Nautical History

Impressive 19th century nautical archive featuring a merchant vessel captain's correspondence, a period telescope, binnacle case, an artfully carved scrimshaw whale's tooth, and a painting of a clipper ship

Archive of material including four letters to and from Capt. Joseph Mayhew (1822-1910), a merchant mariner based in southern New Jersey involved in trade along the Atlantic seaboard, with three tintype photographs including a sixth plate image of a young man and two smaller tintypes The letters and photographs are offered together with a scrimshaw whale's tooth bearing Mayhew's name (5" x 2.5" x 1"), a mid-19th Century telescoping spyglass (44" x 3") with original leather and cloth case baring an engraved dedication on the side of the glass to: "Capt. J. Mayhew From the Seaman's Rights Ass."; a large brass binnacle case (13" high and 12" approx. diameter) with an intact glass window; and a painting of a clipper ship (21" x 24") on a frame-backed canvas, adorned at the margin with a braided rope. Together, eight pieces in overall very good condition. 

Few details are known about Mayhew's life, which makes these few surviving letters all the more important. The archive includes an Autograph Letter Signed, "Joseph Mayhew," 1 page, 7.5" x 9.5" Rondout, New York, May 17, 1853 to his wife, writing in part: "…I Rather expect that I Shall take a Cargo of Coal from here to Providence Rhode island [sic and if I do after that I shall Stop in home…" The collection also includes a second Autograph Letter Signed, "Joseph Mayhew," 2 pages, 4.5" x 7.75", " [no place or date, but postmarked at Old Point Comfort, Va., March 21, a warm letter of devotion to his wife Deborah which reads, in part: "In Buckshutem I Did dwell A woman I loved So well For we have met we have loved we have Parted. How Dark looks this world And how Dreary When we Part from the ones that we love … I am lonely without thee the house So Slowly glide when far…" 

The group also includes two letters written to Joseph Mayhew, including an Autograph Letter Signed, "John Garrison," 3 pages, 7.75" x 9.5", Baltimore, April 14, 1843 complaining of economic stagnation: "…I think if the times is as hard in New Jersey as they are in Virginia the poor people will stand A poor chance these hard times for the Virginians has hard times to get A long for they can['t get any money to do business with for they can['t get anything for their Corn or Wood the best quality pine wood is worth one Dollar and fifty Cents and oaks two Dollars and I don['t expect that it is worth any more there. Every thing is cheap for people now like eating and wearing but they can['t get any money to buy with…"; an Autograph Letter Signed, "W.W. Godfrey," 1 page, 7.5" x 12.25", Tuckahoe, [New York, May 1, 1852 to Mayhew concerns a letter "…Stating that you find the Schooner John Roggers [sic in a Bad Condition With a Go[odmany Small Bills Standing Against her, Which is Nothing more than I Expected under Capt. Houck['s management,… myself and Thomas Russell are the true and lawful owners of one Eight of the Schooner John Roggers as you Will Perceive by the Papers, and Recorded in the Custom House as such…"


Item: 58253

Price: $5,000.00
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