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3.62  RARE 18th C. AMERICAN COMPASS.   Really exceptional boxed compass by Samuel Emery, Salem, Massachusetts as exquisitely engraved around the pivot "+ EMERY + SALEM."  This drycard compass has a hand-engraved card which is arguably the most lovely ever produced.  It has a very elaborate fleur-de-lis at the north and is signed "Callender SP" (sculptor) the engraver.  It is divided into single points of the compass with the cardinal and intercardinal point identified.  The rim of the card is divided into single degrees and is marked by 10's.  The plain brass pivot at the center is knurled. The weighted, turned brass bowl retains its old, very way glass cover held in by the original putty.  There is one small crack on the extreme edge which in no way affects the function or appearance of this museum piece.  What is important is that the glass is original.  The bowl is slung in gimbals and is mounted in its original oak box in old gray paint.  The compass itself measures 5 ¼ inches in diameter and the compass body is 6 inches across.  The solid oak box is 8 ¾ inches square by 5 ¾ inches high.  It is complete with its sliding wooden cover.  This is a beautiful, very early American Federal period compass which is an outstanding addition to any world class nautical collection.  A real rarity in today's market.   This is a bargain which we are proud to offer our valued customers.  1195  Special PackagingBack to Top

Benjamin Callender, Jr. an engraver of maps and charts was born in Boston in 1773.  (William Young, "A Dictionary of American Artists, Sculptors and Engravers," 1968, William Young & Co., Cambridge, Massachusetts.)

The earliest recorded reference of a compass used in the Western world took place during the Crusades from Europe to the Holy Land in the 11th century A.D.  It was during these Crusades to the Middle East that the Christian cross became symbolic of the eastern destination of the Crusaders as designated by the "East" point on the compass rose.  The centuries old tradition of the "decorated East" remained with mariners until the very early 1800's.

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4.74  WHALING HARPOON.  Authentic mid-19th century Yankee whaling harpoon.  This "toggle iron" was made on the principle designed by African-American blacksmith Lewis Temple who invented his "Temple gig" in 1848.   A very handsome example, it is entirely hand-forged black iron with a classic pivoting toggle tip and forge welded split cone socket.  Interestingly, there are still remnants of the old harpoon pole in the socket and a small wooden pin in the toggle tip.  Exactly 37 inches long.  Excellent condition with its original old black iron finish.   Museum quality over 150 years old.  949

In his landmark book entitled "Harpoons and Other Whalecraft," 1984, Old Dartmouth Historical Society Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Thomas Lytle depicts an identical harpoon in the collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum on page 205 item number 84.  On page 33 he writes, "The earliest toggle irons were made with the toggle head positioned inside a shank clevis.  The head rotated on a pivot pin that was fastened in the clevis and passed through the toggle head."

Not long after Temple's design was introduced to the American whaling fleet a slight modification in its construction proved simpler and less costly to its construct.  "The function of the improved harpoon was basically the same as earlier toggle irons, that is, the head was held in the darting position by means of a small wood shear pin that broke away when withdrawl force was applied.  This allowed the head to rotate open by pivoting on the pivot pin that was fixed to the head and passed through the flattened shank end."


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10.75  WWII SUBMARINE PLAQUE.  Authentic World War II era unit plaque from the U.S. Navy diesel submarine USS PICKERAL (SS-524).  This solid brass plaque depicts King Neptune with his trident astride the submarine plowing through the sea while rays of light stream from the trident.  All in high relief.  The plaque itself measures 7 ½ inches wide at the widest and 6 inches in diameter.  It is mounted to the classic shield-shaped mahogany backing measuring 9 ½ inches wide and 11 inches tall.  The brass has acquired a very pleasing deep, dark age patina through the years.  Was $295  NOW! 149

PICKEREL was laid down on February 8, 1944.  She was the second boat of her class to be so-named.  Her namesake, PICKEREL (SS-177) was the first United States submarine to be lost in the central Pacific during World War II.  She departed Midway Island on March 22, 1943 en route to the eastern coast of northern Honshu, Japan.  She was never heard from again.  According to post-war Japanese records naval aircraft first bombed an unidentified submarine off of Shiramuke Lighthouse on northern Honshu on April 3, 1943, then directed SHIRAGAMI and BUNZAN MARU to the location, where they dropped twenty-six depth charges.  But the kill was not made before the plucky sub sank a Japanese submarine chaser and large cargo ship!

