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3.51   ROYAL NAVY AZIMUTH COMPASS.  Late 18th or very, very early 19th century ship’s azimuth compass made for the British Admiralty.  This impressive instrument has a hand-engraved paper drycard with an agate pivot.  The North point is designated by an elaborate fleur-de-lis surmounting a crown.  The cardinal and intercardinal points of the compass are indicated.  The periphery of the compass card has two scales.  The inner scale is marked in points down to ¼ points (2.81 degrees), and the outer scale is marked in degrees by ½ degree marked by 10’s.  The all brass compass body is in its original lacquer and bears the hand-engraved inscription of “68↑.”   The azimuth compass was used as a navigational device to ascertain “local apparent noon” to determine the ship’s latitude.  To these ends this instrument has a folding black glass reflector attached to a vane with sighting hair.  On the opposite side of the compass is a prism which views the compass reading and the sighting simultaneously. Since the sights are taken directly on the sun, two small folding filter shades are provided.  When the instrument is not in use, folding the sight vane down locks the compass card in place and the protective brass cover fits on top.  On the bottom is a mounting bracket with thumbscrew for attachment to the ship.  The instrument is 5 ¾ inches in diameter and 2 ¾ inches thick inclusive of the mount.  Condition is exceptional for such an instrument over 200 years old!  The compass card is lively and accurate.  All optics are perfect.  Truly museum-quality.  Price Request

M.V. Brewington in “The Peabody Museum Collection of Navigating Instruments,” 1963, Peabody Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, identifies an azimuth compass in the museum’s collection as, “Russian, 1809, glazed top 7 ½ inch diameter.  The rim at the top has fittings for the aledaide (brass) with a slit sight at one end and a vertical cross hair at the other.  Engraved 128 point dry card.  The edge is divided quadrantially by degrees.”  


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5.76/13.74  PRE-WAR U.S. COAST GUARD CLOCK.  Rare, extremely handsome deck clock made for the “U.S COAST GUARD” as marked above the center arbor on the blackened dial, made by the venerable Seth Thomas Company as indicated below the 6 “ MADE BY SETH THOMAS IN U.S.A.”   The dial has bold Arabic numerals and a minute chapter ring swept by white spade hands.  A large subsidiary seconds bit is above the 6 indicating single seconds marked by 10’s.  The classic solid brass ship’s clock case with flared screw-on bezel is extremely heavy.  The protective glass crystal is held in by its original wire retainer.  The large, rectangular movement is Seth Thomas’ high quality 7 jewel model 117 with lever escapement and bi-metallic balance running for 8 days on a single wind.  The beautiful movement with decorated balance cock is marked “MADE IN U.S.A. (<ST>) Seth Thomas Thomaston, Conn 36-6,” indicating a date June of 1936, mare than 5 years before American’s entry into WWII.  This remarkable relic measures 7 ½ inches in diameter and 2 ½ inches thick and is surprisingly heavy.  An outstanding timekeeper.  Complete with original winding key.   For Coast Guard and Lighthouse collectors it doesn’t get any better than this!  895



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12.69  MATE’s ROPE GAUGE.  Very scarce late 1800’s or very early 1900’s hand-held device used by the ship’s cargo officer to determine the size and breaking strengths of line and cable used aboard his ship.  This precision instrument is made of boxwood and brass, incised with a multitude of information about every conceivable type of connective lines, ropes and wires in general service.  They include “SHROUD TAR’D HEMP COILS, LAID MANILLA COILS, HAWSER TARED HEMP COILS9 of MB, CHAIN WT PER FAM (Fathom), EQL TO HEMP ROPE and WIRE.”   On the reverse are indications for various weights and lengths of the material.  They read, “WIRE CIRCUMFERENCE, ROPE Wt PER FAM (Fathom), HEMP SIZE, and ROPE Wt PER FAM ((Fathom).  This device is essentially a caliper which indicates diameter and circumferences of the objects measured and then provides a readout of safe working loads in tons.  A very accurate scientific instrument with a nautical purpose.  4 ¾ inches long by 2 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick.  It expands to provide a measurable reading of 9 inches.  Outstanding original condition.   This is a keeper! SOLD


21.23   EARLY SEA CAPTAIN’s SPYGLASS.  Very nice early 1800’s ship’s 3-draw telescope signed by the maker “BARTON STRAND LONDON” on the draw tube.  This classic telescope is made of brass tubes with the main barrel covered in its original leather.  Speaking to it early manufacture it has both the objective and eyepiece dust cover which slide across their fields with spring tensioners to maintain them in place.  It is unusual for a telescope of this age to have both slides still in place and functional.  11 ½  inches closed and 34  inches fully extended.  The internal optics are all original and in perfect original condition.  The two piece achromatic objective lens is an antique replacement which provides a very clear, highly magnified, upright image, but in its working position, the telescope extends to only 18 inches.  Excellent cosmetic condition throughout.  The brass surfaces have not been polished except around the maker’s name to enhance the signature.  Was $995 NOW!  295

The English optician John Barton II is listed as having worked from 1829-1835.  (Gloria Clifton, “Dictionary of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851,” 1995, The National Maritime Museum, Philip Wilson Publishers, London.)




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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.  295 Special PackagingBack to Top


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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.

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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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