A large scrimshawed sperm whale's tooth<BR /> 8-3/4 in. (22 cm.) length.
Lot 1457Y ▲
A large scrimshawed sperm whale's tooth
8-3/4 in. (22 cm.) length.
US$ 8,000 - 12,000
£4,800 - 7,200
Lot Details
Property of various owners
A large scrimshawed sperm whale's tooth
American, early 19th century
engraved on the recto with portrait of the three masted whaler Swift, the verso with decorative engraving of a whaler, the American Eagle and whale chasing scene inscribed: Engraved by Stephen C Christian off Cape Horn July 23rd 1832/Ship Swift taking two 80 bbls whales/Death to the living/Long life to the killers/Success to sailors wives/And greecy luck to whalers(sic).
8-3/4 in. (22 cm.) length.

Footnotes

  • It has been suggested that two different artisans worked on this tooth, both in the early 19th century. The first, probably Stephen C. Christian, who engraved the two whaling scenes and the inscription at the bottom; the second, an unknown scrimshander added the eagle and whale iconography and the Frederic Myrick (1808-1862) couplet ("Death to the living/Long life to the killers...").

    The New Bedford whaling master, Stephen Christian, is recorded as having been an officer on the Swift between 1830-32. A whaler named Swift is recorded as having departed from Nantucket August 3rd 1831 for the Pacific and returned on 28th October 1834 with 1,868 Bbls. of sperm oil.

    Literature:
    Stuart M Frank, Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists, p. 30 for biographical information on Stephen C. Christian.
    Alexander Starbuck, History of the American Whale Fishery, Vol. 1, p. 284 for a listing of the whaling vessel Swift and her voyages.
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    Bonhams
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