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Rare Scrimshaw Top

According to Flayderman in Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders, the most definitive book written about the art of the Scrimshander . . ."Toys are among the most fascinating though also the rarest pieces of scrimshaw. Consider that the scrimshander himself was sometimes barely in his teens, some such "toys" were undoubtedly carved for his own pleasure. But sons, daughters, brothers, or sisters were the usual recipients of these products of the whaleman's art."

On some ships the captain's family went to sea with him and the crew frequently "adopted" the children and fashioned toys for their amusement. Utilizing whalebone, whale ivory, baleen and walrus ivory and esotic woods, the scrimshander had the ability to make most attractive toys. Their scarcity is "probably due to the characteristic treatment children - of whatever period - generally gave to their playthings." Also, don't forget that the Captain's cabin boy was in most cases a child and most likely the recipient of a gift of a toy for his amusement during the long quiet days between whale sightings and the furious activity that followed.

We are pleased to present this wonderful Toy Top beautifully fitted out with a rosewood handle with whalebone and whale ivory. The end of the handle is whalebone as is the top of the top . . . the rest is whale ivory. The top is fastened to a silk cord that is secured at the end with a slice of whale ivory from a small unpolished tooth. There is a small brass tip on the spinning tip of the top that is made of turned maple and the handle is inlaid with whale ivory in a decorative pattern. Rare and wonderful, this toy is a masterful accomplishment and a unique representation of the art of the Scrimshander.  The handle is 7-3/4" long and the top itself is 4-1/2" long.

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