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3.30  MINIATURE SEXTANT.   Truly extraordinary, if not completely unique, 2nd quarter 1800’s midshipman’s sextant (aka lifeboat sextant) made by the highly revered early English maker William Cary as beautifully hand-engraved on the large silver arc “Cary, London 968.”   This amazing instrument is actually a semi circumferentor having a scale divided to a full 180 degrees of arc, sub-divided to 20 arc minutes!   This was a spectacular feat of precision engineering at the time, attesting to Cary’s genius.  It was not attempted by any of his contemporaries even on larger more easily calibrated instruments.  This pristine all brass instrument is in its original blackened finish. The tangent fine adjust knob works in consort with the knurled index arm stop. The large scale is overridden by the index arm vernier scale calibrated to provide a reading down to an accuracy of an amazing 20 arc seconds!  This was virtually unheard of for an instrument of its size at the time.  It is a cutting age accomplishment literally akin to the moon exploration more than 125 years later!   The index arm is equipped with an adjustable magnifier to view the reading.  This compact navigational instrument has both index and horizon mirrors and a height adjustable sight holder which accommodates 3 telescopes housed in its box.   Incredibly, 2 index filters and 2 horizon filers are also provided.  On the reverse it has a sculpted solid ebony handle and 3 positioning “feet.”   This diminutive instrument measures  a mere 5 ¼ inches wide on the broad arc and 4 ½ inches long on the index arm.  It is housed in its original rich African mahogany box with very fine hand-dove tailed construction measuring 5 ½ inches square by 3 ¼ inches thick.  It is complete with all three sighting tubes and 2 eye piece filters.  Incredibly the box lock is complete with its original skeleton key!  Within the lid are two original labels.  The first is by “HENRY PORTER Successor to the Late W. CARY.”  The second is a hand-inked label dated 1888 indicating the correction of the index error in June 1888.  This extraordinary presentation is worthy of the finest world class museum.  In fact it must ultimately go to a museum as the trail of its past dictates.  We are all caretakers of our prized possessions, but not owners in perpetuity.  3900

William Cary was a patriarch of the family of instrument makers in England which brought that country to world prominence in the early 1800’s.  Born in 1759, Cary apprenticed to the premier 18th century instrument maker, Jesse Ramsden.  Cary began his own practice in 1789 at 277 The Strand, London.  In 1821 he moved to 181 The Strand where the business flourished thereafter.  In partnership with his brother John, William produced some of the finest and most highly sought after antique globes sold today.  The signature J & W Cary is a mark of excellence in the current marketplace.  William Cary died in 1825.  But his apprentice Henry Porter carried on the firm in his master’s name.  Owing to the quality and execution of the finest details of this superior instrument, it is our opinion that this sextant is indeed by the hand of the master, William Cary, as signed “Cary, London.”  Inasmuch as Porter’s trade label in the lid states “Apprentice and Successor to the Late W. Cary,” surely this instrument dates very close to or prior to Cary’s demise.

Such miniature sextants were popular as functional but very expensive novelties during the second quarter of the 19th C.  Many were awarded as prizes for superior performance by their recipients in navigational academies of the time.  Other well known makers such as Troughton & Simms produced a nominal amount of such quality instruments at the time.  (See item 3.92) 

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13.55  SCARCE SWEDISH CHRONOMETER.  First half of the 1900’s marine chronometer made for “C. L. Malmjo & Co., Goteborg (Sweden) No. 14992” as fancily engraved on the silvered brass dial.  This 2-day marine timekeeper has bold Roman numerals and a minute chapter swept by blued steel spade hands.  The subsidiary seconds bit marked by 10’s partially covers the VI.  Below the XII is the 56 hour Up/Down indicator, so marked.  At the bottom of the seconds bit is the word “IMPORT” in red.  This indicates it manufacture by the Thomas Mercer Company circa 1937.  The dial is protected by a thick beveled glass crystal set in the highly polished brass bezel ring.  The all brass jeweled movement has a Palladium helical hairspring, circular balance with large timing weights, diamond end stone, spring détente escapement and of course a chain drive fusee.  The back of the dial is marked with the matching serial number “14992” as is the bottom of the brass bowl.”  The bowl is slung in gimbals with lever action gimbal lock and is contained in it s original simple hardwood box in 3 sections.  The right rear of the bottom tier contains the original ratcheting chronometer winding key.  The glazed middle tier bears the engraved ivory maker’s label reading “C.L. MALMJO & CO. -> 14992 <- GOTEBORG” and is equipped with a button latch with star burst escutcheon to hold the upper lid.  The sides of the lower tier have inset folding brass handles.   The front has a matching key escutcheon for the box lock which is complete with its functional skeleton key.   The box measures 7 1/8 by 7 ½ inches square and is 7 3/4 inches tall.   This chronometer is a strong runner and the overall condition is excellent.  Was $3900 NOW! 2900 Special PackagingBack to Top

