West Sea Company

4. Scrimshaw & Whaling

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN


NOTE: A recent California statute makes it illegal in that state to "posess with the intent to sell" many forms of srimshaw, elephant ivory and other endangered species products, without regard to the age of the object. The exception to this is walrus. 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.



4.81 /11.64   SAILOR's SCRIMSHAW BLACKJACK.  Very rare early 1800's sailor-made weapon used by an American sailor for his personal protection.  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 shaft made of whale baleen!  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.


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4.80  SCRIMSHAW BUSK.  Mid-1800s whaleman engraved whalebone busk of the most exquisite quality. 

From the double arched top downward:                                                
Two five-pointed stars encircled with a darkened half moon border.
An unusual "open heart" with checkerboard patterns
A band of diamonds and darkened half moons
A potted leafy tree
Another geometric band
An 8-pointed star (compass rose) bordered by 4 pinwheels
Another geometric band
Two entwined checkerboard hearts pierced by 2 arrows
Two more geometric bands
A spreading palm tree flanked by bushes
A larger geometric band
An urn-shaped flower pot with numerous flowers and sprays, also flanked by bushes
A thin elongated diamond border punctuated by a myriad of dots
At the bottom is a central 5-pointed star surround by a larger 5-pointed star composed of hundreds of dots.  The larger star is within a circle bordered by two layers of Acanthus leaves.
The entire periphery of this busk is intricately embellished with darkened half moons, sprays and dots.  Anyone familiar with the work of the famous scrimshander known as the Banknote Engraver will instantly see the resemblance in this superior work.  The busk measures 13 ¼ by 1 ½  inches.  It is in perfect condition.  Dr. Stuart Frank, Curator Emeritus of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, has inspected this busk and declared it "a corker!" SOLD


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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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2.58/4.77 WHALE IVORY WHALESHIP.   Extremely rare, possibly unique miniature model of a 3-masted whaleship carved entirely from a sperm whale's tooth!  This delightful example of the American whaleman's folk artistry features a beautifully fashioned hull with deck railings and suggestions of 4 deck houses and the foc'sle.  The prominent masts are stubbed and bear their mast "tops."  Forward, the billet is portrayed along with the extended bowsprit.   At the stern, the rudder is prominently depicted.  This amazing form of the scrimshander's ingenuity is only 4 ½ inches long by 1 5/8 inches high and 1 inch thick.  It has been our prized possession for over 35 years.  At that, we have never found another, or even a remotely similar example, in literature or at auction.  Truly a real rarity in scrimshaw!  895

The "top" is the platform at the upper end of each lower mast of a square-rigged ship, typically one-fourth to one-third of the way up the mast.  The primary purpose of a top is to anchor the shrouds of the topmast that extend above it.

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped 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. Price Request 

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!

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


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4.75  EARLY GROMMET IRON HARPOON.  Very scarce, first half of the 1800's American whaling harpoon of the pivoting barb type.  This surviving example from the golden age of Yankee whaling is entirely hand-forged black iron.  It features a pivoting head pinned to an iron shank terminating in a forge welded split cone.  This type of harpoon is relatively unique with its complex mechanism which comprises a leaf spring under the toggle head, held by an oval grommet surrounding the shank.  When the harpoon was darted, the grommet was pushed back releasing the spring to open the toggle at a right angle to hold fast in the whale.  This ingenious contraption was efficient, but due to its complexity, was very expensive to manufacture.  As such, very few were made.  Fewer still exist.  Only two examples which retain their grommet rings are held in the comprehensive collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  30 inches long.  Very sound, with only expected good surface rust and pitting.  Over 175 years Old!  1395

In his major work entitled "Harpoons and Other Whalecraft," 1984, Old Dartmouth Historical Society Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Thomas Lytle writes on page 32, "One of the major advancements in the development of harpoons was the grommet iron.  These harpoons were made with a pivoting head mounted to the end of the shank with a small pivot pin that was normally fastened to the toggle head.  The grommet was free to slide along the shank, and it passed over the rear barb of the head to hold it in position for darting.  As the iron entered the whale, the resistance of the blubber would not allow the grommet to pass into the entry wound, but pushed it back off the head.  This released the toggle head and allowed it to rotate on its pivot pin.  The grommet irons were developed from 1835 to 1845 and were a direct step toward the later toggle irons."

Of the two, an identical example in the museum's collection is shown on page 205, item number 73 of Lytle's book.