The second PICKEREL (SS-524) was launched on December 15, 1944.  Due to logistics and uncertainties toward war's end, it was not finished in time to enter the theater.  Ultimately she was commissioned on April 4, 1949.   From March 16 - April 5, 1950 she completed a 5,200-mile underwater voyage from Hong Kong to Pearl Harbor in 21 days.  This was the longest distance ever traveled by a submerged diesel submarine! During her first deployment in the Western Pacific in 1950, PICKEREL spent four months in the Korean theater, one of the first submarines in the Korean War.  In the years following, the sub operated in the Pacific with the 7th Fleet.  In the fall of 1966, her duties in WestPac were broadened to include operations in the Vietnam combat zone on Yankee Station. 

In August 1972 PICKEREL was decommissioned and transferred to the Italian navy.  In that role she served into the early 1980's.


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18.14  COMBINATION RUNNING LAMP.  Civil War era American small craft running lamp with port, starboard and masthead functions all in one.  This all brass lamp is entirely hand-made.  It features thick, magnifying bull's eye glass lenses, red, clear and blue (shining green when illuminated by a yellow flame).  Its trapezoidal shape is topped by a mushroom chimney and backed by a hinged door with sliding pin closure.  There is a "shoe" bracket for mounting on the back and two folding bale handles for carrying.  Remarkably, this little gem still retains its original oil font and burner with wick advance knob.  To assure proper aspiration there are two inner ducts leading to the "pine tree" vents on the bottom two sides.  7 inches wide at the widest, 4 ¾ inches fore and aft and 8 ½ inches tall.  For cleaning, the chimney slides on and off from the lamp body with a press fit.  Excellent original condition in all respects with a lovely bronze age patina.  In our 40 year experience it is incredibly rare to find a lantern of this vintage in original condition which has not been modified.  Twenty years ago this lamp would have sold for $800.  Truly a rare find!   695




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19.41 YACHT BOOK. Bill Robinson, "Legendary Yachts, The Great American yachts from Cleopatra's Barge to Courageous," 1978, David McKay Co., New York, 306 pages, hard cover with dust jacket. The title tells it all. This book, written by the former editor of "Yachting Magazine," is a comprehensive treatment of yachts in America begining with the Salem-built CLEOPATRA'S BARGE in 1816 through such names as AMERICA and CORSAIR, ending with Ted Turner's America's Cup winnerCOURAGEOUS in 1977. Copiously illustrated. Mint condition. 69


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22.13  BAROMETER / ALTIMETER.  Large, extra nice late 19th century English gentleman's traveling barometer with the dual function of being an altimeter. This unusually large portable instrument is in the form of a pocket watch with bow and retains its bright brass finish.  The silvered brass dial is hand-engraved.  It is calibrated from 25.5 to 31 inches of barometric pressure, divided down to 2/100ths of an inch.  It is marked "Compensated" and "Made in England"   The outer rim of the dial is marked in "FEET" from 0 to 5,000 divided down to amazing 20 foot increments!  To set and record a reading the rim revolves.  This is provided with pinpoint accuracy by the extremely fine steel indicator needle which is little more than a hair's width in diameter!  This instrument is complete within its silk and satin-lined, hinged wooden case with Moroccan leather cover.  A small spring-loaded lever with brass button latch secures the case when closed.  3 ¼ inches in diameter and 1 ¼  inches thick.  The dial itself measures 2 ½  inches across.  Fully functional and accurate.  595



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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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