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3.36 /19.88   SALESMAN’s  SAMPLE BINNACLE.  Extremely rare, perhaps one-of-a-kind,  true miniature late 1800’s yacht binnacle with the liquid compass signed “ROBERT OLIVER . NEW YORK.” around the central pivot.  While miniature in stature, this binnacle is gigantic in  quality.  The tiny composition card is a mere 2 inches in diameter yet it bears increments down to ½ points of the compass (5.63 degrees) with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  Speaking to its quality it has an agate pivot.  The liquid-filled compass body is solid brass in a black finish, heavily weighted to gimbal properly within its turned brass mount.  The sculptural-quality brass base has a flared bottom with 3 holes for mounting on the vessel.  The early-style “mushroom” hood attaches to the base by means of 2 bayonet fittings.  The hood has an oval viewing window and a circular rear window for ambient lighting.  For night use it is equipped with an exceptional miniature side light with whale oil font and burner.  The lamp fits snugly in its receptacle in the hood.  At the top is a brass chimney with folding bail handle.  The top of the hood also has a substantial brass ring for carrying.  Condition is outstanding.  The surfaces exude a rich golden glow.  Almost “toy-like” in size, this is a genuine navigational instrument intended for actual use and of the finest quality!  7 inches wide at the widest and 8 inches tall inclusive of the loop.  The base measures 3 ¾ inches in diameter.   It is set on a solid piece of genuine ship’s deck teak.  This binnacle is 1,000 times rarer than the big, massive ships’ binnacles offered today on eBay and other websites for $5,000 and up -- most of which are 20th century.  It performs the same function and is 50 to 75 years older!  A similar example is not to be found. SOLD

In the early 1800’s, before the advent of modern advertising, one of the best ways for a manufacturer to market a product was to employ a traveling salesman to showcase their wares.  Photographs were not enough.  Hands-on examples were best.  To those ends, companies would produce an exact miniature, fully functional model of their product for the salesman to present to potential customers.  These salesman’s samples were on the same order of quality required by the U.S. Patent Office of the time






5.60/13.61  U.S. NAVY DECK CLOCK.  Extra nice World War II “MARK I – DECK CLOCK U.S. NAVY. 1943” as prominently shown on the lower dial.  At the very bottom it is marked “MADE BY SETH THOMAS IN U.S.A.”  This heavy duty capital ship’s clock has a handsome blackened brass dial with bold Arabic numerals swept by white spade hands.  It has a minute chapter ring and a subsidiary seconds bit showing individual seconds marked by 10’s.  The hands and the dial numbers are enhanced with luminescent dots.  The convex beveled crystal is of Lexan in perfect condition.  The body is of Bakelite.  A threaded knurled pin on the right secures the clock closed.  Opening it on its hinged left reveals that back of the clock in nickeled brass finished with 5 apertures.  The top is the Fast/Slow adjustment.  The upper left is the seconds stop feature used to precisely coordinate fleet movements with other combatants.  Below it is the “SET” feature for adjusting the time.  At the bottom is the “WIND” opening with arrow.  Finally, to its right is the closure lever in a slot which allows all of the openings to be sealed by means of a rotating disc.  The high grade lever movement is all brass, 11 jewels, with an 8 day power train.  The clock body is connected to its bulkhead mounting plate by a substantial hinge with removable pin, allowing he clock itself to be removed for safety.  The rear plate is all brass and contains and internal shock mount held with 4 screws.  It connects to the phenolic back plate which seats on the rear of the clock with an airtight rubber O ring.  This pristine example is an excellent timekeeper.  It measures 8 ½ inches in diameter at the widest and is 4 3/8 inches deep.  The dial measures 5 ¾ inches across.  The entire assembly is mounted to a handsome custom-made mahogany stand 11 2/4 inches wide, 9 ¾ inches high and 8 inches deep overall.  Of course the clock can be removed for wall mounting if desired.  We have handled dozens of similar clocks in our 40 year tenure.  This one is the best we have ever seen, worthy of being called “factory mint.”  Complete with period winding key.  749

According to Marvin Whitney in his landmark reference book “Military Timepieces,” 1992, American Watchmakers Institute Press, this clock was “Seth Thomas’ model 5165 series in accordance with U.S. Navy Department specifications of an 8-day movement housed in a metal or black phenolic case.  The case was dust-proof, moisture-proof, and equipped with a cushioned, bulkhead mounting plate.  Both types had a lusterless black 12-hour dial with luminous hands and dots over the numerals.  Each had an eccentric second hand.“  (Page 429)


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8.65  SAILING SHIP’s DEAD EYES.  Matched pair of diminutive dead eyes from the rigging of a small sailing craft.  These genuine relics from the age of sail are carved and turned from solid oak which has acquired a rich, dark age patina from years at sea.  3 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick each.  Excellent condition.  99/pr



