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Item Details

Temp #18
DepartmentScrimshaw
Low Estimate$5,000.00
High Estimate$8,000.00
Last UpdatedApril 16, 2019

Description

POLYCHROME SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH BY HENRY VINCENT GERRODETTE Mid-19th Century
Obverse depicts two conjoined vignettes: two hearts pierced by an arrow enclosed within a barber's-pole style wreath, and a spread-wing eagle. The images are connected with vine tendrils, which are also entwined around the wreath, culminating in two deeply engraved red roses. The eagle has a vacant red banner in its beak, an American shield at its breast, and arrows and olive branches in its talons. It is perched on a rocky hill and the rays of a rising sun are visible behind it. Reverse depicts The Moss Rose", a red rose on a thorny branch. Length 5.25".
According to Scrimshaw and Provenance: A Third Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists by Stuart M. Frank (Mystic, Ct.: Stuart M. Frank and Mystic Seaport Museum, 2013), p. 116, not much is known about Henry Vincent Gerrodette, other than he served in the Mexican War aboard the frigate Constitution. A collection of his personal belongings from this time, including knives, scabbards, a pair of embroidered trousers, and three pieces of scrimshaw, were donated to the Smithsonian in 1956 by a descendant. This tooth bears stylistic similarities to the donated pieces, including the trousers, which are believed to have been embroidered by Gerrodette himself. Research indicates Gerrodette was born in New York in 1822 and lived in Brooklyn toward the end of his life in the 1870s and 1880s. There is no record of him serving on a whaling voyage."

Condition

Old chips/fractures at tip. Age cracks at base extend no more than 1.75 into images on obverse and reverse. The two red roses are much more deeply engraved and are bright red, rather than the deep red seen on other parts of the tooth."

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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