrated paper sunburst seal covering at the top.  Complete original contents.  As an added value this presentation offers its original cardboard box with an image of the bottle reading “Manufactured By William F. Nye New Bedford Mass. U.S.A." The box is generally intact but toned with age and the top flaps are tattered.  The bottle measures 6 ½ inches tall.  The box is 6 7/8 by 2 by 1 ¼ inch.  Certainly a rare find in this complete, unopened condition.  295


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4.19  EXTRAORDINARY SCRIMSHAW.   A rare example of 19th century whaleman folk art in the form of a decorated porpoise jaw.  This authentic specimen consists of an entire lower jawbone replete with at least 94 original teeth.  Scrimshaw art work embellishes both sides of the jaw bone, which in whaling terms would be called “panbone.”  In fact this presentation looks exactly like a miniature version of the jawbone from a sperm whale!  The left side is decorated with the image of a lady in a hoop skirt (Civil War era) with bracelets on both arms; her right hand gesturing.  Above are 2 classic sailor stars within rope borders.  Below are foliate designs.  On the right side another woman is depicted standing holding a flower.  Above her is a spray of leaves and a sheaf of wheat.  Below are more foliate designs.  Interestingly, the very tip of the jaw retains a substantial amount of preserved hide.  14 ½ inches long by 5 ½ inches wide and 2 ½  inches thick.  This scarce example is in an outstanding state of original preservation.  Almost all of the nearly 100 teeth are complete and in excellent condition, with only a couple of exceptions.  This piece has a rich age patina.  The charming engraving is clear and well defined.   1895

Few examples of porpoise scrimshaw were produced in the Golden Age of whaling.  Whalemen did not specifically set out to hunt porpoises, but rather focused their quests on the porpoise and dolphin’s larger cousins, the whales.  However as both porpoises and dolphins were known to frolic in the bow waves of a moving ship (even as they do today) it was not uncommon for the adventurous harpooner to snag a prize as fresh meat for the crew.  Scrimshawing was another matter.

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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3.20/4.17 WHALESHIP COMPASS.  Genuine mid-19th century American drycard compass as used on an American whaleship.  This extra large compass has a beautifully-engraved card marked in points of the compass rose with the Cardinal and Intercardinal points identified.  North is designated by a very elaborate fleur-de-lis which is signed “Breed, Boston.”  East is embellished with a handsome American eagle perched on a Union shield, clutching arrows and olive branches.  The periphery of the card is marked in single degrees in 4 quadrants marked by 10’s.  The center bears its high quality jeweled pivot.  The card is undoubtedly that of Samuel Thaxter & Son, Boston circa 1825.  In our inventory we have an identical card thus signed.  What is so interesting is the fact that the compass was obviously restored by Sherman of New Bedford, bearing the overlaid label surrounding the pivot reading “C. R. SHERMAN * NEW BEDFORD*.”  Sherman was THE preeminent maker/provider of instruments and navigational supplies to whaleships at the height of Yankee whaling in the 1860’s and 70’s.  The compass is housed in its original weighted brass bowl slung in gimbals.  The brass bezel retains its old wavy glass held in with putty in the traditional manner.  The compass is lively and accurate, swinging correctly in its original pine box held with copper nails.  The original chamfered sliding lid is present, opening and closing properly.  Of additional interest and value is the fact that the outside of the box bears the partial label reading “Repaired By C. R. Sherman & Co., 40 North Water Street, New…”  The compass measures 7 inches in diameter and the box is 10 inches square by 7 inches high.  The compass and its box are in excellent condition considering they are 200 years old.   A wonderful original relic from the days of Yankee whaling which is still functional!  A museum piece at a true bargain price.   945 Special Packaging

Interestingly, the inside bowl of the compass bears some hand written inscriptions reading:

“John New Trolander
May 31, 1854
June 15, 1863
Sept 18th 1868”

Charles R. Sherman began his apprenticeship with John Kehew in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1849.  He took over the company in 1865 under the name C. R. Sherman & Co. at 49 North Water Street.

Samuel Thaxter was born in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1769 and was apprenticed to the Colonial American instrument maker William Williams.  Thaxter began his own business at 1 Long Wharf, Boston in 1792.  Thaxter took his son into the business in 1822 on State Street, Boston.  (M.V. Brewington, “The Peabody Museum of Navigating Instruments,” 1963, Peabody museum, Salem Massachusetts.)

Aaron Breed (1761-1817) was a little known maker of mathematical instruments who worked in Boston into the 19th century. He specialized in nautical, mathematical and optical instruments, with an address at 173 Broad Street, and another at No. 2 Rowe's Wharf, "At the Sign of the Quadrant."  Breed made surveying instruments in brass and in wood.  A brass instrument is in the Henry Ford Museum, and a wooden instrument is in the collection of Old Sturbridge Village.  The latter is fashioned from walnut with an engraved compass card inscribed "Aaron Breed Boston."


