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3.38   RARE SURVEYING SEXTANT.  Most important, very high quality marine navigational sextant which also served as an astronomical and hydrographic survey instrument.  This magnificent all brass precision instrument is signed on the large arc “Cary, London 2842 Gold & Platina.”  The large arc is calibrated in single degrees from -5 to 150 degrees divided by 10 arc minutes, effectively making it a quintant.  The scale is beautifully engraved on solid gold overridden by a platinum vernier scale.  The division of the vernier from 0 -10 allows for a reading to an accuracy of 10 arc seconds.  Interestingly the sheet brass frame is very similar to the one invented by Edward Troughton in the 1780’s, in that it is secured to a second frame by screws for rigidity and accuracy. This amazing instrument has many unusual cutting edge features.  The index arm stop and the fine adjust tangent screw are spring loaded, allowing a much smoother reading.  To take the reading there is a small adjustable magnifier built into the index arm, as well as a small frosted glass window mounted just above the magnifier to provide maximum lighting for the reading.  Above the magnifier, mounted to the index arm, is a bubble level which can be locked into place or allowed to swing free indicating the plane of the earth, also known as an artificial horizon.  This sextant is equipped with its full set of 4 colored glass index filers and 3 horizon filters for viewing in different atmospheric conditions.  Both the index and horizon mirrors are in place and functional.  Attesting to Cary’s attention to minute detail, both are equipped with pin-adjusted screws which are covered by threaded knurled caps!  This sextant has an adjustable height eyepiece operated  by a knurled knob on the reverse.  The eyepiece supports a long telescopic sighting tube which fits nicely into the holder with a bayonet twist.  The back side of the sextant frame has 3 brass “feet” and a rosewood handle reinforced with brass.  But there its commonality with other fine sextants is surpassed.  It is mounted, through its handle to an exceptionally heavy and well-machined tripodal stand.  The stand is signed “G. LEE & SON, THE HARD, PORTSMOUTH.”  It is equipped with 3 knurled leveling screws on a folding base mounted with a support much like a library telescope.  At the top is a revolving platform with a tangent locking screw and fine adjust stop.  These are for precisely orientating the instrument to the heavens.  The tilt of the sextant fore and aft is accomplished by 2 pivoting levers attached to the stand.  Each is attached to a brass-encased lead counterweight.   The action is flawless!  The sextant itself measures 10 ¾ inches wide on the large arc and 10 ½ inches on the index arm.  It stands 18 inches high and 10 ¼ inches wide on the base.  Circa 1820.  Absolutely outstanding condition.   As rare as it gets.  Museum quality.  Price Request

The Cary name was highly revered in the late 18th and early 19th century scientific community in England.  William Cary began business as an optician and nautical instrument maker on the Strand, London in 1789.  He partnered with John Cary (I) in 1791.  John Cary (II) was William’s nephew who partnered with George Cary to form the famous globe making firm. William died in 1825.

George Lee was a maker in the early 19th century who enjoyed a Royal appointment as maker to the Crown.




stand maker

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5.64/22.39  U.S. COAST GUARD  BULKHEAD BAROMETER.  Extremely scarce, very highly sought after World War II or earlier ship’s aneroid barometer made for the “United States Coast Guard” by “Taylor Rochester. NY” as boldly marked on the face of the silvered brass dial “U.S. COAST GUARD.”  This precision weather instrument is calibrated in atmospheric pressure indicating inches of mercury from 25.5 to 31.5 in 2/100th increments marked by tenths and showing the standard weather indications “RAIN, CHANGE, FAIR.”   It is further marked “Compensated” (for temperature).  The black arrow-like indicator needle is overlaid by the brass set needle attached to a knurled brass knob running through the glass crystal.  The dial, with silvered brass reflector ring, measures 4 ½ inches in diameter.  The open face provides an interesting view of the perfect high quality movement within.  Most such barometers had a spun brass case with a suspension ring at the top for hanging.  But this exceptional example has a heavy solid brass flanged case, indicating it was hard-mounted to the bulkhead in the pilot house or chart room of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.  The case is in its original bright brass finish and measures 6 3/4 inches on the flange by 2 3/8 inches thick.  The flange has three holes for mounting.  A small aperture on the back is provided for adjusting the reading.  Outstanding original condition in all respects and extremely accurate.  The quality of this instrument is superb, built to wartime standards, as necessitated by the rigors for which it was intended.  595



