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S/3924 Antique 18th Century Carved Scrimshaw Whale Bone Fid

A well worn 18th century carved scrimshaw whale bone fid, signed I. Mace and dated 1788. On one side is a scene of a whaling boat containing three sailors rowing, one steering and in the bow a sailor holding a harpoon. The whale has just escaped, diving with his tail about to disappear beneath the waves. On the other side is a single sailor holding a double ended paddle in a canoe. There is a groove and hole at the top of the fid for a rope strap. It has a well worn colour and excellent carving.

Fids were used for splicing ropes and whale bone ones are associated with whaling ships. They came in various sizes, often made of lignum vitae, and the largest one recorded is 52 inches in length, probably used on the massive anchor cables of a large vessel.


Sold 5 in. (14 cm.) Wide
1 in. (2.5 cm.) Diameter English Circa 1788