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4.74  WHALING HARPOON.  Authentic mid-19th century Yankee whaling harpoon.  This "toggle iron" was made on the principle designed by African-American blacksmith Lewis Temple who invented his "Temple gig" in 1848.   A very handsome example, it is entirely hand-forged black iron with a classic pivoting toggle tip and forge welded split cone socket.  Interestingly, there are still remnants of the old harpoon pole in the socket and a small wooden pin in the toggle tip.  Exactly 37 inches long.  Excellent condition with its original old black iron finish.   Museum quality over 150 years old.  949

In his landmark book entitled "Harpoons and Other Whalecraft," 1984, Old Dartmouth Historical Society Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Thomas Lytle depicts an identical harpoon in the collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum on page 205 item number 84.  On page 33 he writes, "The earliest toggle irons were made with the toggle head positioned inside a shank clevis.  The head rotated on a pivot pin that was fastened in the clevis and passed through the toggle head."

Not long after Temple's design was introduced to the American whaling fleet a slight modification in its construction proved simpler and less costly to its construct.  "The function of the improved harpoon was basically the same as earlier toggle irons, that is, the head was held in the darting position by means of a small wood shear pin that broke away when withdrawl force was applied.  This allowed the head to rotate open by pivoting on the pivot pin that was fixed to the head and passed through the flattened shank end."



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4.72   RISQUÉ SCRIMSHAW.  Genuine antique scrimshaw carved in the form of two lovers on a couch.  This is an extremely rare form of exotic scrimshaw created in otherwise Puritanical 19th century America.  It is doubly rare in that it also constitutes an "adult action toy."  The two-piece presentation consists of a sofa carved of solid walrus ivory on which the lovers lay.  The solid ivory piece they are on is curved upward at their feet, so that pressing on the end produces a suggestive up and down motion consistent with "the act."  The carving, while primitive, is very detailed down to the female's face and hands and the decorative fleur-de-lis on the back of the sofa.  5 inches wide by 2 inches high and 1 1/8 inch deep.  A really charming, if not somewhat innocently humorous portrayal of the taboo subject matter of that era.  Genuinely rare!  1495

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



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4.71 IMPORTANT  WHALING HARPOON.  Very rare, unusually long double flue American whaling harpoon.  This early hand-forged example made of black iron features an arrow-like head attached to a long shaft terminating in a classic rolled cone which was swaged onto the end of a sapling pole for darting into the whale.  The distinctive “arrow tip” is indicative of the Nantucket whalesmiths’ output in the 1830’s.  This handsome harpoon shows actual use with a variegated surface with a small portion of the gone due to age.  When displayed, the damage is minimally noticeable.  41 ½ inches in length.  The barb is 4 inches wide.  It has a good old surface consistent with an iron instrument used in a marine environment after nearly 200 years!  There is no surface rust and it is in sound condition.  995

In Thomas Lytle’s landmark reference work “Harpoons and Other Whalecraft,” 1984, The Old Dartmouth Historical Society, he depicts 31 two-flue harpoons in the collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  Only one of the 31 in the museum’s collection is slightly longer than this example!

It wasn’t until 1848 when the African-American whalesmith Louis Temple changed the entire Yankee Whaling industry for good when he invented the pivoting toggle iron.  Up until that time, harpoons of the type offered here were easily dislodged and the quarry lost.  Temple’s much more successful design was immediately accepted in the whaling fleet and the old single flue and double flue designs were discarded.  Few have survived!



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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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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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4.66  SCRIMSHAW REFERENCE BOOKLET.  Edouard Stackpole, “Scrimshaw At Mystic Seaport,” 1958, The Marine Historical Association, Mystic, Connecticut, 1st Ed.  This book contains 53 pages in soft cover.  Fully illustrated in black and white.  It  is a study of the Mystic collection by an enthusiast who was curator for many years.  Mr. Stackpole gives a history of the art and discusses the whaling conditions which gave rise to it.  He also describes the processes used, choice of materials and how they were incorporated in this uniquely sailor folk art form.  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.  Condition is excellent with only slight toning to the cover.  Literally scores of books and pamphlets have ensued in the following years.  Crosby’s book sells for well over five hundred dollars.   29.95



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4.64  SCRIMSHAW REFERENCE BOOK.   Marius Barbeau. “All Hands Aboard Scrimshawing,” 1975, The American Neptune Society, Peabody Museum of Salem.  29 pages soft cover, fully illustrated in black and white.  A great little book which details origins of this American sailor folk art form with documented examples.  An interesting passage reads, “Numerous objects scrimshawed out of ivory, bone and wood, varied according to the whaler’s whims and materials.  They ranged between miniature and small pieces of equipment to furniture.  An extreme for it size is the Wedding Cake House at Kennebunk Landing, Maine, where the whole front of an old building and it dependencies, including the fence and two gates, were scrimshawed by its owners.”  Easy, informative reading, well documented with good photography.  As books on scrimshaw go, this is one of the earliest.  An absolute must for inclusion in the serious scrimshaw collector’s library. Perfect as new condition.  Rare availability, especially in this mint condition!  29



