West Sea Company

12. Other Nautical

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN




12.49  VERY EARLY LIFERING COMMEMORATIVE.  Late 19th century ship memento commemorating the full-rigged sailing ship “TIMANDRA (of) GLASGOW” as beautifully painted at the top and bottom of the presentation.  It consists of an original old albumen photograph of a painting of the lovely ship underway at sea with full sail.  The house flag and the British ensign have been hand-touched in red.   The nicely executed painting shows great detail including the ship’s call flags flown below the “old duster,” her trailboard and billethead on the bow and her nameboard abaft the anchor on the foc’sl.   The image, measuring 6 inches in diameter, is protected under its original wavy glass.  It is encircled by a carved wooden frame in the form of an old fashioned lifering.  The British ensign is painted on the left and TIMANDRA’s house flag “R” is painted on the right.  The periphery of the ring is fitted with a grab rope held by 4 sections of blue denim.  Quite interestingly the reverse bears the framer’s advertisement, “From THE ADELAIDE PHOTO CO.  … Portrait and marine Art. 256 Pitt Street, Sydney.”  Obviously indicating this ship’s souvenir was made in Australia.  The lifering itself measures 9 ¾ inches across.  Excellent original condition showing good age on the front.  The backing is toned with some losses, but is in tact.  Overall it displays very well.  It is a rare, early relic of its genre.  Guaranteed to be over 120 years old!   SOLD


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12.47  WWII LIFEBOAT MATCHES.  An amazing find!  This is a full, untouched cache of wooden matches stored in their original container for use in a ship’s lifeboat.  The Bakelite container has a screw-on lid embossed “BRYANT & MAY / SHIPS LIFEBOAT MATCHES / Approved By M. of T. & C.A.”  Unscrewing the threaded cap reveals a rubber O-ring and a fibrous ‘filler’ which covers a complete, unused compliment of very unusual wooden matches.  The cylinder, its lid and their contents are in absolutely pristine, untouched condition!  1 ¾ in diameter by 2 ¾ inches high.  This is certainly one of the most unusual nautical relics we have ever encountered!   80 years old.  `Need a light?  79


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12.46 SHIP’s TELEPHONE. Charming, very early ship Captain’s stateroom telephone of English manufacture. This bulkhead-mounted phone has a rich mahogany body with brass fittings. On the front, just below the receiver it is marked within a fancy gold cartouche “BRITISH MADE, STERLING TELEPHONE & ELECTRIC Co. Ltd. Telephone House Tottenham Court Road, London.” The solid brass receiver is mounted to the front of the wooden box comprising the body of the telephone. Speaking to its early age, the call button is made of whale bone, rather than later plastic! The front hinges open to reveal the complex array of coils, breakers, switches and wiring within. The bottom bears a brass bell with ringer. To the left a spring-loaded brass hook supports the hard rubber ear piece. It is connected to the phone with old fashioned cloth insulation on the intertwined wiring. Lifting the ear piece activates the spring-loaded switch connected to the hook. This is the precise embodiment of the common phrase still used today, “Hang up the phone.” This telephone dates to WWI or earlier and is in surprisingly excellent original condition. The wooden body measures 5 inches wide and 10 inches tall overall. A very rare early ship’s relic over 100 years old with amazing character. Find another one. SOLD


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12.45 EARLY FLINTLOCK BLUNDERBUSS. Genuine 18th century French flintlock pistol with the side plate signed “John Ulm, Lyon.” This extraordinary relic is beautifully preserved. It has a flared brass barrel which is decoratively engraved. The lock mechanism is steel in equally fine condition. The Fizzen spring is strong and the mechanism functions properly in the half cock and full cock positions. When the trigger is pulled the flint and steel produce a bright spark which would have ignited the muzzle-loaded black powder charge within. The stock is finely cross-hatched walnut showing its age which is also in excellent condition. Complete with brass ramrod. Inasmuch as the major components of this early weapon are brass, and it has a flared, not rifled bore, it was obviously intended for close quarters fighting as encountered on the deck of a ship. 10 ½ inches long overall. The barrel is 5 3/8 inches long and the flared muzzle is 1 3/8 inches in diameter. Totally functional. A beauty! 1895


