West Sea Company


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

5.55 /21.90  EARLY NAVY BINOCULARS.  Very scarce World War I vintage military binoculars made for the "Signal Corps U.S. Army" as stamped on the right side objective.  On the ocular end it is marked "Military Stereo 6 x 30" on the left and "U.S. Naval Gun Factory Optical Shop Annex, Rochester, N.Y. U.S.A."  These high quality prismatic binoculars are made of solid brass in a blackened finish with leather covering.  Each ocular is knurled for individual focusing and is marked in diopeters + or -.  The binoculars retain their original leather carrying strap and are complete with their very nice heavy leather case with spring-loaded closure.  Of added interest and value is the very high quality compass in the lid, showing the cardinal and intercardinal points of the compass marked in 5 degree increments.  It is signed "U.S Naval Gun Factory Optical Annex, Rochester, N.Y."  The underside of the lid is impressed "U.S. NAVAL GUN FACTORY Optical Annex Shop Rochester, N.Y" with fouled anchor mark.  The objective lenses measure 1 1/4 inches in diameter each.  The binoculars are 6 ¼ inches wide and 4 ¾ inches long.  The stout leather case is 7 ¼ inches wide by 5 ½ inches high.  Excellent original optics and the compass is lively and accurate.  The leather is in unusually nice condition considering it is over 100 years old.  WAS $695 NOW! 495





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21.4  BINOCULAR MICROSCOPE.   High grade 19th C. English microscope made for the American market, signed and serial numbered on the base "R. & J. Beck, London 7072." and further engraved on the main tube "J W QUEEN & Co. Agents, Philadelphia & New York."  This finely crafted all brass compound microscope features adjustable Wenham-style binocular body tubes mounted on a sturdy base and stands 14 inches tall as shown. It is complete with a total of 4 objectives and 4 ocular lenses.  It is housed in a lovely African mahogany box with brass furniture measuring 16 inches long.  The lower till houses numerous glass slides while the upper section holds the additional optics, with 11 slots being empty including a separate slot for a light magnifier which is also missing.  Of course the beauty of the innovation embodied in this microscope was the fact that the researcher could view a particular object with both eyes providing a clearer stereoscopic subject.  This rare instrument is in excellent, untouched original condition with most of its original lacquered surfaces.  It is functional and all adjustments operate smoothly and properly.  A most handsome presentation! WAS $2195 NOW! 995

The body tubes of this microscope were designed by W. H. Wenham in 1861, and are adjustable by means of a knurled knob that controls a rack and pinion gear set.  A triangular base supports the limb, which has an adjustable inclination angle through a series of holes in the limb that fit a tabbed hinge plate.  Coarse focus is achieved through a set of knobs that move the inner pillar tube up and down through a rack gear set.  The top of the pillar contains a fine focus knob.  A circular stage contains a central aperture and has a slide carrier to assist in translating specimens during viewing.  According to Turner, this form of the microscope stand was designed specifically to accommodate the Wenham binocular tube and was called "The Popular Microscope".

Richard and Joseph Beck joined in a partnership as opticians at 31 Cornhill, London from 1867-1894.  They were noted for their fine quality microscopes, and were admitted to the Microscopial Society of London.  

James W. Queen & Co. were in business as opticians at 48 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia from 1860-1893.


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7.90  SCIENTIFIC REFERENCE CALALOG.  Trevor Philip & Sons, Ltd. "Of Heaven & Earth." 25th Anniversary printing of the firm's catalog.  Hard cover with dust jacket, 51 pages.  This renowned London dealer in the `90's and early 2000's offered some of the finest objects ever to be sold on the private market.  Here in exquisite color detail he depicts and describes rare instruments, timepieces, telescopes, globes, folk carvings, important ship models and more.  A delightful fully illustrated and well described raisonné.  Was $39 NOW! FREE  Just pay First Class postage.

