Extremely rare and possibly unique scrimshaw whalebone scale, American, circa 1850. The crossbeam is made from a section of whalebone which has a fancy carved top and bottom edge decoration. The beam mortices into a left and right dowel made from tuned whalebone. These arms support a pair of copper circular trays which are suspended from a set of three strings attached to the bottom of the bone dowels. (SC-1102)
Condition: The whalebone scale is in excellent condition. The strings were restored many years ago and the wood base has been replaced however the original wood base is still available.
Provenance: Barbara Johnson Collection and is illustrated as lot 634 in The Sotheby Catalogue “The Barbara Johnson Whaling Collection: Part IV, December 16 & 17, 1983. The catalogue states “This scale was found in California and was said to have been made by a whaler who deserted to join the gold rush in 1848. The string fittings have been restored.
Provenance: The Edwin F. Eldredge Whaling Museum
Dimensions: Width of beam 15 1/2 inches