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4.18   AMERICAN HARPOON.   Rare, genuine mid-1800’s whaling harpoon of the type known as a “darting iron.”  This innovative device unique to the Yankee whalers in the second half of the 19th century is constructed of hand-forged black iron with a cast steel toggle tip.  It is of the classic Temple toggle type with pivoting head which rotated once striking the whale to assure a firm hold.  A small hole in the head allowed for a wooden “keeper” pin to align the head in position forl firing, then sheer off when struck.  The toggle still pivots nicely as originally configured.   This handsome example of the blacksmith’s artistry has a forge-welded loop retaining much of its original leather seizing applied by a sailor aboard ship. The entire iron measures 26 ¼ inches in length.  The toggle head is 7 ¼ inches long and ¾ inches thick.  Excellent overall original condition throughout.  Absolutely no rust!  975

The idea of harpooning a whale and killing it at the same time was a concept pursued by many inventors in the mid-1800’s.   Many a “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” ended in an overturned boat caused by a harpooned whale.  Toward the end of the Civil War an implement known as a “darting gun” was introduced.  By 1872 the idea had been perfected.  A “gun” with explosive charge was mounted on the end of a standard harpoon pole.  An explosive “bomb lance” was loaded into the gun barrel and a special harpoon called a darting iron was mounted to the side of the gun.  The trigger of the gun was a long rod extending from the muzzle mid-way up the harpoon.  When the harpoon penetrated the whale the rod struck the whale’s side activating the trigger which discharged the bomb into the whale.  The recoil of the explosion separated the harpoon from its pole.  It and the whale were then retrieved with a lanyard rove through the loop.

Nearly a dozen darting irons are held in the prestigious collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  Of those, the closest item is 139 descried at “Made by Macy, Bark A. R. Tucker with serving on ring.  Length 39 in.”

(Thomas G. Lytle, “Harpoons and Other Whalecraft,” 1984 The Old Dartmouth Historical Society Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts).


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4.15  SCRIMSHAW PIE CRIMPER.  Authentic mid-1800’s whaleman-made jagging wheel.  This genuine example of whaler folk art consists of a crenelated wheel made from whale tooth ivory and a handle turned from the dense jawbone of a sperm whale.  The crimper is in beautiful original condition measuring 4 ¾ inches long.  It has acquired a nice mellow age patina to all surfaces.  Super bargain priced.  WAS $495  NOW! 149

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.13  SPERM WHALE OIL.  Original, sealed, unopened bottle of “Pure Sperm Whale Oil” as graphically and descriptively indicated on the paper label.  The glass bottle has a corked spout with its original paper seal.  The front label reads “NYE” with the image of a sperm whale in a flurry.  It is followed by “Pure Sperm Whale OIL specially processed for jewelers lathes and Oil Stones Manufactured by William F. Nye Inc. New Bedford, Mass., U.S.A.”  The rare honey golden contents are untouched and totally complete.  The bottle measures 3 inches tall by 1 ¼ inches wide and is in perfect original condition.  The original label shows its age but is totally intact.   A scarce untouched find well over 100 years old!  SOLD


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4.14  ARTISTIC SCRIMSHAW.   Here is a simply fabulous example of the contemporary scrimshander’s art depicting a whaleboat being upended by an angry sperm whale.  The centerpiece is a classic Yankee whaleboat with 6 occupants shown at the moment they were capsized by a huge whale.  The giant whale’s flukes are depicted in the background.  The hapless whalers, comprised of the boat steerer, 4 oarsmen and the harpooner are all dislodged from their stations and headed for the drink.  In the background the mother whaleship is shown on the right.  The quality and detail of this work cannot be over described.  Simply stated it is SUPERB!  It is signed lower right, “Ray Peters 1989 ASMA.”   12 ¾ inches long by 2 ¼ inches wide at the widest.  Given its shape and configuration, it is quite possibly an ancient Eskimo sled runner.  Photographs simply do not do justice to the quality of the work which bears close scrutiny under near microscopic magnification!  995

Ray Peters, a ranking member of the American Society of marine Artists, was a noted scrimshaw artist in the late 1900’s.  His works sold well into 4 figures.  Much of his output were offered on the website scrimshawcollector.com.

As of this posting a similar, but smallerand far less detailed item is offered on eBay for $1,250. (144797512116)

The medium offered here, antique fossilized walrus ivory, is completely legal in all dominions.


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4.12  WHALEBONE CLOTHESPINS.  Matched set of 9 individually hand-made clothespins turned out of the dense whalebone from a sperm whale’s jaw called “panbone.”  This diminutive set is a demonstrable example of utilitarian scrimshaw produced by the whalers in the 19th century.  Each is shaped with a bulbous top and a tapered body with a slot to fit on the clothesline.  All have identical decorative scribe lines at the “waste” above the slot.  2 ¾ inches long each.  Outstanding original condition.  A rare matched set.  289
Not available or for sale in California. Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.99 WISK BROOM.  A good example of 19th century commercial output from the products of the American whale fishery.  This utilitarian item is embodied in a small whisk broom with a multitude of natural bristle hairs.  WAS $249  NOW! 95