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12.44 CANNONBALL. Genuine 17th or very early 18th century cannon ball as fired from swivel rail guns popular with pirates and armed merchantmen of the era. This one pound ball is made of solid lead and measures exactly 2 inches in diameter, indicating it may be of English origins. This cannonball was discovered on the site of an unidentified wreck off the coast of Key West, Florida in the early 1980’s. As such this cannonball evidences many, many years of submersion in the sea with encrustations of sea life and the effects of sea water -- its variegated surface looking much like the moon’s crust! One small portion of this orb has been flattened, presumably so it would not roll off its position while displayed. Certainly this is a museum relic. We don’t have any idea of a realistic price, so we are now asking the same we paid the diver in 1988. 80


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12.38  LIGHTHOUSE.  Impressive early 1900's lighthouse made of solid bronze!  This unusually large example stands 17 1/2 inches tall by 8 1/2 inches wide at the base and weighs a hefty 17 pounds.  The "lantern" at the top is removable and contains its original clear glass lens. The sides of the lighthouse are cast in the form of bricks, beautifully finished and retaining their original statuary bronze surface.  There are three windows and a door in the lighthouse, all hand-painted for further realism. The massive base is cast in the form of craggy rocks with a stairway leading to the door.  The base is in its original deep green verdigris finish which simulates sea rocks perfectly!  Without a doubt this is one of the biggest and most detailed such lighthouse statues in existence   Bargain priced at that!  695 Special Packaging

A similar, but much poorer lightohouse with less detail has been offered on eBay with a "Buy It Now" price of $650.

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12.25  CARVED CHINA TRADE FRAME.  Lavishly-carved wooden picture frame produced for the Chinese export market during the mid-1800’s.  It is carved from a single solid piece of valuable dealwood and was made for displaying the recently-invented prized photographic portrait.  The intricate carving with floral motifs features a bird at the top flanked by two bushy-tailed squirrels on either side. Then midway down the frame are more birds on either side.  The center consists of a rectangular “rope” border housing an oval opening decorated with delicate leafy branches and an even finer beaded boarder.  The back of the frame has a 4 ¼ by 6 5/8 inch cut-out for mounting a photograph.  To these ends it retains 4 small pivoting wooden clips on all four edges to secure the mount.  The frame itself measures 11 ¼ inches tall overall by 7 ½ inches wide.  Remarkably it remains preserved in almost perfect original condition with a beautiful original age patina!  WAS 395  NOW! 195


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12.41   COMMEMORATIVE SPOON.   Genuine turn-of-the-last century sterling silver spoon representing “CATALINA ISLD.”  as hand-engraved in the bowl.  Under the inscription is also a hand-engraved scene of Avalon Harbor with a large yacht, sailboats and the pier in the bay.  Surrounding the shoreline is the town of Avalon, hills and the historic Wrigley House on the right of the scene.  The stem of the spoon is ornately decorated with floral designs, as is the back.  At the junction of the bowl and stem is embossed “STERLING” and “PAT. 1901.”  Further, there are 3  fine raised maker’s hallmarks including an anchor.  The spoon measures 5 3/8 inches long overall and the bowl is 1 1/8 inches wide.  Flawless, absolutely perfect original condition.  All surfaces are bright, clean and as crisp as the day they were made over 110 years ago!  149



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12.40  BATTLESHIP MAINE COMMEMORATIVE.  Late 19th century sterling silver spoon with the bowl hand-engraved with a beautiful image of the famous “BATTLESHIP MAINE, Destroyed Feb. 15, 1898.”  The stem of the spoon is decorated with floral bouquets and is signed with lion hallmarks flanking a “W” marked “STERLING.”  5 inches long.  Perfect original condition.   195

The explosion and sinking of the Battleship MAINE in Havana Harbor, Cuba with the loss of 252 American sailors’ lives eventually led to the Spanish-American War.  The incident engendered great American patriotism and a wealth of period souvenirs from a generation of buttons to dishes.  This period example is one of the more elegant and costly, having been produced in very limited numbers by skilled artistans on a precious metal medium.