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13.60  EARLY 8-DAY CHRONOMETER by FAMOUS MAKER.   Without question, one of the finest chronometers offered for sale in the world today.  This impressive marine timekeeper was made by “A. Johannsen 147 Minories London” as beautifully engraved in fancy script.  The large silvered brass dial has bold Roman numerals and a minute chapter.  The oversized subsidiary seconds bit is over the VI indicating single seconds marked by 10’s.  Within, it bears the mark “No.  1040.”  At the top, under the XII, the ~UP~ DOWN winding indicator is marked  0 to 8 and reads “WIND” at the 7 sector.  The dial is swept by magnificent solid gold spade hands.  The circumference has a silvered reflector ring protected by a thick beveled glass crystal.  It is set in a knurled brass bezel.  Unscrewing the bezel reveals the massive movement within.  It has decoratively engine-turned plates, a large bi-metallic balance with timing weights, blued steel helical hairspring, diamond end stone, spring détente escapement, and of course a chain drive fusee.   Interestingly the balance is protected by a crescent-shaped shield which would prevent this delicate and complicated piece of machinery from being damaged should the chain let go.  The movement is housed in its beautiful bright brass bowl slung in gimbals and mounted within its large brass-bound solid rosewood box.  The bottom of the bowl contains a spring-loaded winding dust cover.   The classic oversized 3-tier box contains the pivoting gimbal lock on the right front and the original ratcheted chronometer winding key on the rear bottom tier.  It is complete with brass skeleton lock and inlaid ivory number disc engraved with the matching serial number “1040.”  The middle tier is glazed on top and bears the inlaid ivory marker’s disc on the front engraved “A. Johannsen  LONDON.”   A star burst escutcheon encircles a button latch which engages the solid rosewood lid with brass inlay.  Both upper tiers are fitted with lid stops.  The sides of the lower box have stout folding brass drop handles for carrying.  The chronometer itself measures 5 ¾ inches in diameter.  The box is 8 by 8 inches and is 8 ½ inches tall.  Excellent original condition throughout and an excellent timekeeper. Price Request Special Packaging

Asmus Johannsen was considered an elite English maker in the mid-19th century.   He moved to his 149 Minories address in 1865.  Born in Denmark, he was chronometer maker to the Royal Navies of Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the Imperial Navies of Austria and China.  He constantly figured in the Greenwich trials and was awarded two First Places.  Tony Mercer, author of “Chronometer Makers of the World,” speaks of him, “A great maker, supplying many ‘makers’ with movements.”  Mr. Mercer provides a Johansen number time line starting with number 1867 which dates 1870.  Clearly this chronometer is much earlier.






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4.56/20.01  SCRIMSHAW CANE.   Excellent mid-19th century whaleman’s cane comprised of a beautifully-carved ivory knob with a stout whalebone shaft.  This talented scrimshander’s folk art walking stick has a knob in the form of an anatomically perfect fist holding a ball.  The fist, with early style ruffled cuff, is carved as nicely as we have ever seen, exhibiting detail between the fingers, fingernails and even veins in the back of the hand!  The knob is joined to its shaft with a baleen separator.  The shaft gradually tapers to a tip.  This stick measures 34 5/8 inches long and is 1 1/8 inches wide on the fist.  The whalebone shaft is just shy of 1 inch in diameter at the top, tapering to 3/8 inch at the tip.  Outstanding original condition in all respects having a light age patina.  This is a great cane!  1795



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15.78  EARLY SUBMARINES PHOTO.   Important, historic bird’s eye view photograph of the United State Navy's fledgling submarine base at the Panama Canal just after the First World War. This documentary sepia tone photograph on heavy card photographic paper depicts four large submarine tenders with submarines nested alongside. At least 13 submarines are seen in their berths with yet another clearly visible underway lower left. It is a high resolution image which bears close scrutiny under magnification, revealing details of the ships, the subs, a lighthouse in the distance and the masts and funnel of a ship at dock in the foreground.  It is signed "PHOTO © BY A. E. WELLS" lower left. This original print measures 7 by 9 inches sight and 8 by 10 inches overall, housed in its original gilt walnut frame measuring 12 by 14 inches.  Outstanding original condition.  Clear and bright.  A rare, historically important image documenting America's submarine service during its infancy!  295

This exact photograph is shown at:  http://www.tendertale.com/ttd/ttd4/ttd4.html  the U.S. Navy’s unofficial website for submarine tenders.  It is entitled, “Photo # NH 42573 Submarines and submarine tenders at Cristobal Canal Zone, circa 1923.”  The tenders are (left to right): SAVANNAH (AS-8), BUSHNELL (AS-2), BEAVER (AS-5) and CAMDEN (AS-6). Submarines are mostly "R" type boats, among them R-23 (SS-100) and R-25 (SS-102), both in the nest alongside SAVANNAH's port quarter. The bigger submarine alongside SAVANNAH's bow may be S-1 (SS-105), with her large seaplane hangar.  As shown the vessels are moored in Manzanillo Bay just off of Coco Solo Point to the right. The lighthouse is on Margarita Island and the pier in the foreground is Manzanillo Point.

When the Panama Canal opened in January of 1914 the United States was very concerned about protecting its strategic investment.  At that time submarines were still considered as a coastal defense force and not useful for much else.  So like Naval forces on Asiatic Station "showing the flag," five C Boats (OCTOPUS, STINGRAY, TARPON, BONITA, and SNAPPER) were deployed to Coco Solo with their tenders.

 A. E. Wells was THE official photographer for the U.S. Navy, War Department in the early 1920's. His photographs are contained in the archives of the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington D.C. as well as numerous American museums nation wide.


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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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