Eldred's - Auctioneers, Appraisers

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Item Details

Lot #8
Sold For$65,000.00(hammer price)
 $78,000.00(price including buyer's premium)
Last UpdatedOctober 16, 2019


Whale ivory handle carved as a fist clenching a snake coiled about the hand and wrist above a shirtsleeve. The snake has inlaid eyes, a visible forked tongue and deeply engraved scales, and the overlapping shirtsleeve has engraved trim and applied buttons. Whale ivory collar with carved braided rope design above baleen spacers and an inlaid harlequin pattern. Tapered whalebone shaft with silver metal and shell inlay in a sawtooth and tassel design separated by a harpoon- and a lance-shaped inlay in the same materials and two silver metal geometric inlay. Silver metal ferrule. The workmanship exhibited on this cane is of the highest caliber, from the accurate and lifelike rendering of the fingers and palms of the fist, to the exquisite precision of the shirtsleeve, to the delicacy of the inlaid tassel design. A truly exceptional example of whaleman art. Length 35.
The Barbara Johnson Whaling Collection.
Rafael Osona Auctions, August 9, 1994, Lot #147.
Important American Folk Art from the Collection of Ralph O. Esmerian, Sotheby's New York, January 25, 2014, Lot #724.

Exhibited: de Menil Gallery at Groton School, Groton, Massachusetts: "American Radiance: Highlights of the Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum," October 15-December 15, 2002.
South Street Seaport Museum, New York: "Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions", June 20-October 7, 2012.
Illustrated in American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum (Harry Abrams Inc., 2001), p. 320 and 330.


This item will not be shipped internationally without a CITES permit. Obtaining CITES and any other necessary permits is the obligation of the buyer.

The description of the item above may not be the final version used in the catalog. The descriptions are as yet unedited and may contain mistakes. The description, estimates and photos could all be wrong. In rare cases they may not end up in this sale. Once the items have received their lot number the descriptions will have been changed if needed.

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