Ship HARRIET, Sperm Whale Tooth
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American

Dated Dec. 24, 1821
8 length
 
   

Ship HARRIET, Sperm Whale Tooth
 
(American Whaleman's Scrimshaw)
⚈ Sold

Dated Dec. 24, 1821
8 length
 
   

CHRISTMAS EVE 1821, CATCH OF THE HARRIET

This is an exceptional piece of whaling history. The American whaling ship HARRIET, under the commander of Captain James Jones and registered to the Port of London to avoid the tariffs on American whalers in British ports, captured a large sperm whale off the coast of Chili on Christmas Eve, 1821. The hand which performed this tooth was highly skilled, and it is a very early and creative work of whaleman’s scrimshaw.

Dated teeth are quite rare, and this one is complete with not only the factual information, but a fine poem verse on the underside. Another of these highly desirable teeth is in the collection of a Welsh yacht club, where it has been confirmed that it has been part of their collection since at least 1928. Several years ago that tooth was evaluated on British tv’s “Antique Roadshow” and was subsequently valued for £10,000. That tooth is nearly identical on the primary side, and has a related but completely different poem.

The aged patina and heavy polish of the tooth are perfect for the writing, which identifies the ship as a “Southseaman” the poem reads "In me behold a Sperm Whales Tooth, Quite Large & in the firme of youth, When Capt Jones and the Harriet’s Crew, one Christmas Eve in their Boats did go, And Killed this Whale & tow’d him Alongside, And took me out of his mouth so wide. If you wish to know my composition rare, Look well at me & see Ivory so clear.