West Sea Company

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Prices in U.S. Dollars are listed in GREEN.

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

top detail

bottom detail
star detail

5.85  COMMEMORATIVE LIFERING.  Very rare ship's relic in the form of an authentically-made miniature lifering.  This unusual example of sailor folk art consists of a carved wooden core overlaid by sail canvas tightly stitched on the inner circumference.  A laid rope "grab line" encircles the ring attached by 4 sections of interlaced coachwhipping sinnet.  At the bottom is a six-bight double strand button knot with trailing fringe.  The lifering is beautifully-identified in gold lettering with black "shadow" highlights U.S.S. SAVANNAH.  The ring itself measures 5 ¾ inches in diameter by 8 inches wide and 11 ½ inches tall.  Excellent overall condition with only minor spotting due to age.  There are no losses or damage.  Here is a genuine  tangible piece of U.S. Navy Civil War history!  Civil War relics are hot!  385

USS SAVANNAH 1842-1870

The second ship in the U.S. Navy to be named SAVANNAH was laid down in 1820 at the New York Navy Yard.  But due to a lack of funding the frigate was not commissioned until 12 years later.  SAVANNAH joined the Pacific Squadron as its flagship in 1844.  In anticipation of the Mexican War (1846-48), the SAVANNAH and her squadron were positioned off the coast of California.  On July 7, 1846 less than two months after war broke out, SAVANNAHsuccessfully captured the provincial capital Monterey, without firing a shot.
In 1853 she was transferred to Brazil Station with ships assigned to protect American trade with Brazil and Argentina.  Upon completion of those duties in 1856 SAVANNAH was converted into a twenty-four gun sloop of war to serve as part of the home squadron patrolling the Gulf of Mexico.  On March 6, 1860, the SAVANNAH and USS SARATOGA participated in the engagement off of Anton Lizardo, Mexico where they captured two Mexican pirate ships taken over by mutineers.

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 SAVANNAH deployed off the coast of Georgia where she participated in the capture of two Confederate prizes, the schooner E.J. WATERMAN and the ship CHESHIRE.  Subsequently SAVANNAH was taken out of active service to serve as a training ship at the U.S. Naval Academy.  She continued in that capacity, crossing the Atlantic several times until 1870.  In 1883 the vessel was sold to a private shipping company.



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17.30  EARLY LINER TRADE CARD.  Third quarter of the 1800's passenger liner advertisement extolling the virtues of the 3-masted steam/sail S.S. ENGLAND of the National Line Steamships.  This colorful lithograph shows a port broadside view of the huge 4,900 ton vessel as it plows through the sea under shortened sail.  It clearly show the American ensign flying from the  foremast, National Line's house flag from the main and the American ensign at the stern.  This very detail image show passengers on deck and deck details.  The image is encircled by a rope border with pulleys and is signed lower right "The Hatch Litho Co. 32 & 34 Vesy St. N.Y."
The reverse details the routes between Queenstown, Liverpool, London and New York.  Rates and accommodations are specified, ranging from "Excurson" at $120 to "Steerage"  at $26 "Being $2.00 cheaper than most other lines."  The card measures 3 ½ by 6 inches.  It is in sound condition noting significant toning, particularly on the back, from being mounted.  Was $195  NOW! 49 Shipping FREE


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18.20  GIMBALLED LAMPS.  Matched pair of diminutive American swinging cabin lamps made by the prestigious makers "PERKO" of Brooklyn, New York as impressed on the mounting plates and again on the bottoms.  These solid brass lanterns are heavily weighted to remain vertical on a rolling ship in a seaway.  The suspending forked brackets pivot in their mounts or can be locked in place by a small set screw on the top.  Each is complete with its original "star type" pop up burner with wick advance knob marked "E. MILLER CO. Made In U.S.A."  Telling of its early origins PERKO began making their own burners in the mid-1900's.  These complex burners tilt back for cleaning and access to the wick without having to remove the chimney.  The original crystal glass chimneys are fluted and held in place with a small set screw on the front.  Each lamp is mounted to its custom-made hardwood back board with our unique hanging eye countersunk on the back for a flush fit to the bulkhead.  4 5/8 wide by 12 inches tall.  The lamps extend exactly 6 inches from the wall.  Outstanding original condition is all respects.  As clean and cute as the come.  Especially suited for a small yacht or room with limited space.  649/pr


