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2.62   IMPORTANT DIORAMA.  Spectacular 19th century shadowbox ship model of the noted steam/sail barquentine (aka barkentine) "ALEXANDRIA" as identified on her port bow and flown on the name pennant aft.  This extremely well-made diorama depicts the noble vessel underway with sails furled and its two stacks belching dark coal smoke and steam.  It flies the house flag from the foremast and its name pennant from the aftermast.   The vessel is precisely rigged with all standing and running rigging lines, full complement of deck equipment and passenger accommodations along the main deck.  The lookout on the foc'sle points the way as the helmsman on the bridge steers the course.  Realistically, on the bow a spray of cotton splashes as the stem cuts through the sea.  The paper sea is painted with waves trailing aft.  The fine ship qualities embodied in this presentation are incredibly detailed, certainly too innumerable to be completely listed here.  But beginning at the bow:  decorated stem, flying jib sail, foc'sle anchor davits,  hawse pipe, anchor windlass, 2 anchors, ventilator, foc'sle hatch, ship's bell, bitts, port and starboard lamps, more ventilators, forward hatch, scored wooden deck, snaking winch, foremast, 2 cranes, cargo hatch, 2 ladders, bridge, helmsman with ship's wheel, 2 E.O.T.s, binnacle, bridge railing, life rings, access ladder, 2 ventilators, steam whistle, 4 lifeboats in davits, two large smokestacks, 3 funnels, 2 ventilators, engineroom skylight, mainmast, 2 cranes, 2 more lifeboats in davits, aft hatch, accommodation ladder, ventilator, after mast, poop deck hatch, large funnel, Captain's cabin skylight, 2 bitts, aft binnacle, after steering… and much, much more.  There are more than 60 portholes represented.  Adding to its authenticity the midship's Plimsoll mark is painted on the boot topping.  All of these amazing details belie the beauty of the presentation.  This is a near scale model shown is a realistic sea environment, adding much more to its charm over a similar static dockyard model.   The scene is sealed under its original old wavy glass housed in an ornate gilded wooden frame.  The ship itself measures 28 ½ inches long and 11 ¼ inches high from the waterline to the main mast truck.  The case is 34 ½ inches long by 16 ½ inches high and 8 ½ inches deep.  It is in remarkable original, well-preserved condition for such an object over 150 years old!   Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

It is our studied assessment that this model was professionally made.  We have had at least 2 similar examples in the course of our 40 year tenure which depicted different ships having similar quality attributes and execution.  The particularly well-done rendering of the clouds and sky is attributed to highly regarded English marine painter Francis Hustwick,* suggesting this model was created in collaboration in a cottage industry catering to seamen.  This clientele, intimately familiar with their vessels, accepted nothing less than absolute accuracy.  Much akin to the port painters of the era who were commissioned by ships' officers and crewmen to paint their vessels in a realistic manner with details only a mariner could appreciate.  Although it has a pleasing folk art quality, this model displays a realism and precision far beyond that of an amateur.

The square-rigged British bark ALEXANDRIA was launched in Glasgow, Scotland in 1870 by the Pearce Shipyard.  She was built with auxiliary steam screw propulsion, cutting-edge for her time.  With a length of 300 ½ feet she displaced 1,057 tons.  Her registry number was 840 and her call sign was KBWP.   Owners at the time of launch were Henderson & Company.  ("Record of American and Foreign Shipping 1885," page 136).

* The fluffy cumulus cloud backdrop in his marine paintings were Francis Hustwick's trademark.  He was known to do such collaborations with model makers.  (Marine Art & Liverpool – A Postscript, A.S. Davidson and Anthony Tibbles, "Fifty Ship Paintings by Francis Hustwick," 1999, Jones Sands Publishing, Upton, England).


AFT Perspective
aft deck




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4.83  SCRIMSHAW SWIFT CLAMP.  Truly exceptional mid-19th century or earlier clamp made for a yarn winder known as a "swift."  This superb example of the whaleman's folk art is carved from a single piece of solid whale tooth with inlaid panels of rare sea tortoise on 11 sides.  The size of the tooth required to make this item was really phenomenal.  Including the reticulated thumb screw it measures 5 ¾ inches long by 2 inches wide and 1 7/8 inches thick!  Workmanship is of the highest order with multiple fine lines on the clamp and 4 cut-out hearts and a diamond on the screw.  The threaded ivory screw operates properly and the clever internal clamp end is made of hardwood for a secure nonslip fit.  The clamp will fit a mounting thickness of ½ to 5/8 inches thick.  The top of the clamp is threaded to receive the shaft of a swift.  This would make a valuable finishing touch to an existing swift needing a clamp. 979

Not available or for sale in California.  Shipped from Massachusetts.