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16.20  “CARTE DE LA CALIFORNIE.”  Original hand-colored engravings depicting early California.  This presentation is actually 5 maps in one.  The earliest dates to 1604.  Then 1656, 1700, 1705 and the final map is 1767, the date of this production.  The legend in the upper right is entitled “CARTE DE LA CALIFORNIE Suivant.”  These maps literally document the evolution of exploration of the southwest American territory.   Interestingly, the earliest map (1604) shows Baja California as a peninsula, although the shoreline is grotesquely out of proportion. But by 1656 it was considered an island.  Then by 1700 it is apparent that cartographers were aware the Baja California was connected to the mainland.  Even then the depiction of the landmass and coastline were grossly incorrect.  Only by 1767 had exploration by the Spanish Jesuits contributed  to realistic characterization of the topography.  These hand-engraved maps are on high quality rag paper and are signed by the engraver in the margin in the upper left.  Commissioned by King Carlos III of Spain, known as “The Enlightened and King-Mayor,” the legend and names are in French.  The x axis indicates the longitude and the y axis the latitude.  However the prime meridian of Greenwich, England was not established until 1851.  So, being French, it is likely based on the earlier Paris longitude.  This ancient map is professionally framed and matted using non-acidic conservation materials.  The image measures 16  by 11 ½ inches sight and is housed under glass in a simple gilt wooden frame measuring 24 ¾ by 22 inches.  Outstanding original condition in all respects.  Bright, clean and colorful after 250 years!  Absolutely wonderful subject matter!  Especially appealing to Californians with an appreciation of history.  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top


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18.97  EARLY AMERICAN ANCHOR LAMP.   Extra rare, solid brass ship’s anchor lamp of the classic early “bird cage” type made by America’s preeminent shipware maker as embossed on the bottom of the font “M’F’D’R’D BY PPERKINS MARINE LAMP CORPRN BROOKLYN – NEW YORK.”  This handsome lantern is entirely handmade with meticulous attention to detail, such as internal covers over the lower vents in the lamp to prevent wind from blowing out the flame.  The gauge of the brass is extremely thick and obviously hand-formed.  The virtually perfect thick glass lens is of the Freznel “lighthouse” type used to focus the lamp’s output on the horizon.  To the ends the original font and burner fit into the underside of the lamp with a bayonet twist.  The wedge-type burner with wick advance knob is embossed “VORTEX.”  Telling of its early manufacture this predates burners made by Perkins which were later marked “PERKO.”  This antique navigational lamp stands 14 inches tall and 6 inches in diameter at the base.  It is in excellent overall condition noting some very minor bumps in the base and a rich deep age patina.  A lovely old maritime lantern over 100 years old!  419

Frederick Persky, a Russian immigrant, schooled in Germany as a machinist, came to the United States in 1890 and soon found work at the nautical instrument making firm of John Bliss &Company in Brooklyn, New York.  In the very early 1900's he and a partner began their own business, F. Persky & Company, Lantern Manufacturer, out of his house.

In 1907, Frederick's son Louis joined him in the business, and together they enlarged the product line and their manufacturing facilities.  By 1912, under then name of Perkins Marine Lamp Corporation, they were manufacturing a variety of nautical lanterns and had begun producing an expanded line of marine products.  Five generations later, PERKO is still a privately owned, family operated corporation, operating out of Miami, Florida in 1960.



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21.86  EARLY TELESCOPE by IMPORTANT MAKER.  Especially rare, 10-sided, reverse tapered spyglass made by the famous London optician and nautical instrument maker George Adams.  This wonderful surviving example of a decahedral telescope is signed on the single draw in elegant cursive script “Adams, London.”   Evidencing its early origins this spyglass has an unusual 5 element erecting system in the single draw vs. the usual 4.  The lenses are held in by threaded retainers instead of being “rolled in,” as exemplified in later telescopes.  Together with the singlet, non-achromatic objective lens 1 1/8 inches in diameter, the system provides a sharp, highly magnified image with the typical peripheral chromatic aberration characteristic of pre-1750 telescopes.  The barrel is constructed of one solid piece of mahogany, hollowed out in the traditional decahedral form.  The draw, with early-form “nipple” has no stop, meaning it will pull free from the main barrel.  Again this is a characteristic indicative of only the earliest hand held telescopes.  Both of the spring-loaded objective and ocular dust slides are in place and operate properly.  The overall condition of this telescope can only be described as nothing short of amazing original condition in consideration of its seaborne life spanning more than 260 years!  The barrel is in its original finish with expected minor scuffs and mars from actual use.  All of the brass components have acquired a rich, deep age patina.  All 6 of the original glass lenses are in perfect condition.  31 inches long overall.  The main barrel measures 24 ½ inches long and is 1 ¾ inches thick at the widest.  Another of our truly museum quality offerings representing a real prize for the finest collection.   2600

George Adams (the first) was without question a premiere English maker of his time.  Born in 1698, he was apprenticed to James Parker in 1724 and began his own business at Shoe Lane, London in 1733.  In 1750 he received a patent for his telescope and was awarded the honor of appointment as maker to the Prince of Wales, George III, in 1760.  (Gloria Clifton, “Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1440-1851,” 1995, The National Maritime Museum.)

Peter Dollond (1731-1821,) son of inventor John Dollond, was widely credited with producing an effective achromatic lens, for which he was granted a Royal patent in 1758.  Up to that time limitations in glass making and lens grinding had made it necessary to manufacture small, thin lenses with long focal lengths in order to obtain maximum magnification.   Accordingly, early high-powered refracting telescopes such as this example, required unusually long barrels in relationship to the diameter of their objective lens.



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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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