West Sea Company

New This Week:

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


1.73 EARLY 18th CENTURY ETCHING. Original, beautifully hand-colored etching by Francois Halma, dating circa 1706. It features a golden medallion depicting the Emperor Constantine flanked by two admiring puti. On either side are a woman in Roman dress and a helmeted warier with plumage and a spear. They are on either side of a grand battle scene entitled “IN HOC SIGNOVINCES.” Below are some thick bound volumes and a cartouche of a morbid figure. This images no doubt have some symbolic significance. At the lower left is the faint image appearing to be a conjoined “ID.” This etching is on early rag paper and bears the telltale plate mark on its edges. It measures 3 ½ x 5 inches sight. On the back is the certificate of authentication by ANTIUQUARIA SANT ANGELO of Rome, Italy. Condition is excellent. The colors are vibrant and the paper is perfect. Mounted is a simple acid free black mat measuring 7 ½ by 7 ½ inches. An amazing image over 300 years old! 99


Order Info



3.03 EARLY AMERICAN NAUTICAL COMPASS. Quite unusual maritime compass of especially small size produced by the short-lived American scientific and nautical instrument making firm of “FRYE & SHAW * NEW YORK*” as hand-engraved around the pivot of the compass card. This functional ship’s compass has a paper over mica drycard compass rose marked in single points of the compass with the cardinal and sub-cardinal pointes identified. North is designated by a classic fleur-de-lis. The brass pivot is of conical form reminiscent of compasses dating back to the 17th century! Also in keeping with tradition, the East point is embellished with yet another fleur-de-lis. The card is housed in its weighted brass bowl slung in gimbals mounted in its heavy brass cylindrical housing complete with the original press-fit knurled brass lid. The compass is very lively, accurate, and gimbals properly. The presentation measures 3 5/8 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick with the lid. Condition is absolutely outstanding and original, in all respects. Totally original. This is a sweetheart of an offering, worthy of any museum. Not particularly cheap, but worth every penny. Find another! 888

Adington D. Frye and Robert Ludlow Shaw formed a partnership which was listed in the New York City Directories as mathematical instrument makers at 222 Water Street in 1837 and 1838. The New York State Directory lists the firm in operation from 1840-1845. (Charles E. Smart, “The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700,” 1962, Regal Art Press, Troy, NY).

The decorated east point on the compass rose found its beginnings in the early Crusades as warriors battled their way East in search of the Cross. Early compasses were embellished with a cross on the east point reminding Crusaders of their goal. As time went on the cross gave way to a more secular embellishment, but the tradition of a “decorated” east point continued for centuries, finally falling out of favor with compass makers in the early 1800’s.



Order Info



5.05  U.S. COAST GUARD BAROMETER.  Very scarce, highly sought after World War II or earlier ship’s aneroid barometer made for the “United States Coast Guard” by “Taylor Rochester. NY” as marked on the bottom of the silvered brass dial.  It is calibrated in inches of mercury from 25.5 to 31.5 in 2/100th increments marked by tenths and showing the standard weather indications “RAIN, CHANGE, FAIR.”   It is further marked “Compensated” (for temperature).  The simple black indicator needle is overlaid by the brass set needle attached to a brass knurled knob running through the glass crystal.  The dial, with bright brass reflector ring, measures 4 ½ inches across.  The open face provides an interesting aspect of the high quality movement within.  A small aperture on the back is for adjusting the reading and a pivoting brass suspension ring is provided at the top of the case for hanging.  The solid brass case is in its highly polished bright bronze finish and measures 5 ¼ inches in diameter and is 2 3/8 inches thick.  Outstanding original condition in all respects and extremely accurate.  The quality of this instrument is superb, built to wartime standards, as necessitated by the rigors for which it was intended.  449


Order Info



9.54  TOOTH KEY.   Genuine 19th century dentist’s extraction tool.  This fearsome relic of antiquated medicine consists of a hand-forged iron shaft riveted into a lovely turned ivory handle.  The pivoting “key” at the bottom of the instrument allowed  the doctor (or more likely the barber) to firmly grasp the ailing tooth,  then twist it out with a quick rotation of the handle!  Painful but practical, this was the state-of-the art in the mid 1800’s.  5 ¾ inches long and 3 ½ inches wide on the handle.  Excellent original condition showing good age and use but no abuse.  A  medical rarity!  495


Order Info



15.41 PHOTOGRAPH. Late 19th century silver process photograph identified as the "Bark Levi G. Burgess J. Younger, Master" as hand written across the bottom. This period image shows the Burgess alongside the wharf. An old fashioned steam "donkey engine" can be seen to the left, and in the background the roof of one of the buildings reads "...RSON BUILDER." This image shows good detail under magnification and the vessel name can clearly be seen on the port bow.  The image measures is in perfect condition and 7 by 9 inches sight.  It is mounted on it original card (rough edges) with the additional notation on the back, "Built Thomaston (Maine) 1877."  A really handsome antique photograph of an American windjammer, perfect for framing.149

 This original photograph shows the LEVI G. BURGESS docked in San Francisco sometime between 1897-1900. Built as a full rigged ship by Samuel Watts at Thomaston, Maine, she was launched on Oct. 6th 1877. The LEVI G. BURGESS was named after the son of Captain Joseph S. Burgess of the famous shipping firm "Snow & Burgess" N.Y., who were part owners. She was a good carrier and made several fast passages "'round Cape Horn."  Sold in San Francisco in 1887, she became a well known Pacific coast and "Offshore Trades" vessel. Re-rigged as a bark in 1897 (as shown in this photo) she did splendid service up until 1910 when she was sold to Alaska Portland Packers Association. Thereafter she operated as a salmon fisheries packer until 1928 when she was broken up and burned for her metal.

Order Info


3.16/19.87 YACHT TAFFRAIL LOG. An amazing find! Late 19th century American patent log for small vessels made by the venerable nautical firm of Negus, New York. What is particularly remarkable about this set is its mint, UNUSED condition in the original box with instructions! The lovely instrument has a porcelain dial within its glazed brass housing. The dial is signed“ NEGUS PATENT LOG” and is calibrated on the periphery from 0 – 50 miles in one mile increments, marked by 5’s. The subsidiary dial at the bottom indicates tenths of miles. The log itself is equipped with a large brass bail handle and terminates in a free wheeling governor to which the log line and lead are attached. The “fish” (rotator) is solid brass and is marked “NEGUS M.” It is attached to approximately 10 fathoms of original cotton line. All of this is contained within the original cardboard box with interior “Directions” in the lid and outer decorative label reading “NEGUS PATENT LOG.” It is complete with its rarely-found separate instruction sheet entitled “HOW TO USE.” The box measures 10 inches long by 3 5/8 inches wide and 3 ¾ inches high. Condition of the contents is superb – factory new. The box shows signs of normal wear expected of an object over 100 years old. 595




Order Info


 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.







Order Info

Back to Top