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2.96 MUSEUM MODEL & PHOTO. Genuine hand-made model of an early 20th century San Francisco Bay ferryboat operated by the Western Pacific Railroad, as identified on the bottom with pencil markings. This wonderfully detailed waterline model is constructed entirely of wood with hand-cut brass and metal fittings. It comes from the prestigious collection of the DeYoung Museum of San Francisco, California which was recently sold by that institution to generate funds for expansion and improvements of their facility. The model itself measures 4 1/2 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide. With that, it exhibits superb detailing for a model of its size and type. It is signed on the bottom in pencil, "Wes. Pac. RR Co. Ferry, San Francisco." Excellent condition with all original old painted surfaces. Accompanying this offering is a rare period photograph of the actual vessel circa 1915, mounted on its original card which measures 8 by 10 inches and is in perfect original condition. A great early San Francisco Bay offering! Was $495  NOW! 195

This exquisite little model is identifiable as the Western Pacific's premier ferryboat EDWARD T. JEFFERY built by Moore & Scott Iron Works, Oakland, California in 1913. She had a steel hull which displaced 1578 tons, with a length of 218 feet, breadth of 42 feet and a 16 foot draft. The JEFFERY was a very well known ferry, highly esteemed by Bay residents at that time. Later in her career, about 1930, she was renamed FEATHER RIVER. In 1933 she was again renamed SIERRA NEVADA when ownership was transferred to the Southern Pacific Railroad. The identity of the modeler who constructed this fine ship model is unknown, but obviously he was in every sense a skilled professional!



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 AUTHENTIC LIGHTHOUSE.   This is the ultimate!  Here is an exceptional opportunity to own a very historic relic of America’s rich maritime heritage embodied in the original lamp room from the famous Ballast Point Lighthouse, which served its sentinel duties in the channel of San Diego Bay from 1890 until 1960.  This incredibly well-preserved piece of history was built according to specifications laid out by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1885.  A copy of the original specifications are included as are much printed references and photographs.  Erected in 1890, the 5th Order lighthouse was a significant aid to navigation in conjunction with the Point Loma Lighthouse (1850) poised at the entrance to San Diego Bay.   Ballast Point Light was situated further inside the massive bay on a point which jutted into the seaway which posed a hazard to shipping.  13 feet 10 inches high with a maximum width of 8 feet 8 inches.  Weight approximately 5 tons. It will require a crane and a flat bed truck for transport.  129 years old!  Price Request Special Packaging

Serious inquiries only please.  No telephone quotes.  This item has been nominated as a candidate for the National Historic Register, and is currently being considered by a number of museums, private lighthouse restoration groups and the U.S. Navy.   Clear title is guaranteed.  Please provide your qualifications for ownership and your intentions for use.  We reserve the right to select a deserving owner.   We have already soundly rejected a low ball offer of $25,000 – that being the original price of the lamp room in 1890!   A single 5th Order light house lens recently sold for $125,000.  This is the entire lamp room, much rarer, and probably the only one of its kind to ever be for sale again