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1.23 OIL PAINTING ON GLASS. J. Bell, English, late 19th century, oil on milkglass commemorative painting of the early steamer identified as “S.S. New England, Liverpool” in fancy lettering on the encircling life ring. This genuine ship’s portrait is very detailed and colorfully presented, “framed” within a classic old life ring, adorned with garlands and a ship’s mast with the vessel’s house flag. The portrait depicts the vessel flying the American flag from the foremast and the British ensign at the stern. The painting itself measures 9 ½ by 11 ½ inches sight. It is housed in its original carved walnut frame with gilt liner under old wavy glass secured with square nails. The frame measures 14 ¼ inches wide by 15 ¼ inches high. Outstanding original condition in all respects! A delightful presentation. Was $1395 NOW! 795

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1.18 FAMOUS AMERICAN SILKWORK. Thomas Willis, American (worked 1875-1910), silk embroidery and oil on canvas. This classic Willis silkwork depicts the famous New York Yacht Club steam yacht MIRAGE. The sleek and powerful yacht is seen from the port side underway with the New York Yacht club burgee flying from the jackstaff, the owner's burgee of New York tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt flying from the mast and the American yachting ensign aft. Adding to its fame, the MIRAGE was built by Nathaniel Herreschoff, recognized as the greatest yacht builder in American history! With his typically amazing detail in this delicate medium, Willis shows the helmsman at the wheel with a skylight binnacle leading the way. Two uniformed sailors are on deck and the yacht's captain sits just forward of the mast. The owner (Vanderbilt himself) and another are shown lounging in deck chairs under the canopy aft with a steward in attendance. The vessel name "MIRAGE" is finely embroidered as a nameboard just under the funnel. Many other minute details are present such as the capstan forward, deck fittings, curtained windows, whistle, lifelines, lifeboat and lifering. Signed lower right, "T. Willis." This painting measures 18 by 31 inches sight and is housed in its original ornate gilt frame with gold liner under old wavy glass measuring 25 by 39 inches overall. The frame is exquisite. The oil on canvas painting bears expected age cracilature and there are a few professionally applied reinforcements on the back of the canvas. The silkwork embroidery is in perfect condition with bright colors, no losses and no loose threads. Willis' meticulous stitchery is fully visible on the back. Overall condition can certainly be rated as excellent. Circa 1900. Was $4,195 NOW! 1795Special Packaging

Undoubtedly this mixed media ship's portrait was personally commissioned of Willis by Mr. Vanderbilt. Cornelius Vanderbilt III (September 5, 1873 - March 1, 1942) was born into the wealthy and powerful Vanderbilt family, the namesake having amassed a fortune expanding American railroads Westward after the Civil War. Called "Neily" by his friends, the younger Vanderbilt did not rest on his grandfather's laurels however. He was a businessman, inventor, engineer, decorated military officer and yachtsman. Yachting was one of Neily Vanderbilt's favorite pastimes which provided him an escape from a busy life that included a seat on the board of directors of several major American corporations. In 1910, he piloted his yacht to victory in the New York Yacht Club's race for the "King Edward VII Cup."

Thomas H. Willis was born in Connecticut in 1850. By 1875 he had perfected a technique of depicting ships using silk thread embroidery. He moved to New York where he found a greater market for his works. He was a contemporary of famous marine artist Antonio Jacobsen and there is evidence that the two artists actually collaborated on some of their ships portraits. Willis' work is publicly displayed in a number of institutions including the Mariner's Museum, Newport News, Virginia, Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut and the Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachusetts. Many of his works were signed with the monogram of a conjoined T and W. This painting bears his full signature.

The fast steam yacht MIRAGE was a wooden hull vessel of 75 feet in length displacing 30 gross tons. She was built and launched by Nathaniel G. Herreschoff in his Bristol, Rhode Island yard in 1900. Later in her life the yacht was retrofitted with gas engines. MIRAGE was still in service as late as 1925 under different ownership. (Lloyd's Register of American Yachts, 1925).



