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American Woman Ship's Carved Figurehead
Ruffled Dress and Coiled Hairstyle

A finely detailed carved wood figurehead, diminutive with classic features, the origin of this womanly ship icon is American. Telltale clues include that her regency-style, just-above-the-shoulder dress sleeves that “poof” and the modest neckline, especially when matched to the upswept, comb-held, coiled hairstyle and carved oval earrings. All these fashion elements are suggestive of American fashion, circa 1820s. The leading figurehead historian England and a distinguished maritime museum curator in America both concur.

Properly attired, she looks quite reserved. Set on a carved plinth with a geometric pattern and rolling scroll, it blends into a sash-ribbon tied around her torso. The detail of the hair tightly bound in an upswept coiled bun. Prim and poised, the woman figure is fairly vertical in position, indicating an installation on a smaller vessel, possibly the bow of a schooner or small brig from the first quarter of the 19th Century. It has the correct wood plugs to have been properly mounted. The simple white paint with the sea-foam green dress is most likely very close to her original color and just freshened up a bit over time.

It is recorded that the piece was salvaged from a sailing vessel that broke up in Stomness on Orkney in the 19th Century, and entered a British collection and passed through the family for three generations before being sold. It is a classic American ship’s figurehead of a quality, type and size seldom found.

A full report on this antique, carved figurehead by leading figurehead historian Richard Hunter of England is available.

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Draeger Dive Helmet, DM40 No. 3247
Three Bolt, Four Light

A mid-20th Century Diving Helmet from the Draeger Company of West Germany, they are still among the world leaders in diving apparatus, and other fields requiring respiration devices. This classic diving lid is very clean and polished, despite its obvious heavy use. It has the top-mounted carrying handle that Draeger added to their lids from the beginning in the late 19th Century.

The company emblem is pressed in the front breastplate, and the helmet fixtures include the telephone connection, air intake and air exhaust.

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Dutch Log Timer Tobacco Box

This copper and brass tobacco box features a perpetual calendar on the lid and is marked with a date of 1764. There are two portraits on the face, potentially of Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory to commemorate the Julian and reformed Gregorian calendars.

On the reverse there is another portrait, this time an explorer pointing to a spot on a globe. Given the marked date of 1497 this could be Amerigo Vespucci. Below the portrait is a speed table used to calculate speed in the water. A chip of wood was tossed over the side of a vessel from a set station that carried a mark down the side of the ship. The sailor would then count rhythmically until the chip reached a second mark on the side. Because the distance between the marks was a known constant this allowed them to calculate their speed. The system was originally designed by Pieter Holm who ran a navigation school in Amsterdam.

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English Flintlock Brass Barrel Railgun Blunderbuss
From Tower of London with King George III Cypher

A rare-type brass barrel set in hard English oak, this Blunderbuss Swivel Railgun carries Birmingham proof marks, and has the Tower of London symbol and the royal cypher of King George III on the lockplate. The 25 inch brass barrel flares at the muzzleto slightly more than 3 inches, and a heavy brass butt plate terminates the stock. The Tower Armory record for the period lists a reserve weapons inventory that counted "2,000 musquetoons", which counted smaller blunderbuss, dragoons, and railguns.

The weapon would have been issued to a naval vessel, and installed to hold a prominent guard position on the rail, either along the main deck or possibly even stationed overhead on a fighting platform. The firearm is secured on an original iron yoke, set into a display wood block. This is an exceptional firearm with an imposing presence and deadly function.

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English Two Inch Bore Bronze Naval Cannon
On Rare Original Carriage

As the 1700's began, most cannons were made to whatever design their foundry favored, with the only common standard being the caliber of projectiles, resulting in a huge variety of styles with different weights, ranges, and ordinance- and with varying degrees of reliability. In 1716, England's forces were among many armies of the day who began efforts to standardize the manufacture of their artillery. Under the British Board of Ordnance, a central engineer or "Surveyor General" was appointed to create specifications or patterns under which all British Military cannon were made, allowing any foundry to turn out near-identical weapons.

This cannon is made in the Armstrong-Frederick Pattern style, made for the British Navy from 1753-1794. John Armstrong was the second Surveyor General, appointed in 1722. By 1725 he created the first comprehensive specifications for cannon manufacture- complex proportions which governed the dimensions of every section. Armstrong's successor, Charles Frederick, made some small modifications to the design in 1753, and cannons made from the new pattern bearing both their names were made for nearly 40 more years. Considered a successful and durable design, cannons like this one would have been used aboard British vessels during the American Revolutionary War.

Their design was striking- rather than narrowing gradually down the tube, this cannon has unusual step downs in tube diameter between the first and second reinforce and again at the chase, with concentric reinforce rings between each section, before widening out again at the muzzle. At the other end the first reinforce includes a vent, and beyond it, the base ring has the maker's mark-“GILKS, WILSON, & CO., TOWER HILL, LONDON” aka C.H. Gilks & Co., Gunmakers and Ships’ Ironmongers, No. 3 Union Row, Little Tower Hill, London.

In very good condition, this cannon has a very rich, deep bronze patination on the tube and a clear, smooth bore. It is extremely rare to find cannon of this age with their original carriages; this cannon's original Naval-style stepped carriage is sound and includes bronze and iron hardware, also with good patina. A very rare combination of factors makes this cannon desirable both to the maritime and cannon collector.

Tube: 34 Inches including Cascabel

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European Hat Box for a Bicorne Hat
Tin with Brass Monogram

Though mostly associated with Napoleon, the Bicorne hat was used as a common military and naval headpiece throughout Europe and America, coming into wide use from about 1790 until 1910. This tin box includes its original brass label with the owner's name M. Keane. A fine case to keep one's dress military hat in good shape while not being worn.

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