America, Mid-19th Century


In the form of a serpent-headed nude woman, with a relief-carved snake wrapped around the torso. The serpent head has an open red mouth, showing finely carved teeth and a pointy tongue, inset black eyes, red nostrils, a delicate design of red and black concentric diamonds engraved on the top of the head, and a red crosshatch design encircling the neck. Thin contrasting spacer between serpent head and female torso. Snake wrapped around the body with engraved scales, inset black eyes and a red mouth. Fluted wheel with an openwork star-shaped hub is supported by the woman's two legs.
Length 6.5". With contemporary stand.
Condition: No significant wear or damages noted.
This item is not available for international delivery. Please be aware of your local regulations regarding the sale of marine mammal parts and bid accordingly.

The absence of a condition report does not imply an object is free of defects. All items may have normal signs of age and wear commensurate with their age; these issues will likely not be mentioned in the condition report. Please contact Eldred's before the auction with any condition questions. Questions about condition will not be answered after purchase. Condition reports are provided as a courtesy, and we are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Important note on frames: Frames are not guaranteed to be in the same condition as they are in the item photograph. Due to handling and shipping, many frames, especially antique ones, are prone to losses. If you have questions about the condition of a frame, please contact us prior to the auction. 

  • Provenance:
    Meylert Armstrong, New Hope, Pennsylvania, inscribed in white ink "NH350[?]" (number smudged).
    E. Norman Flayderman.
    Jeffrey and Francine Cohen Collection, Richard A. Bourne Company, Hyannis, Massachusetts, July 31, 1989, Lot #41. Illustrated on cover.
    The Property of a Gentleman: The Estate of Peter Goldstein.

    Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders, Whales and Whalemen by E. Norman Flayderman (New Milford, Ct.: N. Flayderman & Co., Inc., 1972), p. 185.
    Wandering Whalemen and Their Art: A Collection of Scrimshaw Masterpieces by Alan Granby (Hyannis Port, Mass.:, 2021), p. XXII, in a photograph of Meylert Armstrong and his wife, Natalie, and a portion of their scrimshaw collection, and p. 294, figs. 15.29a-c.

    E. Norman Flayderman, in Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders, Whales and Whalemen, comments on the probable symbolic components of this crimper's design, notably the snake representing temptation.

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We require prompt payment and removal of your purchases as stated in Paragraph 12 of the Conditions of Sale. If you plan to pick up your purchases, please call ahead and we'll make every effort to have your items ready. Our physical address is 1483 Route 6A, East Dennis, MA. Pick up of smaller items at our Mystic, CT location is also available with advance notice.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide shipping quotes until the invoice had been paid in full.
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COLLECTION OF PURCHASES: Delivery or shipping arrangements must be made within seven (7) days from the close of the auction for all purchases. All items must be removed from Eldred's facilities within fourteen (14) days of the end of the auction. All items remaining after fourteen days may be subject to a $5/per item/per day storage fee. No items will be released unless storage fees are paid in full. Items remaining over thirty (30) days from the close of the auction may be sold for the buyer's account minus auction and storage fees.

February 28, 2024 9:30 AM EST
East Dennis, MA, US


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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $49 $5
$50 $99 $10
$100 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $2,999 $100
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $29,999 $1,000
$30,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 + $10,000