On October 2, 1888, recognizing the need for a harbor light in the increasingly congested channel of San Diego Bay, Congress authorized $25,000 for the construction of a lighthouse to be built on Ballast Point.  Fashioned in the late Victorian style, the entire structure took 3 months to build beginning in March 1890.  The light was first lit on August 1st.  It was a sister of the lights at San Luis Obispo and Table Bluff, south of Humboldt Bay.  All were wood framed structures with attached living quarters.  The ironwork for the lantern was forged in San Francisco and carried south to San Diego by ship.  The French firm of Sautter, Lemmonier, & Cie. manufactured the Freznel lens for the Ballast Point Light in 1886.  The fixed 5th Order lens was visible for a distance of at least 11 miles.
When California was still part of Mexico the peninsula jutting into San Diego Bay was known as Punta del los Guijarros or “Pebble Point.”  For centuries cobblestones washed down by the San Diego River had been deposited on the point.  When California gained statehood in 1850 the point was renamed Middle Ground Shoal.  As time went on and merchant traffic in the harbor increased, many sailing ships found it convenient to load or discharge the stones as ballast.  The practice continued and eventually the name “Ballast Point” stuck.
Accompanying the Ballast Point lighthouse was a huge 2,000 pound fog bell in a wooden tower.  In 1928 it was supplanted by a single tone electric diaphone horn.

The first keeper of the light was John M. Nilsson, assigned duty on July 15, 1890.  The second was Henry Hall, who took the job on December 1, 1892.  Perhaps the most famous keeper was Irish born David R. Splaine, a Civil War veteran and veteran lighthouse keeper, who assumed the post in 1894, having served at Point Conception, the Farallons and San Diego’s own Point Loma light from 1886-1889.

In 1913 the original old kerosene lamp was replaced with an acetylene burner.  Acetylene gave way to electricity in 1928.  In 1938 a filter was fitted inside the 5th Order Freznel lens giving the light a distinctive green hue for recognition.  One of the last keepers of the light was Radford Franke who recalled receiving the order to “douse the light” upon the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

By early 1960 the light was deemed to be of no further service, so in June of that year the lantern room was removed to a salvage yard.  The wooden tower and its brick and mortar foundation remained a couple of years later until they too were declared structurally unsafe and demolished.  The bell tower continued to survive, mounted with a 375 mm high intensity lamp on its roof.  However the value of maintaining any light on Ballast Point diminished with the installation of harbor entrance range lights.  In the late 1960’s the bell and its tower were dismantled.  The tower found its way to a private residence in Lakeside, California.  The bell had a more circuitous later life.  It was purchased from a San Diego area junk yard in 1969 for its scrap value of 5 cents per pound!  The one ton bell remained on local private property until 1991, when it was put on loan to the San Diego Maritime Museum.  In 1999 the bell was transported to the son of the original buyer, living in Colorado.  Then in 2002, the bell finally found its way to the home of the owner’s granddaughter living in Vermont, where it rests to this day.
The story of the lantern’s later life is even more fascinating.  The nation was just recovering from the Cuban Missile Crisis between JFK and Khrushchev, when in 1964 the Cuban government cut off the fresh water supply to the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay.  By that time, an experimental desalinization plant had been in operation at Point Loma for 2 years.  The Navy hastily ordered it to be disassembled and shipped through the Panama Canal to Cuba.  A gentleman working as a crane operator during the process noted the shabby lantern room in a trash heap nearby.  He inquired as to the fate of the relic and was told it was salvage.  Asking if he could purchase it,  the yard foreman told him he could “have it” if he would haul it away.  With that, for the next 34 years the lantern room served as a gazebo in the backyard of the man’s residence in Bonita, California.  It was purchased by the present owners in 1998, fully refurbished, and then placed on public display ever since.  Now it is time for it to find its next new home.  According to the crane operator who delivered the lamp room it weighs approximately 5 tons.  It will require a crane and a flat bed truck for removal.

F. Ross Holland, “The Old Point Loma Lighthouse,” 1978, Cabrillo Historical Association, San Diego, California
Jim Gibbs, “The Twilight of Lighthouses,” 1996, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA.
Kin Fahlen and Karen Scanlon, “Lighthouse of San Diego,” 2008, Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco
Kraig Anderson, “Forgotten Ballast Point “Lighthouse” Seeks New Home,” article in “Lighthouse Digest,” East Machias, Maine,  September – October 2011,  Vol. XX, no. 5 pages 34 – 37.
“Mains’l Haul,” a periodic publication of the San Diego Maritime Association, Summer 1990, Vol. XXVI,  No. 4, pp. 11-12.







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