Scrimshaw Sperm Whale Tooth, 20th Century

The obverse of this large sperm whale tooth is filled with the etching of a large, unidentified three-masted ship sailing from left to right with all sails flying. Although it has an American flag at the stern, the vessel is unidentified and there are no visible crew on deck handling the sails or rigging.
The reverse is decorated with a dove perched in a small bouquet of flowers over a heart with "1863 Susanna" carved in the middle. A pennant at the top of the tooth is inscribed "SAMUAL WIGGENS". There is no one named Wiggens in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Whaling Crew List Database.
Currently not on view
Object Name
scrimshaw tooth, whale
Object Type
date made
20th century
Physical Description
whale tooth (overall material)
overall: 6 3/4 in x 3 1/4 in x 2 in; 17.145 cm x 8.255 cm x 5.08 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Wilbur J. Gould
Additional Media

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