Extremely rare and important scrimshaw whale tooth, engraved on board the ship "SUSAN" of Nantucket and signed: "Frederick Myrick" and dated: "Decem 28, 1828". This tooth which belonged to Everett Crosby was illustrated in his book, titled: "Susan's Teeth and Much About Scrimshaw". It can be fairly said that this tooth and its representation in Crosby's book form a foundation for the collecting of scrimshaw and has formed a starting point for the study of scrimshaw engraving as a form of American folk art. There are approximately 15 elements which are found amongst the 37 known works by Myrick of which 31 depict the ship "SUSAN". All of the known teeth have many of these elements, but few teeth contain as many as 13 elements. The 13 elements found on this tooth are described below:
1. Obverse: There is a banner which states: "The Susan on the coast of Japan", above a depiction of the "SUSAN" with a blank piece hoisted aboard, three whaleboats in water, whale with multiple spouts, whale's head jaw-up, whale's tail.
2. Reverse: There is a banner which states: "The Susan boiling & killing sperm whales", above a ship profile with smoke coming from the tryworks, two whale boats in water and two whales.
3. Couplet: "Death to the living long life to the killers Success to sailors wives & greasy luck to whalers"
4. Identification of ship and captain: "The Susan of Nantucket Frederick Swain Master"
5. Spread winged eagle with head up clutching arrows and olive branch.
6. Motto engraved in the banner: "E Pluribus Unum".
7. Engraved rainbow.
8. Crossed American flags.
9. Anchor with inverted stock.
10. Signature: "This was done by Frederick Myrick".
11. Made for: "For Mr. Prince Coffin". Prince Coffin was probably crew on board the "SUSAN". He was captain of the ship, "Statira" from Nantucket departing in 1830 and returning in 1833.
12. Dated: "Decem 28 1828".
13. Engraving of the top section of the globe.
Accompanying the Crosby Susan's tooth is Everett Crosby's personal copy of his book "Susan Teeth and much about Scrimshaw" which had a very limited printing and is considered a very rare book. (SC-1061)
Reference 1: Crosby, Everett U., "Susan's Teeth and much about Scrimshaw", Nantucket Island, Massachusetts: Tetaukimmo Press, 1955. This book describes and reproduces photographs in the first four full pages prior to page 1 images of the tooth descibed above. This book also indicates that the voyage where this tooth was engraved was the first of 7 voyages of the ship "SUSAN". The date of this voyage was August 21, 1826 to October 27, 1829. Besides discussing Susan's teeth specifically the book also illustrates and describes other scrimsahw theeth and different forms of scrimshaw.
Refrence 2: Meyer, Charles R., "Whaling and the Art of Scrimshaw", New York: David McKay Company, Inc, 1976, p.52. The obverse of this tooth is illustrated on page 52.
Refrence 3: Sotheby's, "The Barbara Johnson Whaling Collection: Part II", New York: September 24 and 25, 1982. This tooth is illustrated on the cover of this catalog and is illustrated in three photographs as Lot 420 along with a photograph of Edward Crosby working at his desk with this tooth to his left.
Reference 4: Frank, Stuart M. (Edited) and Donald E. Ridley (Compiled), "Frederick Myrick of Nantucket Scrimshaw Catalogue Raisonne", Sharon, Massachusetts: Kendall Whaling Museum Monograph Series No 13, 2000. This book illustrates and describes all known Susan's Teeth.
Reference 5: This tooth is described and illustrated in four views on page 5. 6. Lund, Judith Navas, "Whaling Masters and Whaling Voyages Sailing From American Ports", New Bedford Whaling Museum, Kendall Whaling Museum, Ten Pound Island Book Co.: Massachusetts, 2001, p.79.
Refrence 6: This tooth is pictured and described in the magizine "Antiques and Fine Arts" in the Spring 2003 issue.
It is fair to say that Susan's teeth are illustrated and described prominently in practicaly every book written on the subject of scrimshaw.
Provenance: Everett U. Crosby Collection . Edouard Stackpole Collection . Barbara Johnson Collection . Collection of an American gentleman
Condition: The tooth has two age cracks and a mellow age patina.
Dimension: Length 5 1/2 inches.