Scrimshaw Sperm Whale Tooth, 19th-20th Centuries


This large, highly polished sperm whale tooth is carved on both sides. The obverse is etched with a large full-rigged three-masted ship sailing towards the observer with all sails set. Atop the mainmast is a homeward bound pennant, and fifteen gunports are aligned along the starboard side of the ship. Below the sailing ship is etched in upper case letters "MONMOUTH-L.Is." (for Long Island). The reverse has a large heart with a keyhole in the center, with a forked pennant swirling around it marked "SARAH THE KEY IS WITH THEE 1864". Below the name "Wm. BAYLES" is etched along the same line as the lettering on the other side. There were no whalers named Monmouth in the records, and William Bayles does not appear in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Whaling Crew List Database.

Date Made: 19th-20th century

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Work and Industry: Maritime, Cultures & Communities, Scrimshaw, Transportation, Art


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: From the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Wilbur J. Gould

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1978.0052.25Accession Number: 1978.0052Catalog Number: 1978.52.25

Object Name: scrimshawscrimshaw tooth, whale

Physical Description: whale tooth (overall material)Measurements: overall: 7 1/8 in x 2 7/8 in x 1 3/4 in; 18.0975 cm x 7.3025 cm x 4.445 cm


Record Id: nmah_1349140

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