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2.32 FOLK ART MODEL. Absolutely charming late 19th century American cased waterline folk art ship model. This delightful little wooden model depicts a 2-masted schooner under full sail plying a carved wooden sea with full-rigged carved wooden sails! The solid hull ship has a black boot topping and white bulwarks with bowsprit, masts and yards in natural wood. The 3 jib sails are realistically portrayed with their attachment to the standing rigging, and the mains’l and mizzen are realistically attached with mast hoops! Ratlines and hand-carved wooden blocks complete the rigging, which must surely have been done by a sailor intimately familiar with such details. But that’s not all. The deck detail is amazing! Both old fashioned anchors with chain are depicted. There are 2 deck houses with cut-out windows and open doors. The helmsman is standing aft at the helm with the poop deck above. Two lifeboats in their davits are rigged, and they even contain oars! Yet the piece-de-resistance of this model is the depiction of no fewer than 14 crewmen going about their work on the planked deck! The American flag flies atop the mizzen. All surfaces of the model are colorful and bright in their original old finish. This is because the model has been housed in its original wooden case with alligatored surfaces and old wavy glass on 5 sides. The case measures 18 inches long by 9 inches wide and 14 inches tall. The model itself is 14 ¼ inches long by 11 inches high. Condition is outstanding and original in all respects. In the proper folk art auction this model would zoom. Was $1995 NOW! 895 Special Packaging

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3.11 AMERICAN SEXTANT SET. Ultimately rare, perhaps one-of-a kind, cased 19th century double sextant set made by the prestigious American scientific instrument company “Keuffel and Esser, New York” as engraved on the index arms and as indicated on their respective labels. This matched set features not one but TWO sextants contained within their single dovetailed mahogany box. Each sextant is made of cast bronze with classic lattice frame design in their original factory oxidized finish. The index arms are signed “Keuffel & Esser Co., New York” and are serial numbered “6101” and 6112” respectively. The large arcs are inlaid with silver scales reading from -5 degrees through 165 degrees, effectively making them “quintants.” The scales are subdivided in 20 arc minutes, with the vernier scale allowing an accurate reading down to 30 arc seconds. To aid in the reading each vernier is equipped with a light diffuser on the index arm and a pivoting magnifier. The index arm features a knurled thumbscrew stop and the double tangent screw fine adjust feature as introduced by the French circa 1880. Both instruments are complete with their full set of 4 index filters, 3 horizon filters and index and horizon mirrors. Both have their adjustable height sight tube holders designed to accommodate one of three (total six) sighting accessories. These include a peep tube, short telescope and long telescope with cross hairs. The backs of these sextants retain their original sculpted mahogany handles and long brass “feet.” These fine instruments are housed in their original machine dove-tailed box with brass furniture, functional skeleton lock and key, folding brass handle, unusual locking box closures and inlaid “shield” escutcheon in the lid. They are absolutely complete with all attachments including spare mirrors, two screwdrivers, two adjusting wrenches and 4 telescope tube eyepiece filters. Speaking to the quality of this set, the attachment compartments are even lined in protective green felt! The lid of the box bears the faux ivory maker’s label reading “KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. NEW YORK , St. Louis. Chicago. San Francisco.” But what’s more, each of the sextants has matching serial numbered “KEUFFEL & ESSER Co.” labels proclaiming its manufactory, locations with company logo and drawing of “Factories, Hoboken, N.J.” Each sextant has a 7 ½ inch index arm and measures 9 inches wide on the arc. The box measures 16 ½ inches long, 9 ½ inches wide and 5 ½ inches thick. The entire presentation is in unbelievably fine state of preservation being in near mint, factory original condition in every respect! Truly a rare find! Was $4900 NOW! 2995 Special Packaging



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9.73 EARLY SURGICAL TOOL. Rare early 19th century surgeon's tool specifically designed for the extraction of tonsils from the throat of a hapless patient. This specialty tool was used prior to the advent of antiseptic and anesthetic conditions. One can only speculate how horrendous the procedure must have been! Known as a "Tonsil Guillotine," it consists of a fearsome sharp probe and two sliding steel orifices connected to a brass shaft terminating in a cross hatched ivory handle. Pulling the handle engages a sliding blade, the guillotine, which in theory would have sliced off the patient's tonsil once engaged by the probe and held by the orifice! Clever in its construction, this no less gruesome device bears decorative elements in its construction reminiscent of instruments from the Queen Ann period. It measures 10 inches long and is in excellent original functioning condition. Both the steel and brass components bear deep patination with surface oxidation, but no rust or corrosion. The ivory handle is sound with only minor staining (blood?). A very rare early surgical tool of museum quality. Was $1495 NOW! 695

