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5.23 RARE PHOTOGRAPH GROUPING. Historically important group of 6 original black and white and sepia tone photographs of America’s first and arguably most famous aircraft carrier the USS LANGLEY (CV-1 and AV-3). These photographs show her in both capacities as an aircraft carrier and her later conversion into a seaplane tender. Two of the photographs are identified on the front as “USS Langley” and a third is signed “Browne.” The largest image measures 8 by 10 inches and the smallest 2 ¾ by 3 ¾ inches. All are in very good condition with only minor edge wear. Museum quality. Shipped FREE in the U.S. 249

USS LANGLEY (CV-1/AV-3) was the first aircraft carrier in the United States Navy. After notable service as the coal carrier USS JUPITER (AC-3) in the Atlantic during World War I, she was converted to an aircraft carrier in 1920. This was an epic shift in global naval strategy at the time. Not only did it usher in naval aviation, but it marked the transition from the outdated coal burning fleet to oil. LANGLEY was the namesake of Samuel Pierpont Langley, an American aviation pioneer. In a twist of fate, she would later be accompanied by two sister carriers. While she was being converted, the Washington Naval Treaty required two partially completed battle cruisers to be cancelled. But ironically these were then to become the legendary LEXINGTON and SARATOGA of World War II fame!

Immediately following World War I LANGLEY served in the Atlantic, with brief periods in the Pacific. In 1927 she was assigned full time to the Pacific Battle Fleet. By 1936 it was apparent that LANGLEY’s bi-planes were becoming obsolete. In October of that year she entered Mare Island Naval Yard for conversion into a seaplane tender.

It was in this capacity that LANGLEY entered World War II in the Pacific. On the Day of Infamy, she was anchored in the Philippines. LANGLEY was ordered to pick-up and transport Allied aircraft from Freemantle, Australia to embattled forces in Southeast Asia. While in pursuit of that mission on February 27, 1942 she was attacked by nine twin-engine Japanese “Betty” bombers. The attack so badly damaged her that the order to abandon ship was given. Later that day she was scuttled by her escorts using deck guns and 2 torpedoes. Her loss was the first major United States ship to be sunk since Pearl Harbor 2 months earlier. It was an event which would later be seen as America’s darkest hour of the war.

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7.37 REFERENCE BOOK, “THE PIRATES.” Douglas Botting, 1978, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia. Hard faux leather cover, 189 pages exclusive of index. Richly illustrated in color and in black and white with paintings, documents, line drawings and diagrams. One in the fabulous series of books published on nautical topics by Time-Life in the 1970’s. The publishers spared no expense in finding the most knowledgeable experts in the world to author books in their fields of expertise and then gathered source material from the 4 corners of the globe. In today’s electronic age, such a venture would be prohibitively expensive. Beginning in the Middle Ages and running through the 19th century this book chronicles piracy on the high seas and the colorful characters that wrought havoc on merchant trade for centuries. Many wonderful “insider” anecdotes are presented as the personalities of the most infamous pirates come alive. Among them Henry Avery, Edward Teach and the most notable of them all Blackbeard! Fascinating reading. A real pirate book! Outstanding original condition. 59

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13.32  IMPORTANT CHRONOMETER.  Most desirable 2-day marine chronometer by one of England’s finest and most revered horologists.  This is John Edward Dent marine chronometer number 1590 as signed on the silvered brass dial “DENT LONDON 82 Strand No. 1590” and again on the porcelainized nameplate on the front of the box, “DENT 1590.”  The immaculate dial, unusually large for this type of configuration, features bold Roman numerals and a minute chapter swept by delicate blued steel hands.  The subsidiary second bit is below XII and indicates 0 – 56 hours with the unusual additional markings of “UP, WIND, 2 DAYS, and DOWN.”  It is protected by the early form domed glass crystal with thin brass bezel. The movement is housed in its gimbaled brass bowl with locking lever at the left rear and original ratcheted winding key, twice marked “1590,” on the right.  The magnificent all brass movement is a thing of beauty, with decoratively-spotted shiny brass plates, turned brass pillars, large bi-metallic balance with early form pie-shaped segmental timing weights, blued steel helical hairspring, diamond end stone in the balance cock, highly blued steel parts, spring détente escapement, and of course a chain drive fusee.  The inside of the bowl is stamped “DENT” and “1590.”  The exterior bottom of the bowl exhibits a very unique dust cover over the winding arbor.  It consists of a spring-loaded lever with cap covering the aperture.  This is a much more complex feature over the typical rotating disc found on virtually all other chronometers.  The simple crotch grain African mahogany box is indicative of early 1800’s chronometers.  It has folding drop handles on each side and an inlaid brass key escutcheon in addition to the previously mentioned maker’s plaque.  This extremely rare navigational timepiece measures a diminutive 6 ¼ inches cubed.  The unusually large dial measures 4 inches in diameter.  Absolutely outstanding condition in all respects.  It is a strong runner and is virtually perfect cosmetically.  Circa 1842.  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

Edward John Dent (1790-1853) was certainly one of the preeminent English horologers in the first half of the 1800’s.  During his very productive life he set up a large number of factories and workshops turning out his inventions and products.  According to Tony Mercer in “Chronometer Makers of the World,” Dent began his business career in 1814 at 64 the Strand and 28 Cockspur Street in London.  He moved to 84 the Strand in 1840.   In 1828 his chronometer No. 114 won the Premium Trails at Greenwich.  This fact caught the eye of pioneer chronometer maker John Roger Arnold who took Dent in as a partner in 1830.  The chronometer making partnership lasted 10 years.  Following their partnership Dent moved to 84 the Strand in 1840.  A number of Dent’s chronometers accompanied famous expeditions to both Polar regions and the tropics.   No. 1800 accompanied David Livingston during his African explorations.  In 1841 Dent was granted the Royal Warrant as “Chronometer Maker to the Queen and the Prince of Wales.“   Among his achievements beyond chronometer making, Dent was the maker of the famous “Big Ben” Parliamentary tower clock in London.  He designed and produced a very early form of aneroid barometer (without liquid) which revolutionized barometers at sea.  He also invented and produced his patented depleioscope which used the sun’s rays to determine local apparent noon for the purpose of accurately setting of watches.

In his monumental biography of E. J. Dent, Vaudrey Mercer, author of “Edward John Dent and His Successors,” 1977, The Antiquarian Horological Society, Church Hill, Ramsgate, England  indicates Dent Marine Chronometer No. 1581 as dating 1841.  Then bracketing Dent Marine Chronometer No. 1600 is dated at 1842.




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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.  127 years old! Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

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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