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4.70  RARE WHALING PRINT.  Very scarce, original 19th century print entitled, “A WHALING STATION ON THE CALIFORNIA COAST.”  This period broadside is actually the front page of the famous 1800’s American publication “HARPER’S WEEKLY, Journal of Civilization” and is dated “”New York, Saturday, June 23, 1877.”  It is further titled “Drawn By Frenseny – [See Page 498].”  This black and white printing was subsequently hand-tinted in color, providing  a very pleasing presentation.  It is framed and matted in a contemporary gilt wooden frame with acid free mounting.  The back of this presentation bears an excerpt from page 498 which reads, “A WHALING STATION.  Here and there along the Coast of California may be found whaling stations, established chiefly by the Portuguese or Sandwich Islanders.  Our first-page engraving shows the general character of these stations, and manner in which the cutting out of the captured whales is carried on.  Watch is carefully kept from an elevated look-out, and the raising of a flag is the signal to the fishermen on the beach that whales are in sight.  The men instantly take to their boats and give chase to their prey.  Harpoon bombs and explosive guns are used to dispatch the whale as soon as the boat gets within striking distance, and the body is then secured and towed ashore where the blubber is stripped off.  It is tried out over ovens similar to those shown in the engraving. and the oil is collected in casks for shipping.  The whale most commonly taken in this manner is the “grey-back.”  A large one often yields a profit of several hundred dollars.”  9 ½ by 14 ½ inches sight, with frame measuring 14 ¾ by 20 inches.  Perfect original condition.  449  Special PackagingBack to Top

This rare print is shown on page 118 of the book entitled “Kendall Whaling Prints.”  It is also depicted on page 145 of the Time-Life series book, “The Whalers.”



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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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4.62  SCRIMSHAW COCONUT CUP.  Very unusual, certainly one-of-a-kind centerpiece constructed of a fabulously-carved coconut mounted on 4 whale’s teeth and capped with a hallmarked silver cover.  This impressive object has three large cartouches carved into the sides of the coconut.  The central frame consists of an ancient Roman fasces flanked by British flags on either side which rest upon two cannons with stacked cannon balls.  The circular border is incredibly well-carved with tiny, recurring pyramids.  The next vignette is a lovely floral spray with equally fine border.  The third has a musical theme showing crossed horns and musical scores.  It is topped by flowing ribbons and flanked by Acanthus leaves.  The border matches the other two.  The background to these consists of intricate cross hatching with swags and sashes at the top.  In all facets of carving the execution is of the highest order, done by a very skilled artisan.  The quadripedal base consists of curved whale’s teeth terminating in silver balls and  applied oval shields of silver affixed to each.  The crowning detail is the solid silver cap with folding lid.  The lid has a stop hinge much like a tankard.  The rim is hallmarked with 5 English marks which are difficult to read, but appear to indicate Sheffield, England 1852/53.  This jibes perfectly with the type of heraldry popular in that period.  It is capped by a turned whale ivory knob.  8 inches tall and 5 inches wide on the feet.  Original condition showing good age and no abuse.  A great “oddity” to add to a scrimshaw collection.  SOLD



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

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4.42  EARLY 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 PackagingBack to Top

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.  1495


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


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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

4.15  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.  245



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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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4.01

4.99  HARPOON REFERENCE BOOK.   Thomas Lytle, “Harpoons and Other Whale Craft,” 1984, Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Massachusetts, second edition 2005.  Hard cloth cover, 250 pages exclusive of index.  Without question, Mr. Lytle has compiled the “bible of whaling implements” in this book, with a comprehensive study of the history of whalecraft and the many ingenious forms into which it finally evolved.  Included are detailed descriptions, photographs, line drawings, period advertisements and patent material about harpoons, harpoon guns, bombs, trying out utensils and the many variations thereof.  Appendix A contains biographical sketches of the noted makers of whalecraft in American.  Appendix B is a photographic catalog with descriptions of the extensive collection of whalecraft in the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  Soon after the first edition was published the Kendall Whaling museum merged with the New Bedford Museum.  The benefit of this 2005 edition is that it contains updated information on the collection as expanded by the Kendall additions.  As new condition.  149


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

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