A. Hallgren established the company at 29 Sodra Hamngatan, Gotenburg, Sweden in 1890.  He was apprenticed to the house of Breguet in Paris.





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16.16  AMERICAN TELLURIUM.   Extremely rare 4th quarter of the 19th century American planetary model by “A.H. ANDREWS & CO. CHICAGO” as signed in relief on the ornately decorated cast support arm.  It is additionally signed in the maker’s cartouche located in the northwestern Pacific, “A. ANDREWS 8 Inch TERRESTRIAL GLOBE with the latest discoveries and ocean currents A. H. Andrews & Co. Chicago.”  This amazing apparatus depicts the earth revolving about the sun in the center of the weighted stand with a proportional radial sector of the sun in brass indicating serrated “flames.”  Between the sun and the earth is a moveable rod on which a wooden orb representing the moon is attached.  These ride on a pedestal atop a very heavy cast iron base which is encircled with the 12 signs of the Zodiac.  Each of the 12 quadrants is charmingly decorated with an image of the mythological sign, the month, the degrees from North and the points of the compass.  These lithographed images are somewhat faded with time, but still very colorful and legible.  Attached to the swinging support arm opposite the earth is an arrow which indicates the earth’s position on the Zodiac as it orbits the sun.  The earth is represented by a globe made in the traditional manner with a plaster sphere overlaid by 12 lithographed gores.  The detail of the geography is of a very high standard with multi-color countries and major cities shown.  As the name implies, ocean and atmospheric currents are notable as is the declination line of the sun between the 2 solstices.  The condition of the globe is excellent and original with no damage of repairs, noting good age toning to its protective varnish.  The North Pole is fitted with a moveable brass arrow to highlight a specific Meridian or geographical feature.  Surround the globe is a heavy brass cage mounted to the support arm.  It has two Meridian Circles and one Equatorial circle connected to a removable swan’s neck support on the arm   Construction and materials throughout are of the highest order!  21 ½ inches wide and 16 ½ inches tall overall.  The base measures 12 inches in diameter.  The entire apparatus weighs 13 pounds.  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

The firm of Andrews & Co. was begun by A.H. Andrews in 1866 and continued to flourish into the 1890’s.  At the end of the Civil War this pioneer maker established Chicago as the center for globe manufacturing in America, leading the way for other globe makers to practice their trade.  Names like Rand McNally and Weber Costello continued their production into the end of the 20th century.  (Elly Dekker and Peter van der Krogt, “Globes From the Western World,” 1993, Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., London).




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21.88.  LARGE IVORY BINNOCULARS.   A really incredible pair of 19th century binoculars with the bodies turned out of solid ivory!  This handsome, super high quality optical instrument was obviously designed to be a cut above the usual instruments of its type with leather-covered brass bodies.  Most likely of French manufacture this set exhibits the quality and craftsmanship indicative of French opticians in the 1800’s, as exhibited in this particularly difficult medium.   The large twin objective lenses measure 2 ½ inches in diameter and are 5 inches wide overall.  The gilt brass frames secure the lenses within the solid ivory bodies.  Another set of gilt brass frames hold the oculars.  Within each is a circular ebony eyepiece.    The binoculars focus by turning a ribbed ivory knob in the center, extending from 4 5/8 inches closed to a full 6 1/8 inches.   This action is very tight.  The all original lenses combine to produce a stereoscope image of great clarity with good magnification and light gathering capability.  Remarkably these old binoculars show relatively little cracking expected of such a medium about 150 years old.  There is the obvious wear and age patina.   The original satin-line leather carrying case is also in remarkable condition, complete with original carrying strap.  The case measures 5 ½ by 5 by 3 inches and closes with a brass button latch.  895 

This extra large pair is about as rare as it gets.  We have never seen a nicer set *anywhere* for sale or on exhibit.  Not to mention with the original silk-lined leather case!

Not available in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

in case


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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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