Not available or for sale in California. Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.03  SCRIMSHAW CRIBBAGE BOARD.  A real rarity.  Here is a 19th century cribbage board fashioned from the huge tusk of a massive bull walrus.  Cribbage boards are certainly not uncommon.  But what makes this example unique is that it was made by an American whaleman!  Typical of this type of game board it has two double rows of holes for cribbage pegs in sets of 10, comprising a total of 12 sets.  The holes are precisely drilled and evenly spaced.  Remarkably there are 6 large circular inlays of whale baleen and 10 smaller circles adorning the matrix.  These are contained within a scrimshawed border embellished down the center with numerous "pyramidal" shapes.  At the broad end is an ivory cap covering the tooth cavity for storing the game pieces.  Within is a large lead plug.  Next to the cap is a classic sailor star formed by 40 individual inlays of baleen!  The periphery of the star is scrimshawed with a multitude of radiating lines.  The center bears the lovely likeness of a young girl.  The pointed end bears the scrimshawed portrait a reclining bare-breasted woman reading a book.   In front of her a raring snake is poised as if ready to strike!  The back of the tusk has a small ivory "foot" for stability.  This huge tusk measures 23 inches long on a straight line and is 2 ½ inches thick at the widest.  Excellent original condition with no damage and a nice age patina.  1750

Walrus tusk cribbage boards made by Eskimos are relatively common, particularly those made for tourists in the 20th century.  This example of "real scrimshaw" was most certainly done by a sailor on a 19th century western Arctic whaler!

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.05  LARGE EXQUISITE CROCHET NEEDLE.  Amazingly-detailed carving work embodied in a very detailed crochet knitting needle made from the solid, very dense bone of a sperm whale’s jaw.  This lovely example of 19th century sailor’s work could be confused with ivory, it appears so pure.  It consists of a delicately-carved hand at the top holding a rose.  Below are several tiers of architectural carvings including 2 sets of capture balls within fluted columns.   The bottom third exhibits several more carvings and intricate cross hatchings terminating in a tapered tip with a very fine crochet hook.  Workmanship is of the highest order.  8 1/8 inches long.  Outstanding original condition with a nice age patina.  One of the best!  A $1500 value.  695

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.07  CHARMING CARVED CROCHET NEEDLE.  A very delicate, precisely-carved knitting/crochet needle fabricated from the dense panbone of a sperm whale.  This expertly carved specimen features a diminutively-carved hand at the top holding a hammer!  The hammer is individually carved and actually moves freely within the grasping hand!  Below, the body of the needle is copiously decorated with carvings and embellishments.  Interestingly, one side is darkly incised while the reverse is nearly pure white.  6 ½ inches long.  Outstanding original condition in all respects.  A $795 value.  295

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.08  SAILOR-CARVED TOOTH PICK.  Diminutive carved pocket device made entirely of dense whalebone with a folding baleen blade pick.  This precise utilitarian gadget is solid bone with a slot to accommodate the pivoting pick.  One end is carved in the shape of a hand and the body is decorated with cross hatching on both sides.  At the bottom the pick protrudes just enough so that it can be pivoted into position with the touch of a finger.  2 ¾ inches long closed extending to 4 inches long open.  Excellent original condition noting one small area of expected worming to the blade.  A bargain!  99

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.10  CARVED IVORY SALT SHAKER.  Nicely fashioned utilitarian scrimshaw in the form of a polar bear, with the dual function of being a table piece.  This cute little carving is fashioned from walrus tusk ivory.  The realistic bear’s features include five small holes between his ears.  On the bottom is a 5/16 inch diameter hole for filling the salt, then presumably plugged with a cork.  Likely Eskimo-made for the Alaskan tourist trade in the early 20th century.  2 ½ inches tall by 1 1/4 inches wide.  Excellent original condition.  95

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.52 S & P SHAKERS.  Matched pair of antique ivory salt and pepper shakers.  These obelisks are hexagonal in shape and are carved out of solid walrus tusks.  The lids are very finely threaded and unscrew for filling the hollows within.  The tops are perforated with 7 shaker holes each.  2 ½ inches tall by slightly larger than 1 inches across at the bases.  Excellent original condition with a nice, rich age patina.  The lids screw on and off smoothly and precisely. 89/pair

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.11   SCRIMSHAW LETTER OPENER.  Good 19th century whaleman-made letter opener fashioned from whalebone.  This distinctively-carved piece features a clenched fist on the handle followed by helical carving terminating in a flat bladed knife edge with pointed tip and sharp edges.  It measures 7 ½ inches long by 5/8 inches wide on the blade. Excellent original condition.   A real bargain!  139

Not available or for sale in California. Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.04 WHALEMAN’s COMPANION.   Most unusual mid-1800’s sailor’s eating utensil fashioned from whale baleen and whale tooth ivory!  This unique item of utilitarian scrimshaw was entirely hand-carved and meticulously-decorated with obvious pride by its esurient maker.  It is a fine example of cutlery cleverly made in 2 parts, hinged in the middle to form a double ended spoon and fork.  The fork is delicately-carved of whale ivory with 4 tines narrowing to a carved handle decoratively cross hatched.  It is fitted with a pivoting hook riveted to a brass hinge.  The hook aligns with a brass eye on the handle of the spoon, locking the utensil open.  The spoon, carved of black whale baleen, also has a riveted brass panel for support.  The tapering baleen handle extends to the elongated bowl of a carved spoon.   The entire apparatus measures 9 inches long overall.  The spoon measures 4 5/8 inches long by 1 3/8 inches wide.  The fork is 4 3/8 inches long and 1 inch wide.  This clever device is in a remarkable state of original preservation.  As is often the case, ancient baleen shows slight signs of worm eating – a good indication of authenticity and not the least bit detracting from its appeal and/or value.  This item is incredibly more scarce than a typical pie crimper of the era! SOLD

