• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1959

    Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Prints And Decoys

    17 - 18 January 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 385

    A PAIR OF SCRIMSHAW WHALE TEETH

    AMERICAN, 1810-1825

    Price Realised  

    A PAIR OF SCRIMSHAW WHALE TEETH
    American, 1810-1825
    One engraved with a figure of a sailor and inscribed Free Trade and Sailors Rights, the other engraved with an allegory of Hope and inscribed Virtue, Liberty and Independence
    Each 6 in. high (2)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    In 1812, the term Free Trade and Sailor's Rights was a slogan that succinctly described the principal issues at stake for the United States during the war of 1812. A flag with this same inscription was flown aboard the USS Chesapeake when it fought (and was captured by) HMS Shannon on June 1, 1813, and aboard USS Essex on March 28, 1814, when it was captured by HMS Phoebe and HMS Cherub.

    The artist of this highly detailed pair of scrimshaw drew inspiration from the political climate at the time, including the phrase Virtue, Liberty and Independence with an Allegory of Hope. Together, these scrimshaw teeth express the patriotism felt by most sailors at the time, who often faced the risk of being "pressed" into service of the Royal navy when passing through British ports.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.


    Literature

    Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. and Mary Grace Carpenter The Decorative Arts and Crafts of Nantucket (New York, 1987) plate LIV.