(1808 - 1862)
Scrimshaw whale tooth engraved between a border below the tip is the text "Engraved by Fred Myrick on board of the Ship Susan August the 28th 1829." Above the text is a pair of crossed American flags. On the opposite side above the text is an engraved anchor. Under the text is a spread winged eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch in his talons and clutching a banner in his beak with the words "E PLURIBUS UNUM." Above the wings are engraved stars and this arrangement is within a scribed oval border with a meandering vine decoration. On the obverse is a starboard profile depicting the ship "Susan" and also showing a whale being cut-in. To the right are three whaleboats and two whales. Above the ship is a banner which states: "The Susan on the coast of Japan whaling." On the leading edge of the tooth is the couplet:
Death to the Living long life to the killers
Success to sailors wives & greasy luck to whaler's
The reverse of the tooth depicts the "Susan" sailing towards the light house and keeper's house to the right. Above the "Susan" is a banner stating "The Susan on her homeward bound passage." The water under both views of the "Susan" is represented by four rows of wavy lines. The base of the tooth has an engraved border of crisscrossing vines. Along the bottom edge of the tooth near the base is the following text in large letters, "Ship Susan of Nantucket." (SC-1012)
Condition: There is a small chip at the base of the tooth which has been wax filled. There are a few typical age cracks around the tip and base. The tooth has a warm mellow patina. The engraving is crisp.
Provenance: In 1977, the tooth was brought to Paul Madden for evaluation by a man whose family had New Bedford whaling connections. This gentleman sold the tooth to a private collector in Connecticut in 1978 and then on to Hyland Granby Antiques.
Reference 1: Ridley, Donald E. and Stuart Frank, "Frederick Myrick of Nantucket Scrimshaw Catalogue Raisonne", Sharon, Massachusetts: The Kendall Whaling Museum, 2000, p. 27. This tooth has four illustrations and is described in detail.
Reference 2: Ridley, Donald E. and Janet West, "Frederick Myrick of Nantucket: Physical Characteristics of the Scrimshaw", Sharon, Massachusetts: The Kendall Whaling Museum, 2000, p. v.
"For a variety of reasons both historical and technical, Frederick Myrick (1808-1862) has been the most renowned of all scrimshaw practitioners, and has for a half century held the place of primacy among whaleman-artists. His prodigious output of three dozen minutely engraved sperm whale teeth appears to have been accomplished in the space of only a few months, from December 1828 to September 1829, during the latter part of a Pacific Ocean whaling voyage in the ship SUSAN of Nantucket - hence the term "Susan's Teeth" coined in 1955 by Everett Crosby to refer to Myrick's scrimshaw."
Dimensions: Length 7 inches; Height 2 1/4 inches.