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


fork spoon

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4.02  HARPOON.  Rare, first half of the 1800's American whaling harpoon.  This very scarce example  known as a "swivel barb" harpoon, has a complex construction employing 4 folding toggles and an arrowhead tip.  Only one type of this early iron is held in the prestigious collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  This singularly important example measures 30 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide at the head with the flukes closed and 6 inches across when extended.  It is in original, well used condition with some loses to the cone as expected from countless years in a marine environment.  Offered here at an amazing price!  VALUE $1700  NOW 695

A nearly identical harpoon is depicted on page 208 of Thomas Lytle's book "Harpoons and Other Whalecraft," 1984, The Old Dartmouth Historical Association, New Bedford, Massachusetts.  The caption reads, "Four swivel barbs, each 4 inches long, behind small two-flued head.  Length 36 inches."


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4.00  SHIP-MARKED HARPOON.  Genuine 3rd quarter 1800's American whaling harpoon.  This authentic example known as a "toggle iron" by whalemen, was invented by the famed African-American blacksmith Lewis Temple in the 1840's, later modified to its widely used form by literally hundreds of Yankee whaleships.  It is entirely hand-forged of black iron with a steel head or "toggle."  It has the characteristic open split cone and the pivoting toggle on the end of the shank.  A small hole in the toggle head can be seen through which a matchstick was rove to maintain the head's position until darted into the whale. When struck it broke off releasing the iron into the "fast" position.  Of particular interest and desirability is the fact that this rare harpoon is punch marked "AH" on the toggle.  The marking is faint, but still legible.  This indicates it came from the famed American whaler ANDREW HICKS.  What's more, it still retains an original remnant of the hemp line which secured it to the whaleboat!  33 inches long overall.  The toggle is 7 1/4 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.  Excellent original, very sound condition.  As expected, the surfaces are pitted from long exposure to a marine environment – a good sign of actual use. SOLD

The full-rigged American whaleship ANDREW HICKS of 303 tons was built in Fairhaven, Massachusetts in 1867.  She began her illustrious whaling career out of Westport, Connecticut, departing on September 11 for the Pacific whaling grounds and returning on May 14, 1872 with 225 barrels of sperm oil and 730 barrels of whale oil.  A voyage lasting nearly 5 years!  The venerable old whaleship went on to finish her career in 1914 sailing out of New Bedford, Massachusetts where she returned on August 19, 1914 with 2,800 barrels of whale oil. (Alexander Starbuck, "History of the American Whale Fishery," 1878-1928, Waltham, Massachusetts and the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, 1959.)

An active service life of 47 years was exceptional amongst wooden hulled vessels of that era.
 Reference:  Thomas Lytle, "Harpoons and Other Whalecraft," 1984, The Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Massachusetts.


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4.92 OSICK. 19th century tool used by sailors and Eskimos to capture seals.  This unique device was fabricated from the penis bone of a large walrus.  It consists of that long curved bone terminating on both ends with walrus tusk caps and decorative whale baleen separators.  The overall length is 13 ½ inches and the maximum diameter is 1 inch.  Perfect original condition showing good age.  495

Not available or for sale in California. Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.95  BONE CLOTHESPIN.   Excellent mid-19th century example of the whalemen's working scrimshaw in the form of a large clothespin carved out of the dense jawbone of a sperm whale.  This classic specimen is beautifully tapered and finished with 2 sets of decoratively-scribed lines top and bottom.  It is unusually large measuring a full 5 inches long and ¾ inches in diameter.  It has a lovely age patina and is in perfect original condition. WAS $250. NOW! 95

Not available or for sale in California. Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.93  AUTHENTIC SCRIMSHAW.  A good example of the late 19th century whaleman's art of scrimshaw.  It is embodied in a genuine sperm whale tooth deeply engraved on both sides in the artistic form known as intaglio.  The front depicts a young sailor in classic dress with tied kerchief and flat hat standing behind a seated "old salt" intent on working a piece of scrimshaw in both hands.  He wears a traditional Kepi hat.  The sailor pair are next to an old fashioned capstan.  The reverse depicts a port bow view of a 2-maseted man-o-war under sail.  The brig flies streaming pennants from both masts and the broadside shows at least 6 cannon protruding from their gun ports.  The tooth is in nice condition with a rich age patina throughout.  The inked etching is very contrasty.  5 ½ inches as measured on the curve and 2 inches wide.  895

