Eldred's - Auctioneers, Appraisers

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Item Details

Temp #1
DepartmentScrimshaw
Low Estimate$6,000.00
High Estimate$9,000.00
Last UpdatedApril 19, 2019

Description

SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH WITH PORTRAIT OF THE SHIP CYANE Mid-19th Century
Obverse with fine portrait of the U.S. Navy sloop-of-war flying a long pennant from the central mast and a large American flag off the stern. Cyane" in rectangular cartouche below portrait. Interesting worm-like depicting of the water. Reverse depicts a weeping willow flanked by memorial monuments, one topped with an urn and one with a harpoon-like design flanking the intentionally illegible inscription. The grass has a similar worm-like pattern as the water on the reverse. A delicate vine wraps around the circumference of the tip and suspends conjoined laurel wreaths that trail down both edges. A similar vine and a faint sawtooth border encircles the base. Length 6.25".
The Cyane was launched in December 1837 at Boston Navy Yard and was originally under the command of John "Mad Jack" Percival, who was born in West Barnstable, on Cape Cod. She served off the West Coast during the Mexican-American War and was lauded for her significant contributions to American victory. Interestingly, seaman William H. Meyers served aboard the Cyane in the 1840s, a decade after he was onboard the whaleship Ceres. 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. 189, Meyers's ink and watercolor journal illustrations are believed to have been the source material for the body of scrimshaw produced by the so-called "Ceres Artisans".
Provenance:
Nina Hellman, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
"

Condition

Area of naturally occurring uneven patina at tip. Small old shallow gouge at base of reverse, approx. .5."

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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