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1.71   AMERICAN WHALESHIP  ETCHING.   Charles J. A. Wilson, American (1880-1965), detailed rendering of the 3-masted whaleship “MILTON” towing out under a dawn sky.  This precise etching is pencil titled lower left in the artist’s own hand “MILTON” and is pencil signed lower right “CJA Wilson” with his monogram just above.  The full-rigged ship is seen in the placid harbor with crewmen aloft on the fore and main mast upper yards unfurling sail ready for sea.  This detailed work clearly shows the helmsman and Captain aft at the wheel while crewmen are busy near the capstan and two more men are on the bowsprit unfurling the jib.  Four of the ship’s whaleboats can also be seen in their davits.  The little tug is precisely-executed, clearly showing a lifeboat, lights on the mast and smoke issuing from the funnel.  In essence, its presentation is a silhouette.  This etching is done on high quality rag paper and the impression measures 4 x 5 ¼  by 6 inches sight with an overall dimension of 6 ½  by 8 ½  inches.  Perfect original condition.  295

Charles J. A. Wilson, Scottish-American (1880-1965) was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1880.  At age one his family immigrated to Duluth, Minnesota.   As a teenager, Wilson moved to Newton, Massachusetts where he began his self-taught career as a painter of ships in Boston Harbor.  Early in the 20th century he was employed by Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding Company etching ship portraits from blueprints.  During the Second World War he served with the United States Coast Guard in the Boston area, again putting his artistic talents to use for the War effort.  His works are exhibited in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Currier Gallery, Lyman Allyn Museum, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London Connecticut and the Library of Congress.

The venerable whaleship MILTON was a full-rigged ship displacing 373 tons. She made her first whaling voyage from New Bedford beginning in 1832 and ended her long career when she returned for the final time in 1876.



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4.49  WHALING INSURANCE CONTRACT.   Original official whaling document detailing the terms of “Catchings on board Ship “JULIAN” as produced by the Commercial Mutual Marine Insurance Company of New Bedford filled in with cursive manuscript.  It is dated the Twelfth day of January one thousand eight hundred and fifty six and signed C. R. Tucker, President.  It is made out to Wm. Hathaway for the account of Mathew Luce’s Estate.  The valuation of the cargo was $1.80 for Sperm Oil, .80 for Whale Oil and .50 for Whale bone and expired Oct. 17th, 1858.  The premium for the policy was $241.00.  Complete with hard marbled covers with pigskin binding.  The front is embossed in gold “SHIPPING LIST. --- WHALING INS’ CO.”  The policy is printed on large blue paper stock measuring 11 by 18 inches, folded into sixths.  The covers measure 8 by 12 inches.  A unique window into American whaling in it golden age.  Priced to sell.  79

An auction excerpt accompanies this document indicating a presale estimate of $200-300. A pencilled notation indicates the owner paid "125."


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5.08  LIFESAVING SCENES.  1850 or earlier artistic depictions of various lifesaving scenes and apparatus contemporaneous to the period.  A total of 11 vignettes very precisely depict the various aspects, each captioned below the image.  It is entitled “APPARATUS FOR SAVING LIFE IN CASE OF SHIPWRECK.”  The end of the page is marked “LIFE SAVING PLATE CVI” and was produced by “Blackie & Son London. Glasgow & Edinburgh."   These engravings are of superb quality with the finest detail, bearing scrutiny under magnification printed on high quality stock.  6 ½ by 9 ¾ inches.  Outstanding original condition.  Very rare and highly desirable subject matter depicting the infancy of lifesaving techniques.   Perfect for framing.  59


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5.07  NAVY TRAINING DEVICE.   Unique hand-held device used to train signalmen in the art of communicating via flashing light.  This clever item is made of square, blackened cardboard the face of which looks like a flashing light as used on the flying bridge of U.S. Naval vessels during World War II.  Pressing down on the top moves the inside to a white position simulating the emission of light!  The back is marked “INTERNATIONAL MORSE CODE (Time of Dash Equals Three Dots)” and shows the alphabet and numbers.  The bottom is marked Bureau of Personal – Training Aids NAV PERS 40.038 Patent Pending.”   It measures 2 5/8 inches square and is in near perfect condition for an object of its type 75 years old.  59

Despite being a cumbersome, slow means of communicating in light of today’s world-wide instant messaging, the flashing light was an effective war time communications tool especially between ships steaming in formation.  Its advantages were that it could only be used line-of-sight, limiting its range to close in friendlies.  In addition it could not be intercepted electronically and left no telltale “signature.”


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7.29   SIGNING ON PAPERS.  Impressive large format “Articles” for the American “Brig Duncan of Warren (Me), now bound from the Port of NEW YORK,” as boldly noted in script near the top of the page.  At the top of this large official document is an engraving of an American ship under full sail flanked by the large words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”  Below are the legal terms of the document including the statements “No Sheath Knives or Profane Language Allowed on Board.  No Grog Allowed.”  Below are the names of 7 seamen, their ages (all in their 20’s), heights and expected wages.  At the bottom is the bold cursive signature of the Custom House New York Collectors Office dated May 11th 1846, signed accordingly.  The reverse of this huge pre-printed document bears the engraved image of a patriotic American eagle and again the bold title “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”  Below it are the Acts of Congress in behalf of Seamen, Merchants & c.  The top corner is penned “Duncan Copy.”  This large shipping paper measures 17 by 21 inches.  It is on heavy, quality rag paper with a faint bluish tinge.  It is folded in quarters but at one time was folded to legal letter size.  The paper is in excellent original condition with no rips, tears, losses or repairs.  It is stained in several places most notably at the bottom.  But the affected area is very sound and is no worse for wear.  195


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12.37   SAILOR’s VALENTINE.   Early, very impressive, large double sailor’s shellwork valentine of the type produced in the Caribbean from the mid-1800’s onward.  This example dates to the earliest production of these sailors’ mementoes as evidenced by the fact that it has a key lock -- a feature found only on the oldest, higher quality surviving examples.  It is of classic diptych construction  having two octagons hinged in the center.  The cases are made of Spanish cedar having glazed covers of original old wavy glass protecting the fragile shells within.  The geometric patterns so-formed are remarkably complex and extremely colorful.  The left panel (also known as a “flat”) has a 6-side star with a central rosette.  In keeping with the fact that this sailor memento was  a souvenir for a loved one, the central theme of the right flat is a large heart encircled by 3 rosettes.  Each flat measures 13 ¾ inches across with a combined overall width of 27 3/8 inches.  Condition is absolutely outstanding, untouched, original.  As bright and vibrant as it was made over 150 years ago!   Museum-quality.  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top


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