Not available or for sale in California. Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.91  WHALEBONE BUSK.  Massive 19th century whaleman-made busk carved from the dense jawbone of a sperm whale.  This authentic example of a Victorian lady's intimate attire is just about as big as was ever made, measuring a full 14 inches in length, 1 7/8th inches wide and an amazingly thin 1/16 inch thick.  Considering the petite nature of women of the era, anything larger would have been simply unwearable!  This busk is unscrimmed.  It is in an outstanding state of original preservation with an excellent age patina and absolutely no damage.  Very sturdy!  One end, presumably the bottom, is slightly tipped in order to fit in a lady's corset.  The top is round.  595

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.87 SCRIMSHAW LETTER OPENER.  Very nice sailor-made letter opener fashioned from 3 segments of ivory mortised and pinned together with 2 sterling silver rivets.  This delicate little tool has a bulbous handle, carefully sculpted with an acorn finial on the end.  Showing great craftsmanship, the handle is made in two parts with a tight mortised joint along its length.  The ivory "blade" is just about 1/16th of an inch thick, terminating in a sharp point.  It  measures 4 inches long by 5/8ths inches wide.  The overall length is 6 3/8ths inches.  Outstanding original condition.  A particularly nice example of utilitarian scrimshaw at an amazingly low price!  `Wish we could buy them for this.  WAS $295  NOW! 149

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.86   CARVED POLAR BEAR.  Particularly charming full body carving of a ferocious polar bear.  This expertly-carved Eskimo sculpture is made from solid Walrus tusk.  It depicts the bear standing on his haunches with mouth agape showing his fearsome teeth and boldly colored red tongue.  Inset into his head are two dots of black whale baleen depicting his eyes.  The carving is especially well done and has acquired a nice authentic age patina.  4 ¾ inches tall by 1 ¼ inches wide and 2 inches deep.  A most unusual example of Eskimo scrimshaw.  Surely a solid $1,000 value.  695

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.83  SCRIMSHAW SWIFT CLAMP.  Truly exceptional mid-19th century or earlier clamp made for a yarn winder known as a "swift."  This superb example of the whaleman's folk art is carved from a single piece of solid whale tooth with inlaid panels of rare sea tortoise on 11 sides.  The size of the tooth required to make this item was really phenomenal.  Including the reticulated thumb screw it measures 5 ¾ inches long by 2 inches wide and 1 7/8 inches thick!  Workmanship is of the highest order with multiple fine lines on the clamp and 4 cut-out hearts and a diamond on the screw.  The threaded ivory screw operates properly and the clever internal clamp end is a flat ivory disc for a secure nonslip fit.  The clamp will fit a mounting thickness of ½ to 5/8 inches thick.  The top of the clamp is threaded to receive the shaft of a swift.  This would make a valuable finishing touch to an existing swift needing a clamp. 979

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.81 /11.64   SAILOR's SCRIMSHAW BLACKJACK.  Very rare early 1800's going ashore weapon made and used by an American sailor for his personal protection.  Known by a variety of terms including "cosh, cudgel, trunchyeon and bludgeon" this very handsome rope-laid device has two "working ends" consisting of lead-weighted knobs meticulously macraméd in tight Spanish hitching  on each end of the surprisingly flexible whale baleen shaft!  12 ½ inches long by 1 ¼  inches thick on the knobs and the baleen shaft is ½ inch thick.  A great sailor-made object with a huge amount of intrigue behind it!   895

During the 18th and 19th centuries a sailor literally took his life in his hands when going ashore in a foreign port.  Press gangs, "land sharks" and thieves lay waiting in every alley and dark corner to take advantage of an unsuspecting or inebriated victim.  With pointed knives and guns prohibited aboard ship, it came down to the seasoned sailor to equip himself with an acceptable means of self defense.  This most often evidenced itself in the form of a sailor's black jack -- also known as a "come along," head knocker, press-gang tool or "cosh."  The owner/maker took great pride in this personal protective tool, lavishing great care and skill in its construction.  Here is a wonderful whaling-related example in amazingly well preserved condition.

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts from Massachusetts.


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4.79  CARVED EAGLE SCRIMSHAW.  Rare, especially handsome authentic scrimshaw in the form of a detailed American eagle head carved from a single sperm whale tooth.  This precise rendering depicts the elegant bird in exacting detail with a smooth hooked beak, nostril, piercing eyes and realistic plumage.  Adding to its appeal the eyes are accentuated by inlays of black baleen.  The carving measure 5 ½ inches long by 2 ¼ inches thick.  Outstanding original condition with no flaws.  The natural coloration of the core of the tooth and dentin were used effectively by the carver to enhance its realism.  1089

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts from Massachusetts.


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4.78  SCRIMSHAW BUSK.  Very nice mid-19th century lady's corset busk profusely engraved with floral and geometric designs.  This classic example of the whaleman's artistry is done on a section of dense sperm whale panbone.  At the top is a symbolic vase with leafy contents.  Below is a heart with sweeping artistic arcs, followed by a compass rose surrounded by leafy sprays.  Below it is a charming image of a bird returning to its nest attending to its hungry chicks.  It is followed by a large diamond shape design and then a classic sailor pinwheel with 6 points.   Below it are more leafy sprays, an elongated diamond, and finally another compass rose which appears to be a nocturnal time telling dial with draped flags above 6 crab legs.  The entire busk is bordered by meticulously-engraved floral vines top to bottom.   It measures 13 ¾ inches long by 1 ½ inches wide and less than 1/8 inch thick.  Outstanding original condition.  Just as sturdy and pristine as it was when made around 170 years ago!  995

Current auction results indicate that period whalebone busks of this type are very much in demand by collectors, with the best examples selling for 5 figures.  While this busk is certainly not the all time best, it is definitely worthy of a mid to high-range collection.  Very reasonably priced!