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12.19 P.O.W. SNUFF BOX. Absolutely charming late 18th or very early 19th century carved bone folk art snuff box depicting a handsome gentleman suitor courting a lovely maiden. This intricately constructed box is indicative of the incredible output of French prisoners in British prisons during the Napoleonic War era. It consists of an inner core of solid wood that has been hollowed out. Overlaying the wood is sheathing consisting of bovine bone attached with tiny brass pins. The box opens with fine hand-made brass hinges and is equipped with a tiny friction latch which allows it to close with a positive fit, assuring preservation of its precious contents. The front of the box is engraved with the initials "CT DW." It is both relief carved AND engraved with floral motifs and a "brick" pattern. It measures 3 1/2 inches long by 2 1/4 inches wide and 1 1/4 inches thick. This snuff box is in an incredible state of original preservation with no damage or repairs whatsoever. A superbly rare example of 200 year old P.O.W. work with a delightfully endearing subject! 1895


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12.37   SAILOR’s VALENTINE.   Early, very impressive, large double sailor’s shellwork valentine of the type produced in the Caribbean from the mid-1800’s onward.  This example dates to the earliest production of these sailors’ mementoes as evidenced by the fact that it has a key lock -- a feature found only on the oldest, higher quality surviving examples.  It is of classic diptych construction  having two octagons hinged in the center.  The cases are made of Spanish cedar having glazed covers of original old wavy glass protecting the fragile shells within.  The geometric patterns so-formed are remarkably complex and extremely colorful.  The left panel (also known as a “flat”) has a 6-side star with a central rosette.  In keeping with the fact that this sailor memento was  a souvenir for a loved one, the central theme of the right flat is a large heart encircled by 3 rosettes.  Each flat measures 13 ¾ inches across with a combined overall width of 27 3/8 inches.  Condition is absolutely outstanding, untouched, original.  As bright and vibrant as it was made over 150 years ago!   Museum-quality.  Price Request Special Packaging


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12.36  SIGNALS and ABBRVIATIONS.   Authentic British Admiralty broadside of chart quality dating from 1910 with printed revisions though 1947, entitled “EXPLANATION OF SIGNS and ABBREVIATIONS.  This detailed depiction undoubtedly adorned the chartroom bulkhead of one of Her Majesty’s ships.  It contains an amazing array of nautical information ranging from “General Abbreviations used on Admiralty charts, Quality of the Bottom, Conventional Signs (coastal topography),  Buoys and Beacons, Lights (with amendment), Tides and Tidal Streams, Fog Signals, Radio Stations, Wrecks” and much more.  Printed in black and red ink on heavy chart stock.  The reverse is marked, “5011 SIGNS AND ABBREVIATIONS USED ON BRITISH CHARTS.”  The bottom is marked “Crown Copyright.”  27 ¾ by 20 ¼ inches.  Good overall with minor condition issues consisting of thumb tack holes in the corners and a small tear, professionally repaired, on the bottom.  A great wall hanger with much interesting nautical information.  Worthy of framing.  Shipped rolled in a mailing tube unless otherwise requested.  99


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12.32  MINIATURE BOS’N PIPE.   Professionally-made silversmith’s special bos’n call made of hallmarked sterling silver.  This original  hand-made boatswain’s whistle has the maker’s mark “DMB,” followed by the Birmingham sterling mark and the indistingusihable date mark on the keel.  The bowl is decorated with applied high relief anchors on both sides.  The stem is gracefully curved and terminates in a single flared mouthpiece.  This diminutive call measures a mere 2 inches in length, yet produces a loud shrill call.  The keel is rove through with a tiny attachment ring less than ¼  inch in diameter!  Overall condition is outstanding and original.  This is the first bos’n pipe of this unusually small size we have ever seen.   Perfect for wearing as an authentic nautical necklace.  The price is right! 149


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12.24  SLAVE TRADE PRINT.   Highly unusual old lithograph with rare subject matter of the early 19th century slave trade entitled “NAVIO NEGREIRO.”   This gripping depiction shows the “tween deck” of an old sailing ship literally littered with hapless Africans crammed in quarters during their passage to slavery.  Three white slaver crewmen carry out the body of a man who has succumbed to the congested conditions, while scores of his compatriots look on.  Some appear astonished, while others cry, yet most are totally indifferent – even smiling!  The central vignette is a muscular slave reaching up towards the main deck to receive some grievously-needed sustenance.  The print is signed lower left “Dess d’ap. nat par Rugendas,”  then in the center,  “Lith de Engelemann, rue du faub Montmarte, No.  6 á Paris” and “Deroy del” on the right.  This striking scene measures 6 by 8 inches sight and is matted under old wavy glass in its original simple gilded wooden frame 9 ¾ by 12 inches.  The back bears the original old framer’s label reading “CASA MIRANDA, Vidros E Papeis Ltda, Estampas – Aquarelas, MOLDURLAS, R. Evaristo Da Veiga 22… Papelaria.”  Untouched original condition.  Very scarce imagery in a bold presentation.   199

Interestingly, the framer, located at R. Evaritos Da Veiga, was in the heart of old town Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – one of the bastions of the active slave trade in the early 1800’s.

