This Napoleonic prisoner-of-war bone ship model, circa 1810, was an elaborate and fine model of a 78-gun ship-of-the-line with a planked and pinned hull with baleen gunwales and bone gun carriages and a finely carved polychrome stern. The model measures 10" high x 11" long, and the glass dome display case, 15" high x 16" long x 7½" wide. It was consigned by antiques dealer Joseph Vallejo, director and owner of Vallejo Gallery in California. After a robust round of bidding, the ship model sold for $22,040.
Rafael Osona Auctions, Nantucket, Massachusetts
by Jackie Sideli
Photos courtesy Rafael Osona
A rare scrimshawed Susan tooth by Frederick Myrick, dated February 8, 1829, sold for $139,200 (includes buyer's premium) at Rafael Osona Auctions' August 4 sale in Nantucket, Massachusetts. It was the top lot of the sale.
The 6¼" long tooth was engraved with a banner reading "The ship Susan of Nantucket," three longboats, three whales, and an eagle with spread wings. The tip was engraved "Union" and "Hope," and along the base was "Death to the living/ long life to the killers/ Success to sailor's wives & greasy luck to whalers." Myrick, born on Nantucket in 1808, is the best-known scrimshander, and his scrimshaw is some of the most desirable.
Antiques dealer Joseph Vallejo from California is a specialist in nautical and marine antiques and was present at the sale. Vallejo has decided to downsize and consigned quite a few nautical and sailor-made items to the Osona sale.
Among the many Nantucket baskets was one by William Appleton (1851-1918) that dated from 1910. The basket had two delicately carved heart handles, two concentric circles in the base, and a paper label on the base that read "Lightship Basket Made by William D Appleton, Nantucket Mass, $1.75." Measuring just 2¾" high x 6¼" diameter, the basket opened with a bid of $500. After some bidding from the floor and the phones, a phone bidder won the basket at $3712.
A Nantucket sewing basket by Fred Chadwick, circa 1920, with nicely rounded handles, an interior plate with central tack, three scribe lines, and two handwritten paper labels on the base reading "Lightship Basket made by Fred Chadwick Nantucket, Mass. 4 Pine St. $2.50," 3¼" high x 7½" diameter, sold for $5220 to a buyer on the phone.
An oil on masonite by Cape Cod artist Ralph Eugene Cahoon (1910-1982), Circus Horse Play, a fanciful depiction of mermaids performing at a circus, 17½" x 23½", brought $12,760.
A circa 1850 whalebone pie crimper carved as a seated nude female with a ponytail, the bone grip with rosewood and mother-of-pearl inlays, 9½", sold for $4060. Carved in two sections, it was divided by a baleen spacer.
This sale was typical for Osona with enthusiastic customers in the audience, lots of phone action, and many left bids. For more information, call (508) 228-3942 or check the Web site (www.rafaelosonaauction.com).
The top lot of the Osona sale was this Frederick Myrick scrimshawed Susan tooth dated February 8, 1829. With "The ship Susan of Nantucket" within a banner over a whale ship, three longboats, and three whales and with a spread-winged eagle and "E Pluribus Unum" on a shield, the 6¼" long tooth was rare and desirable. The tip of the tooth was engraved with "Union" and "Hope," and along the base was "Death to the living/ long life to the killers/ Success to sailor's wives & greasy luck to whalers." From the Sara Jo and Art Kobacker collection, it opened with a $90,000 phone bid and sold for $139,200.
"This is the pride of our sale," said Rafael Osona when he put this striking oil on canvas by Richard Hayley Lever (1876-1958) up for sale. Nantucket from the Moors was an "important view of the Nantucket moors and skyline." Unsigned, the 24" x 36" painting was ex-Walter Beinecke collection. Osona sold it in 1990 to the consignor. Bidding opened at $50,000 and quickly escalated to $72,500.
This large (7" tall x 4½" wide x 2½" deep) circa 1809 polychromed French prisoner-of-war bone spinning jenny was ornate and colorful and had nine figurestwo dogs on two parquetry platforms, a spinner, a violinist, and five dancing figures. According to the catalog, it was made at the Norman Cross Depot. It went to a bidder on the phone at $34,800.
An exquisite nest of eight Nantucket round swing-handle baskets, ranging in size from 3½" high x 5" diameter to 8" high x 13½" diameter, was attributed to Andrew Jackson Sandsbury (1830-1902), who wove baskets in his free time while on the Nantucket New South Shoal lightship from 1872 to 1892. Bidding opened at $20,000, and the set sold for $40,600.
Demetre Chiparus (Rumanian/ French, 1886-1947) created this bronze and ivory sculpture, Nimble Dancer, in 1925. In gilt and cold-painted bronze, the Art Deco figure was set on an onyx base with marble inlay. Signed "D.H. Chiparus" and measuring 18½" high, it opened with a $12,000 phone bid and with three phones competing sold for $25,200.
This circa 1850 English woollie was sailor-made, according to the catalog. It is a portrait of a ship-of-the-line at anchor flying the royal standard, indicating that Queen Victoria was aboard, with smaller boats alongside and signal flags. The 23" x 34½" woollie sold for $10,440.
A French prisoner-of-war bone ship model, dating from around 1800, 28" high x 36" long, opened with a $40,000 phone bid and sold at $52,200 to the phone. The 116-retractable-gun ship had an elaborate carved stern and a Roman soldier figurehead. From the collection of Sara Jo and Arthur Kobacker and the Clive Gomshall-Lloyd collection, it was illustrated in The Lloyd Collection of Napoleonic Prisoner-of-War Artifacts by John Rinaldi (1986).
A buyer at the sale won the J. Easton (1807-1903) circa 1840 Nantucket coin silver soup ladle at $6960. The 13" long ladle was stamped on the reverse "J Easton 2nd, Nantucket, Pure Coin" and was engraved "Malvina F Marshall, Feb. 18, 1851."
October, Nantucket by Emma H. Van Pelt, circa 1890, a 9¾" x 11¾" fall view of Nantucket with the town in the distance, in vivid reds, browns, greens, and grays, signed on the lower left and titled on the lower right, attracted lots of attention and sold to a buyer at the sale for $5800.
This elaborate circa 1840 sailor-made knife box (illustrated with scrimshawed tools that were sold separately) was stunning. It had 28 pieces of whale ivory inlay and 343 pieces of light and dark hardwood inlay. The front and back had inlaid ivory knives and forks with ebony handles, and the center had hearts and the initials "E.C." in red sealing wax. Ex-Norman Flaydermanit's illustrated in his book Scrimshaw and Scrimshandersand William Boylhart, it was consigned by California antiques dealer and collector Joe Vallejo. It opened with a strong $5000 bid, but with eager bidders from the floor and on the phones, it sold for $26,680.