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.76  IDENTIFIED SCRIMSHAW SWIFT.  Lovely mid-19th century scrimshaw swift (yarn winder) with the rare aspect of having an engraved presentation which identifies the recipient and thus the whaleship captain maker!  This large classic swift is beautifully made of sperm whale panbone and whale tooth.  There are 48 individual stays double riveted on the top and bottom cage collars which are turned of whale tooth ivory and bound with silver wire.  The outside stays are attached in two places with silver rivets and tied in 3s, top and bottom, with yarn.  The ivory cage collars revolve around the central whalebone shaft which is capped by a large ivory finial cup with decorative polychromed scribes.  Inlaid into its top is an early U.S. silver dime depicting a fasces, arrows and olive branches.  There is an adjustable clamp on the vertical whalebone shaft which elevates the cage to various diameters.   The spectacular barrel clamp for mounting is a work of art with numerous decorative turnings and scribes, exquisitely engraved with the recipient's name, "ELIZA A. SHERMAN."  She was the wife of Captain Daniel Sherman of the whaleship YOUNG PHOENIX.   The clamp has a threaded thumbscrew for mounting the swift on a table edge.  It is decoratively turned with polychromed scribes and is inlaid with a silver Liberty quarter dated 1854.  This scrimshaw swift is in absolutely outstanding original condition!  It measures 20 ½ inches tall and the cage expands to a working diameter of 21 inches.  It is rare to find any swift with a provenance or a date.  SOLD 

Captain Daniel Sherman, husband of Eliza A. Sherman, was master of the whaleship YOUNG PHOENIX homeported in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  On November 12, 1867 the ship embarked on a voyage to the Indian Ocean whaling grounds.  The lengthy voyage lasted 3 ½ years, but it was extremely profitable.  The ship sent home 758 barrels of sperm oil, 705 barrels of whale oil and 4500 pounds of baleen (whalebone).  Upon its return, April 22, 1871, it discharged an additional 860 barrels of sperm oil, 73 barrels of whale oil and another 672 pounds of baleen.

The logbook of the ship YOUNG PHOENIX, November 6, 1867 -  April 19, 1871 kept by Lucien A. Brott relates to a whaling voyage in the Indian Ocean.  It is held in the collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
The venerable whaleship YOUNG PHOENIX was a 3-mased ship of 377 tons built by Barstow & Holmes in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts in 1822.  At the time of its sailing under Captain Sherman she was owned by William Phillips & Son of New Bedford.

The ship had an usually long and productive career, but ultimately was lost in the ice off of Point Barrow, Alaska in the 1870s.  Contemporary accounts of her demise proliferated rumors that she continued to sail years afterward as a ghost ship borne on an ice floe!


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Eliza A Sherman Detail




4.69  EEL SPEAR.  Genuine 19th century blacksmith forged black iron eel spear.  This early American piece was,made by American colonialist John Fordham.    It is an awesome example of the blacksmith’s skill which combines numerous individual components into a functional whole.  The work is certainly commensurate with the output of the whalecraft smithies outfitting American whaleships of the era, if not actually more complex.  This fearsome weapon consists of a central spear flanked by 4 barbs on either side.  The barbs are neatly stacked in sequence and rove through the base of the main spear where they are forge welded together.   The base continues into a split socket reminiscent of a whaler’s harpoon.  It terminates in an iron tab with two holes for attachment to a wooden pole.  The main blade is distinctively stamped “J. FORDHAM SAG HARBOR” 15 ½ inches long by 8 inches wide at the widest.  Excellent original condition with very light surface rust, with just enough color to give it an appealing old look.  449



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maker

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4.67   SCRIMSHAW BODKIN.  Very nice, authentic late 19th century sewing punch known as a “bodkin” beautifully turned of solid whalebone,  This stout little implement made by a whaleman for his sweetheart has a bulbous head, with two concentric rings terminating in a gradually tapered cylindrical shaft with sharp tip.  This little example of genuine scrimshaw is in prefect original condition with a lustrous surface and a mellow creamy color.  3 3/8 inches long.  49

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.56/20.01  SCRIMSHAW CANE.   Excellent mid-19th century whaleman’s cane comprised of a beautifully-carved ivory knob with a stout whalebone shaft.  This talented scrimshander’s folk art walking stick has a knob in the form of an anatomically perfect fist holding a ball.  The fist, with early style ruffled cuff, is carved as nicely as we have ever seen, exhibiting detail between the fingers, fingernails and even veins in the back of the hand!  The knob is joined to its shaft with a baleen separator.  The shaft gradually tapers to a tip.  This stick measures 34 5/8 inches long and is 1 1/8 inches wide on the fist.  The whalebone shaft is just shy of 1 inch in diameter at the top, tapering to 3/8 inch at the tip.  Outstanding original condition in all respects having a light age patina.  This is a great cane!  1795