clamp head

thumb screw

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12.81  EARLY BOATSWAIN's  CALL.  Genuine 19th century boatswain's whistle of classic form complete with original sailor-macraméd lanyard.   Known as a "pipe" or a "call" this nickel-silver whistle has a barrel cast in high relief with an anchor surmounted by a crown on both sides.  The keel is highly embellished with floral designs and holds a ring for attachment to its lanyard.  The dyed cotton lanyard is of has a very high quality with numerous complex sailor macraméd knots including a monkey's fist and 4 Turk's heads.  The whistle is exactly 4 inches long and is 7/8 inches wide on the barrel.  The lanyard measures 17 inches long.  Outstanding original condition in all respects.  This call emits a loud, shrill tone when blown324


The Call has its beginnings in the days of the English Crusades, 1248 A.D., as a method of alerting troops to arms. Documented in 1485 A.D., the call was used as an honored badge of rank, then being worn by the Lord High Admiral of England.  Undoubtedly it was worn because it was used as a method of passing orders, and therefore signified authority.  When the Lord High Admiral, Sir Edward Howard, was killed in action off Brest in 1513 while commanding French Galleys, a "Whistle of Honour" was presented to him posthumously by the Queen of France.  From about that time onward the call was no longer used as a badge of rank, reverting to its original use as a method of passing orders only.  About 1671 the name Call was well established, lasting to the present day.  In the U.S. Navy the call is often referred to as a Boatswain's Pipe.

crown anchor


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13.87  SHIP's BELL CLOCK.  The classic American-made bottom bell clock by the venerable Seth Thomas Company as signed under the center arbor "SETH THOMAS" and marked "Made In U.S.A." under the "6."  This handsome all brass ship's clock has a silvered brass dial with bold Arabic numerals and a minute chapter swept by blued steel spade hands.  The subsidiary seconds bit below the "12" shows single seconds marked by 10's.  Above the "12" is the Fast/Slow regulator. The "STRIKE" adjustment lever is next to the "9."  The flared brass bezel hinges on the right, opening on the left with a press fit.  Of great desirability is the unique exterior bottom bell which strikes the ship's bell every half hour with an amazingly loud, clear tone.  This clock has just been serviced by a professional watch and clock maker and is in tip top running condition, striking the ship's bells sequence properly.  7 inches in diameter, 10 ½ inches tall and 3 ½ inches deep.  Complete with period winding key. 789

In his landmark reference book "Military Timepieces,"  992, AWI Press, author Marvin Whitney discusses this clock on page 422.  "In the late 1920's Seth Thomas came out with their ship's bell model No. 7.  This 1-day, lever, count wheel striker was used in the "Monitor" model.  The height of the "Monitor" was 10 1/2 ", the same as that of their 1884-5 model but without a wooden backboard.  The count wheel ship's bell striking system prevailed in the industry for approximately 30 years."

Although officially described as a "1-day striking clock," this clock has been running in our possession for over 3 days on a single wind!



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4.67   SCRIMSHAW BODKIN.  Very nice, authentic late 19th century sewing punch known as a "bodkin" beautifully turned of solid whalebone,  This stout little implement made by a whaleman for his sweetheart has a bulbous head, with two concentric rings terminating in a gradually tapered cylindrical shaft with sharp tip.  This little example of genuine scrimshaw is in prefect original condition with a lustrous surface and a mellow creamy color.  3 3/8 inches long. 49

Not available or for sale in California.
  Shipped from Massachusetts.

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5.83/6.50   WWII U.S.N. FLARE PISTOL.  Authentic signaling pistol made for the U.S. Navy by the R. F. Sedgley Co. as marked on the top of the barrel "SIGNAL PISTOL MK 5 R. F. SEDGLEY INC. 1942."  It is further marked with an impressed "S" along with the serial number just forward of the trigger.  The blackened tapered steel barrel tilts forward from the body to receive the canister charge, locked into place by a spring-loaded button underneath.  Both sides of the Bakelite pistol grip handle have non-slip checkered patterns engraved with a diamond shape and a circle in the middle reading "USN."  It is equipped with a pivoting lanyard ring on the butt.  This 10 gauge flare gun measures 11 inches long, 5 ½ inches top to bottom and 1 ½ inches thick.  Virtually mint condition in all respects.  The action is tight and functional.  295

This compact and relatively light weight flare gun was the obvious choice of Navy fliers early in the War.




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12.41   COMMEMORATIVE SPOON.   Genuine turn-of-the-last century sterling silver spoon representing "CATALINA ISLD."  as hand-engraved in the bowl.  Under the inscription is also a hand-engraved scene of Avalon Harbor with a large yacht, sailboats and the pier in the bay.  Surrounding the shoreline is the town of Avalon, hills and the historic Wrigley House on the right of the scene.  The stem of the spoon is ornately decorated with floral designs, as is the back.  At the junction of the bowl and stem is embossed "STERLING" and "PAT. 1901."  Further, there are 3  fine raised maker's hallmarks including an anchor.  The spoon measures 5 3/8 inches long overall and the bowl is 1 1/8 inches wide.  Flawless, absolutely perfect original condition.  All surfaces are bright, clean and as crisp as the day they were made over 110 years ago! 149  


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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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