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5.40 RARE U.S. NAVY COMMEMORATIVE.  Genuine pre-World War II memento from the famous early American aircraft carrier USS LEXINGTON (CV-2).  This historic relic was no doubt given to a crew member upon his honorable departure from duty on that ship.  It consists of a frame in the form of a lifering containing an early hand-colored black and white photo of the ship titled “USS LEXINGTON” in block letters below the waterline.  The photo is preserved under its original old wavy glass.  The lifering, made of plaster, is nicely lettered “U.S.S. LEXINGTON” with a colorfully painted Union Jack on the left and the American flag on the right.  It is encircled by period cotton line simulating a “grab rope.”   The image measures 5 ½ inches in diameter, and the lifering is 8 ¾ inches across.  Excellent original condition.  Even the paper back is original.  This is truly an historic relic from one of the most famous American fighting ships of all time!  Very rare.   Was 495  NOW! 295

USS LEXINGTON (CV-2) was originally laid down as a battle cruiser (CC-1) by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co. in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1921.  But under the terms of the post War  Washington Naval Disarmament Pact she was reconfigured as an aircraft carrier – America’s second.  She was commissioned on December 14, 1927.
LEXINGTON was assigned to the Pacific Battle Fleet based out of San Pedro, California, conducting flight training and tactical exercises to the end of the next decade.  In the fall of 1941 she sailed with the battle force to conduct exercises in Hawaiian waters.

On the day of infamy LEXINGTON was at sea with Task Force 12.  She was immediately dispatched to the South Pacific, charged with protecting the sea lanes to southern Australia and New Zealand in response to the growing Japanese threat.  On February 20 she saw her first enemy action, downing 17 of 18 Japanese planes with her own aircraft.

On May 7th LEXINGTON’s air group sunk the light carrier SHOHO.  The following morning planes from LEXINGTON and her sister carrier YORKTOWN inflicted heavy damage on the large Japanese aircraft carrier SHOKHKU.  But at 11 A.M. the enemy retaliated with 2 torpedo hits and 3 hits by Japanese dive bombers.  Although damage control parties gallantly fought to fight fires and flooding, a secondary explosion rocked the ship in the early afternoon setting off even more fires.  By 5 P.M. the captain gave the order to “Abandon ship.”  All remaining hands made it off the blazing ship safely.  As night approached, the American destroyer USS PHELPS closed to within 1500 yards of the inferno and fired two torpedoes.  With one last massive explosion, the venerable ship sank at 8 P.M.

USS LEXINGTON received 2 battle stars for her exploits at the very beginning of United States’ involvement in the war, serving as an inspiration to U.S. forces in the Pacific for the remaining 4 years until the Japanese unconditionally surrendered. 


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5.39 DICTIONARY of AMERICAN NAVAL FIGHTING SHIPS.   Amazing!  Complete!  A scarce all original hard bound set of the “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.”  These volumes consist of 8 beautiful books in faux leather covers issued by the Navy Department, Naval History Division, 1970, Washington, D.C.  In them official Navy records document the existence and service of every named vessel which has ever served in the U.S. Navy, in addition to a large number of unnamed vessels serving in similar capacities.  These extensive and exhaustive records document the history of each ship and the origin of its name, its armament, characteristics and a detailed chronological record of its service.  Many entries are accompanied by actual photographs of the vessels they describe.  Without question this is the most exhaustive and comprehensive compilation of information on the history of the United States Navy.   The content of this set is truly exceptional.  Overall the exteriors of these volumes are in excellent condition.  Contents are perfect.  This offering represents an invaluable, absolutely indispensable, reference for the Naval historian and for those enchanted with America’s Naval since the Revolution.   A most worthy addition to ANY maritime library at a very reasonable price.   The complete set weighs 35 pounds when boxed, ready for shipping.   Was 350  NOW! 149  Special Packaging


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10.58  SUBMARINE RESCUE/PATENT DRAWING.  Very rare original painting in grisaille extolling the unique concept of submarine rescue by an ingenious sea platform consisting of two ships dubbed “DAVEY JONES 1” and DAVY JONES 2” floating in tandem on the surface above a disabled submarine sitting below on the bottom.  This detailed rendering depicts no less than 9 hard hat divers engaged in the rescue of an old fashioned diesel submarine.  An innovative ascension chamber extends from the submarine to the surface of DAVEY JONES 2 through which the trapped crewmen can be seen escaping to the surface.  Really a fascinating depiction!   It is signed lower right “Invented By William T. Owens PATENT APPLIED FOR Illustrated by Will D. Hilron.   Interestingly, this painting crosses over several areas of collectability:  hard hat diving, industrial art, submarines and Patent models/images.  It is in its original simple black wooden frame measuring 26 by 34 inches sight and 31 1/2 by 39 1/2 inches overall.  Ink and gouache on artist's board.  Excellent overall condition.  1295  Special Packaging


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16.09  DECORATIVE LEADED WINDOWS.   A very unusual matched set of 4 original early hand-leaded windows said to have come from a New Orleans tavern prior to the Civil War.  These windows consist of leaded frames encircled by 20 convex bull’s eye glass inserts each surrounding the thick beveled glass central panels.  The bull’s eyes are obviously hand-molded.  Each window measures 7 ½ inches square.  The central glass panel is 4 ½ inches square and each of the bull’s eyes measure 7/8 inches in diameter.   All of the frames exhibit a wonderful old antique patina acquired through time.  Absolutely perfect original condition with no chips, cracks, breaks or losses of any kind.   Really amazing!  Guaranteed to be over 150 years old.  Very heavy.   Would make a fantastic decorator statement in the proper setting.  389 Special Packaging

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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.  127 years old! Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

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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