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.54

4.54  SCRIMSHAW LETTER OPENER.  Genuine mid-19th century American whaleman-made utilitarian scrimshaw in the form of a rarely found letter opener.  This unique example is constructed entirely of the dense panbone of a sperm whale’s jaw.  The long thin blade is slightly thicker down the middle, tapering to a fine edge on both sides.  It is attached to the handle with a perfect mortised fit using two silver rivets to hold it in place.  The joint is decoratively-rounded with a carved ridge at the base of the handle.  This letter opener measures 9 ¼ inches long overall.  The blade is 5 ¾ inches and the handle is 5 inches (accounting for the joint).  Outstanding original condition with a nice age patina indicative of its 150+ years.  329

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.63/7.51  MONUMENTAL BOOK.  Magnificent “collector’s edition” of one of the most important literary works in American history, Herman Melville’s “MOBY DICK or The Whale.”  This special edition was printed in very limited numbers for The Easton Press, Norwalk, Connecticut in 1977.  Hard cover, illustrated, containing 615 pages it is of the highest quality.  The publisher’s page reads, “This book is printed on archival quality paper especially milled for this edition.  It is acid-neutral and conforms to all guidelines established for permanence and durability of the Council of Library Resources and the American Nation Standards Institute.”  The title page reads, “MOBY DICK, Or THE WHALE By HERMAN MELVILLE With An Introduction By Clifton Fadiman and Illustrated by Boardman Robinson.  Bound in Genuine Leather.“  The leather cover is beautifully embossed with gold in the traditional manner.  The end covers are silk-lined.  The end pages of the entire book are gilded.  The content is the exact work of this American classic.  Melville originally wrote “Moby Dick” in 1851.  It quickly gained notoriety as one of the most interesting novels of that era.  Embodied here is an exquisite compilation of that work in an absolutely highest quality presentation.  As new, unread condition after 42 years!  SOLD



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2.30

2.30  AMERICAN SCRIMSHAW MODEL.   Rare!  Genuine 3rd quarter of the 19th century sailor-made scrimshaw model of a 3-masted packet ship.  This well-rigged, highly detailed model is scrimshaw.  It is NOT a beef bone P.O.W. model!  Constructed of whalebone, whale ivory, baleen and rich tropical hardwood, the keel and bottom of the ship are dark brown wood.  The boot topping is a narrow strip of black baleen attached with tiny pins.  Above it, from the bulwark to the rail is planked whalebone attached with brass pins.  Deck fittings are carved of bone and whale ivory including the bowsprit, figurehead, catheads, foc’sle capstan, bilge pump, main deckhouse, cargo holds, ladders, aft deckhouse with bench, skylight, binnacle and steering gear box with brass helm. The detail is really quite amazing given the material from which it is made.  The masts and tops are all of carved whalebone as are the meticulously-fashioned bone blocks in the running rigging.  The spars are all of dark hardwood which provide a very pleasing contrasty effect.   The ratlines and stays on each mast are hand-tied and terminate in “bead” dead eyes along the bone-braced bulwarks.  This model is in superb original condition mounted on its original African mahogany stand.  It measures14 inches long overall by 10 inches tall and is 4 ¾ inches wide on the mainmast spar.  A superlative, museum-quality example of American whaleman scrimshaw art at its finest, proudly exhibiting its 140+ year age.   Request Price Special Packaging

A nearly identical model was sold from the very prestigious collection of Alice and Murray Braunfeld at Sotheby’s American Furniture and Folk Art sale conducted January 17, 2004 during “Americana Week” in New York.

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.


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4.44  SCRIMSHAW FINGER RING.  A vey nice example of scrimshaw jewelry consisting of a hand-carved walrus ivory ring precisely inlaid with colorful segments of abalone and mother-of-pearl.  The circular finger opening is exactly 3/4 of an inch in diameter, while the face of the ring measures 1 ¼ by 1 ¼ inches and the body is ¼ inch thick.  Excellent original condition with no cracks or damage.  249



PERSPECTIVE
BACK

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.42  WEST COAST WHALING PRINT.  Rare, original wood block print from “Harper’s Weekly Journal of Civilization” published in New York, dated Saturday, June 23, 1877, titled “A WHALING STATION ON THE CALIFORNIA COAST.”  This historically accurate print from the actual period depicts several whalemen flensing their query in the sea while others nearer the shore haul blubber to the tryworks.  In the background the stone station looms with the two tryworks chimneys belching smoke as scores of seagulls hover above.  A circular inset in the upper left shows a lookout diligently scanning the horizon for whales with his telescope.  This very desirable print is in perfect original condition with no fading or yellowing.  It has been professionally French-matted under glass with a double non-acidic mat mounted in a handsome beaded frame.  The large format  image measures 15 by 10 3/4 inches and the frame is 21 ½ by 17 inches.  A most interesting historic whaling print with very scarce West Coast subject matter.  Ready to display.  495 Special Packaging

An example of this print is held in the prestigious collection of the Kendall Whaling Museum (now New Bedford Whaling Museum), as shown in the book “Kendall Whaling Prints,” page 118.  It is also depicted in the Time-Life series books “The Whalers” on page 145.  The print offered here is the genuine article!



