Published: May 21, 2019
Review and Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
NEW BEDFORD, MASS. – The 10th annual Nautical Antiques Show on May 10 kicked off the 31st annual Scrimshaw Weekend, which is hosted by the New Bedford Whaling Museum and consists of a series of lectures, a book signing, reception and banquet and optional field trip to Nantucket. The antiques show is a one-day show and hosts 18 dealers of all things nautical, with ticket sales to the show benefiting the museum. The show is run by Richard Donnelly and Sandy Moss, and after the show Donnelly said, “attendance was up a fair amount and it was very successful according to all the dealers I spoke to.”
Donnelly, who owns Richard’s Antiques and Art in Barrington, R.I., pointed out three swifts that he had brought, including one that had a dog’s head clamp with two lovebirds. After the show, he said, “The show was pretty spectacular for me; I sold a lot of items, from a whaleship model to a cane and some swifts, including one after the show.”
“Things from the Corsair are pretty rare,” said Larry Lannan of Lannan Gallery, who had a rosewood cased chronometer from J.P. Morgan’s private yacht, which he said he had recently acquired from an estate. Over the years, the Norwell, Mass., dealer has sold other things from the Corsair, including 300 pieces of china and some flags.
Sharing the floor’s annex was New Bedford’s own David Nelson, of D.R. Nelson & Company Booksellers. When asked to point out something special or unusual, Nelson immediately pointed to the 1856 edition of the United States Coast Survey, which he said was very rare as it was complete with all 70 charts that mapped all major ports in the United States at the time, including ones on both the East and West Coast.
The first booth inside the door of the show floor was that of Alan Granby. The Hyannis Port, Mass., dealer had several interesting things, including a scrimshaw balance scale that Granby said was the only one in existence, a painting by J.E. Buttersworth titled, “Yacht Racing off of Sandy Hook,” two carved and painted eagles and three Chelsea clocks, including one that measured 8½ inches and had been retailed by Tiffany & Co. Reached afterwards for comment, Granby said, “The show was well attended and there seemed to be a lot of selling taking place. We sold the large Chelsea Yacht Wheel clock and a large whales tooth depicting an America frigate, as well as a few other items.”
John Rinaldi sold well during early buying, ticking off a couple of naval hats, a hand-embroidered ditty bag and a pair of scrimshaw teeth. The Kennebunkport, Maine, dealer also had several volumes of reference books for sale, which were attracting the attention of shoppers. After the show, Rinaldi said, “The show for me was excellent. Had several sales, most being scrimshaw but also books, and a shell work item.”
Ryan M. Cooper Maritime Antiques occupied a corner booth near the windows overlooking the harbor and seemed to be doing a brisk business. Among the eye-catching items in his booth were an Alexander Henry breech loading bow whaling gun. Patented by Henry in 1865, it fired a gun harpoon with swivel hinged barbs and won a gold medal when it was exhibited by Henry at the 1882 International Fisheries Exhibit in Edinburgh. According to the Yarmouth Port, Mass., dealer, only a few have survived.
The Antiques Depot of Nantucket had a broad variety of items, from woolies and canes to Nantucket baskets, scrimshaw, a waterline model with two bone mast poles, as well as a small sea chest with weathered paint, lanterns and some framed nautical works of art and maps.
The show’s host, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, owns and displays a half-scale model of the whaling bark, Lagoda, which was built in 1915-16 and is reportedly the largest ship model in existence. Gregory Gibson, Ten Pound Island Book Company, was thrilled to have an 1853-55 journal kept by the Lagoda’s captain, Benjamin B. Lamphier. Gibson had recently acquired the journal and after the show disclosed through his blog, “The Bookman’s Log,” (https://tenpound.com/bookmans-log) that he had sold it to the museum. When asked how business was, Gibson said “I can’t keep China Trade stuff,” explaining that collectors in China are eager buyers.
British dealer David Weston had lots of Continental items, including an elaborately divided French straw workbox with painted interior decoration, an unusual pair of a teeth relief carved with male and female Pict figures and a French Napoleonic bone box closely related to one in E. Norman Flayderman’s indispensable reference, Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders: Whales and Whalemen.
Dave White, White’s Nautical Antiques, North Yarmouth, Maine, had lots of interesting and unusual things. Among them was a Southeast Asian or Polynesian canoe – nearly 4 feet in length – with dragon carved head and 15 seats. White had acquired it from an antique shop in Carmine, Texas, only proving you can find treasures in the most unexpected places.
Sanford “Sandy” Moss sold a late Eighteenth Century ethnographic paddle from Borneo right off the bat. Moss showed off a jade effigy platform pipe mount in the form of an otter, which he said was from the Frasier River area in British Columbia and had most likely been carved by Northwest Coast Indians. When Antiques and The Arts Weekly caught up to Moss a few days later at his booth at Brimfield, Moss characterized the New Bedford show as “very good.”
Chuck DeLuca, Maritime Antiques, Inc, had a silver trophy, some telescopes, canes, a sailor’s hat and several framed nautical works, but when asked what he thought was particularly important were two quadrants that predated the Revolutionary War. The York, Maine, dealer said both were hard to find and both had come from a private collection.
The dates for the 2020 Nautical Antiques Show have not yet been set but it is expected to stay at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. For information, www.whalingmuseum.org/programs.
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