An Internet search using NAVIO NEGREIRO turns up several early images on the topic.  This particular scene appears to be the most prominent.


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12.21  DOMINO SET.  Real, 19th century parlor game comprising a full set of 28 ebony and whalebone double sixes dominoes.  Each hand-made piece is laminated together using not one but three brass rivets.  Each piece is hand-finished using painted black dots on the whalebone side.  Attesting to the fact that they are hand-made, the dots are very slightly irregular.  The set is contained in its original machine dove-tailed box with sliding lid.  The pieces measure 2 inches long by 1 inch wide and are 3/8 inch thick.  The box measures 7 ¾ inches long by 2 5/8 inches wide and 2 1/8 inches high.  Perfect original condition showing good age and use, but no abuse.  A good sized set about as nice as they come!  295


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12.83  EARLY SILOR’s KNIFE.  Classic, blunt-tipped knife as issued to and used by seamen in the 18th and 19th centuries.  This nice example has “jigged” carved wooden grips on each side, a metal bolster and a pivoting bail on the working end.  This single blade knife has a thumbnail indent for pulling out the blade which locks into place with a sure action.  It measures 5 ¼ inches closed (inclusive of bail) and 8 ½ inches extended.  Excellent original condition with some minor spotting on the blade, as expected of an antique knife used in a marine environment.  49


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12.17  COMPASS ROSE.  Large, antique compass rose of solid cast bronze.  This impressive item was undoubtedly intended for use in a public venue or a professional building.  The casting is of the highest quality possible, with extremely sharp, crisp edges on the raised letters which have a contrasting blackened background.  This compass rose shows the cardinal and intercardinal points of the compass, identified and indicated by arrows.  It measures 11 ¼ inches in diameter by ¼ inch thick.  Perfect original condition.  Ideal for setting in a major entrance or courtyard.  Without exception, we guarantee this plaque to be of the finest quality, as described or money back + shipping.  449


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12.05  ESKIMO KAYAK.  Very fine early 1900’s model of an Eskimo kayak, faithfully made in the traditional manner with seal skin over a wood frame connected by sinew and embellished with walrus tusk ivory components.  This detailed model features a single Eskimo hunter carved of wood, clad in coarsely-woven, hand-stitched cloth.  His handsome kayak is replete with two long walrus ivory-tipped harpoons and two wooden grappling tools.  There are numerous other small ivory fasteners on the top of the craft connected with sinew.  The bow and stern are further reinforced with ivory caps and runners attached with small wooden pins!  This near scale, realistic presentation measures 20 ½ inches long by 2 3/8 inches wide.  With the Eskimo caricature it stands 3 ¾ inches high.  Outstanding original condition, beautifully preserved.  795


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12.67 EARLY SHIP COMMEMORATIVE. Genuine, early 1900's framed photograph of the American steamer identified as the S.S. STEEL WORKER. This handsome presentation consists of a period black and white photograph of the vessel that has been hand tinted. It is mounted under glass within a turned redwood frame in the form of a ship's wheel. The frame is decoratively hand-painted in a distinctive style, "S.S. STEEL WORKER" with a fouled anchor. The image measures 5 1/2 inches in diameter with the entire presentation being 12 inches across. Excellent original condition. 179

The S.S. STEEL WORKER, call sign KDBJ, was built by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. (a division of United States Steel) Kearney, New Jersey in 1920. She was of 5,860 gross tons, 3,450 net tons, had a length of 424 feet, a breadth of 56 feet and a draft of 26 1/2 feet. With a crew of 34, S.S. STEEL WORKER operated under the ownership of the Isthmian Steamship Company, home ported in New York.

The distinctive style and format of this presentation is quite recognizable and has come to our attention several times before. (See West Sea Co. items 5.13, 5.14, 5.74, 5.77 and 15.68). Although the authorship of these commemoratives is unknown, they apparently were produced by a cottage industry in the San Francisco Bay Area in the first quarter of the 20th century. They are quite collectible and are still very inexpensive for what they are -- decorative, real time ship mementoes made for the crew!

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