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4.41  SCRIMSHAW CRIBBAGE BOARD.  Exceptional early 1900’s carved and inlaid cribbage board fashioned from the large tusk of a bull walrus.  This superb example of early Alaskan Eskimo trade output far surpasses the quality of most of its genre which were simply decorated with incised pictographs.  This cribbage board is actually carved in relief, and then, if that were not enough, it is inlaid with baleen separators throughout its length!  The charming vignettes depict a fox chasing an arctic hare on the left and a stately reindeer on the right.  In the center is the cribbage board with 6 successive rows of holes for the pegs used in that game.  The rows are meticulously inlaid with insets of whale baleen.  The base of the tusk was drilled to house pegs.  It rests on two sculpted feet composed of pinned and pegged whale tooth ivory.  The tusk measures 18 inches long by 2 5/8ths inches wide at the widest.  Excellent untouched original condition showing 100 years of age.    Request Price


Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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4.22

4.22 SCRIMSHAW REFERENCE BOOK. Michael McManus, "A Treasury of American Scrimshaw," 1997, Penguin Studios, New York. 150 pages, hard cover with dust jacket. Without a doubt this is THE most colorful and detailed pictorial reference book ever written on the topic of scrimshaw! Mr. McManus has included over 200 full color plates of the finest scrimshaw in the world, from the collections of the then Kendall Whaling Museum, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum and Mystic Seaport Museum. The result is a stunning raisonné of every manner of scrimshaw ever produced. With each photograph the author has carefully documented size, composition and location of the object(s) and goes on to describe each fully, including maker (when known), history and function. Large format, 11 by 9 inches. As new condition and offered here at nearly the same price it sold for when originally published over 15 years ago! 39


plate 1
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4.45

4.45  SCRIMSHAW LETTER OPENER.  Particularly fine 19th century whaleman-made letter opener fashioned entirely of whale tooth with inlays of silver and abalone!  This rarely found form of scrimshaw features a long, thin blade carved out of a large whale tooth affixed to a whale ivory handle with a silver pin.  The sculpted handle features multiple inlays of abalone shell in the form of diamonds, leaves and an acorn with silver stems, a rectangle and a square with triangles.  Workmanship is of the highest order and the effect is most pleasing.  8 ½ inches long overall.  The blade measures 5 inches long and the handle is 3/8ths inch thick.  Fabulous original condition in all respects with a very nice age patina to the ivory.   The blade is slightly warped with age -- quite typical of items fashioned from ivory when it was still “green.”  Actually this is a good sign, indicating it was made aboard a whaleship!  A real rarity in scrimshaw, very reasonably priced for the very exquisite work it embodies. SOLD  


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4.15

4.15a  SCRIMSHAW REFERENCE BOOK.  E. Norman Flayderman, “Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders Whales and Whalemen,” 1972, N. Flayderman & Co., New Milford, Connecticut.  297 pages exclusive of index, hard cloth cover with dust jacket.  Often referred to as The Bible of Scrimshaw.  Those desirous of adding this cornerstone reference to their library need no further elaboration.  The entire book is in as new condition, the dust cover only has slightly worn edges.  WAS $295 NOW! 99



4.15 PLATE 1

4.15 PLATE 2

4.15 PLATE 3

4.15 BACK COVER

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4.96  REFERENCE BOOK, "The WHALERS."  Certainly our favorite amongst all of the wonderful, awarding winning Time-Life series books The Seafarers, authored by noted maritime historian, A.B.C. Wipple, and published by Time, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia in 1979.  This book chronicles one of the most dangerous and exciting pursuits in American maritime history.  It opens with the primitive whale fishery begun when America was a struggling colony and ends in the waning days of whaling when America had advanced to preeminence as the world's leading industrial nation.  The intervening years were dominated by the remarkable struggle between man and the largest beast on earth, played out thousands of times.  It yielded oil for the nation's lamps and raw materials for its manufacturing.  Every aspect of that industry, both at sea and ashore is covered here.  The lives of the men, their ships, sweethearts, and their ports of call -- all make for fascinating reading.  Then there was that most amazing by-product of the whaling industry  SCRIMSHAW!  Beautifully illustrated in color and black white, with original paintings, drawings, diagrams, photographs and more!   Hard faux leather cover, 173 pages exclusive of index.  Unused condition.   Absolutely “must have” for the scrimshaw collector and/or whaling historian.
 WAS 99 NOW 39



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4.06  WHALING PAMPHLET.  The “Whale Fishery of New England,” State Street Trust Company, Boston in cooperation with the Old Dartmouth Historical Society of New Bedford, first published in 1915.  This edition 1968.  68 pages, soft cover, profusely illustrated with old black and white images.  “An account, with illustrations and some interesting and amusing anecdotes  of the rise and fall of an industry which has made New England famous throughout the world.”   A classic.  Good condition.  15   


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Also see catalog pages 2, 11 and 20 for more sailor-made folk art items.

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