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

2.85/4.29  PLANK-ON-FRAME MODEL.  Charming, sailor-made near scale model of an American whaleboat from the 19th century.  This entirely scratch-built model is realistically molded using indigenous wood for frames and planking, and mahogany for the keel, cap rails and rudder.  The rudder is realistically mounted using post and pintel attachments.  Oarlock holders, cleat, tiller, logger head and chocks are similarly constructed.   The model is complete with 4 very realistic oars.   It also has a working brass hinge for attachment to a retractable sailing mast.  The model is mounted in its original form-fitting hardwood stand.  The model measures 12 ¼ inches from stem to back of the rudder.  It has a beam of 3 ¼ inches and is 3 ¼ inches tall to the top of the tiller.  Excellent original condition retaining its original varnished finish.   875




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4.81 /11.64   SAILOR's SCRIMSHAW BLACKJACK.  Very rare early 1800's going ashore weapon made and used by an American sailor for his personal protection.  Known by a variety of terms including "cosh, cudgel, trunchyeon and bludgeon" this very handsome rope-laid device has two "working ends" consisting of lead-weighted knobs meticulously macraméd in tight Spanish hitching  on each end of the surprisingly flexible whale baleen shaft!  12 ½ inches long by 1 ¼  inches thick on the knobs and the baleen shaft is ½ inch thick.  A great sailor-made object with a huge amount of intrigue behind it!   Price Request

During the 18th and 19th centuries a sailor literally took his life in his hands when going ashore in a foreign port.  Press gangs, "land sharks" and thieves lay waiting in every alley and dark corner to take advantage of an unsuspecting or inebriated victim.  With pointed knives and guns prohibited aboard ship, it came down to the seasoned sailor to equip himself with an acceptable means of self defense.  This most often evidenced itself in the form of a sailor's black jack -- also known as a "come along," head knocker, press-gang tool or "cosh."  The owner/maker took great pride in this personal protective tool, lavishing great care and skill in its construction.  Here is a wonderful whaling-related example in amazingly well preserved condition.

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

baleen end


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9.97/13.91  BUTTERFIELD SUN DIAL.  An astounding offering!  This is a late 16th or very early 17th century cased pocket sun dial of the type known as a Butterfield dial, invented by Britisher turned Frenchman Michael Butterfield circa 1690.  This stunning surviving example is all brass made by "LeMaire Fils, Paris" as beautifully-engraved just below the compass.  The very early form compass needle rides over the engraved compass rose indicating the cardinal and intercardinal points of the compass marked N, S, and O, with the north point indicated by a fleur-de-lis.  The dial is constructed with a hinged gnomon, the angle of which can be adjusted for latitude as indicated by the beak of a bird on a scale reading from 40 to 60 divided in single degree increments.  The upright gnomon is spring-loaded and will lie flat on the body of dial on either side. The dial plate has 3 beautifully-engraved chapter rings for latitudes of 43, 46, 49, and on the extreme periphery 52 degrees, these encompassing the area between Gibraltar and the Shetland Islands.  The time indications in whole hours are marked in Roman numerals from 4 A.M. to 8 P.M. divided by 15 minute increments.   The reverse of the dial is engraved with at least 23 latitudes of prominent European cities of the time.  Incredibly this superb instrument comes in its original felt-lined wooden case with its durable fish skin cover,  all of which are in a remarkable original state of near pristine  preservation!  The octagonal dial measures 3 ¼ inches long by 2 5/8 inches wide, fitting neatly in its case measuring 3 ½ inches long by 3 inches wide.  The hinged lid of the case closes with a button latch, further secured by 2 hook and eye closures.  A remarkable scientific instrument in unheard of original condition over 300 years old!  Museum quality of the first order.Price Request

An identical dial signed "Le Maire Fils A Paris" and dated 1740 is shown on page 146 of Harriet Wynter's and Anthony Turner's landmark reference work "Scientific Instruments," 1975,  Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.  That dial is missing its original case.

Michael Butterfield (1635 - 1724) was a British clockmaker who moved to Paris around 1663.  He worked at the royal court and was appointed chief engineer to King Louis XIV.  He opened a shop selling precision instruments at Rue Neuve-des-Fossés, Saint Germain in 1677.   He sold all forms of sundials.  But his most popular was the small travelling dial with the adjustable gnomon having a bird motif and three chapter rings.  Fashionably it became known as the Butterfield dial.  The basic design of this dial was known prior to Butterfield's design.  But his was quickly embraced and manufactured by other instrument makers in Paris and beyond.  Among Butterfield's famous clients was the Russian Czar Peter the Great, who visited his shop in 1717 and ordered a great quantity of gilt copper dials.




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18.92 EARLY E.O.T. SIDELIGHTS.  Very, very scarce matched pair of 19th century oil lamps used to illuminate an early steamship’s bridge engine order telegraph.  These all brass lamps are hand-made and contain their early fonts and burners.  One is a whale oil type from the 1860’s and the other with wick advance knob is marked “Miller, U.S.A.”  The lamps are otherwise identical with a curved shape to fit on the telegraph and even curved glass!  The tops have charming hemispherical chimneys and the sides have a hinged door with press fit locking latch.  The bodies of the lamps themselves measure 8 5/8 inches.  The curved mounting plates are 7 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches wide.  Outstanding original condition with a fantastic original age patina exemplary of their 150 years.  389 /pair




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16.66  EARLY CORK SCREW.  Very old, wine cork screw of French manufacture.  This oenophilic tool has a sculpted bone handle with a tufted bristle brush on one side and a turned bone cap on the other.  The working end is a cast iron cork screw with radiating circular top, the entire assembly of which is rove through the bone, held by a very old style circular nut.  The width of the bone handle is 3 ¾ inches.  With brush is measures 4 ¾ inches wide and 4 inches to the tip of the corkscrew to the top of the handle.  Overall condition is excellent, however the tip of the screw was broken off by an enthusiastic wine bibber.  Priced accordingly.  149

ex. Paul Madden Antiques, Sandwich, Massachusetts. 

handle detail

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8.68/19.89 YACHT WHEEL WITH IDENTIFIED MAKER. Very handsome turn-of-the-last century steering wheel from a major yacht. This classic 6 spoke helm bears the inlaid brass maker's plate reading "American Engineering Company, Phila. PA." It is beautifully constructed with a hefty laminated rim consisting of teak inlaid with two concentric rings of a lighter blonde wood, either birch or maple, interrupted at the each spoke with inlays of mahogany. The spokes and spindles are of nicely turned oak. The hub is of heavy solid brass with a key way corresponding to the king spoke identified by the maker's label. This substantial ship's wheel measures 41 inches from spoke to spoke, 31 inches across the outer rim and weighs a hefty 24 pounds. Excellent condition with the original old finish, showing goods signs of use at sea, but no abuse. Price RequestSpecial Packaging


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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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