Elizabeth Bennion in "Antique Medical Instruments," 1979, Sotheby Parke Bernet, London, pictures and describes a similar device with finger pieces on page 108. The photograph is captioned, "Tonsil guillotine, c. 1860, Museum of Historical Medicine, Copenhagen." The text, in part, reads, "Guillotines and forceps were listed in the catalogues from the early nineteenth century and were in two sizes, for adults and children. Tonsil-guillotines are easily recognizable by means of the two parallel sliding rings, one with cutting edge... Unlike many other instruments, the earlier examples tend to be lighter while those of a later date become complicated and cumbersome with elaborate finger pieces. Cased sets with various spare attachments were made c. 1860, but simple steel and brass guillotines have survived from at least ten years earlier." It is our belief that the example here is much earlier than 1850 and thus may in fact represent a prototype!



handle detail
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12.25 CARVED CHINA TRADE FRAME. Lavishly-carved wooden picture frame produced for the Chinese export market during the mid-1800’s. It is carved from a single solid piece of valuable dealwood and was made for displaying the recently-invented prized photographic portrait. The intricate carving with floral motifs features a bird at the top flanked by two bushy-tailed squirrels on either side. Then midway down the frame are more birds on either side. The center consists of a rectangular “rope” border housing an oval opening decorated with delicate leafy branches and an even finer beaded boarder. The back of the frame has a 4 ¼ by 6 5/8 inch cut-out for mounting a photograph. To these ends it retains 4 small pivoting wooden clips on all four edges to secure the mount. The frame itself measures 11 ¼ inches tall overall by 7 ½ inches wide. Remarkably it remains preserved in almost perfect original condition with a beautiful original age patina! Was $495 NOW! 195



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14.26 DECORATED CHINA TRADE TRUNK. Outstanding 19th century Chinese export trunk with finest construction and decoration. This large lovely trunk, measuring 40 inches long, 21 inches wide and 18 1/2 inches high, is crafted of solid aromatic camphor wood using hand dove-tailed construction. It is overlaid by pigskin and then fully brass-bound and tacked for strength, durability and beauty. The lidded chest has three substantial brass hinges and a folding brass "stay" to hold it once open. Inside the reinforced lid is the entire original maker's label reading "MADE IN CANTON CHINA. KWANG-TUNG. YUT WO" The front of the chest is equipped with a brass pull ring for opening and the original functional lock with skeleton key! Both ends of the chest retain their heavy cast brass carrying handles. This colorful chest is beautifully decorated with hand-painted Oriental vignettes depicting exotic birds and floral designs set on a red background -- red being the most collectible color of this genre of chests. The top leather covering is in tact although somewhat buckled with age. The wooden structure is solid and perfectly sound. Overall this chest is in beautifully preserved condition, evidencing wear and age consistent with a 150 year steamer trunk that has been used but not abused. Was $3950 NOW! 2495 Special Packaging

Provenance: This China trade trunk came from the Farrell estate of Oakland, California. It was acquired by Mr. Farrell, a mining engineer, in Canton while on assignment in China in 1889. This same trunk accompanied the Farrell family while on tour in Europe in 1901.

This trunk is accompanied by a newspaper clipping reporting the sale of a similar trunk at auction in 2003. The trunk sold was smaller, not as decorative, minus its lock and key, and did not carry provenance.




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15.23 SAILING SHIP CREW PHOTO. Original late 19th C. silver plate photograph depicting the entire crew assembled on deck in front of a massive square-rigged mast. Judging by the large number of crewmen and their uniforms this was a military ship. The officers are seated with the distinguished Captain front and center. Flanking him are his officers and a civilian in a white suit, perhaps a dignitary posing for the occasion. At least 2 women can be seen posing in the photo. Behind are approximately 100 sailors in the flat hats perched on stanchions, davits, one of the ship’s lifeboats and ventilators. All manner of blocks, tackle and lines surround the scene. One sailor can be seen holding a life ring with the visible letters “INC” perhaps preceded by a “K.” This is undoubtedly the ship’s name which is also visible but indistinct on several of the sailors’ hat ribbons. This large antique image measures 8 by 11 inches sight and is contained under glass in its original decorative oblong mat bearing the photographer’s signature “Nolken & Petersen, AARHUS.” It is surrounded by a fancy gilt liner housed in its original oak frame measuring 18 by 21 inches. Excellent overall condition noting some minor losses to the gilded liner. The photograph itself is perfect. . Was $295 NOW! 79 Special 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.  Over133 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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