Scrimshaw Collectors’ Weekend 2009

Pair of sperm whale teeth with portraits of women

Pair of sperm whale teeth with portraits of women

Scrimshaw Collection in Warren, Rhode Island

Attendees of the 2009 Scrimshaw Collectors’ Weekend at the New Bedford Whaling Museum participated in a field trip to the Charles Whipple Greene Museum located in Warren, Rhode Island, to view the museum’s collection of scrimshaw. Although the collection is small, there are a number of very fine examples of mid-19th-century scrimshaw.

The whaling industry was economically important in the state of Rhode Island in the 19th century, and the town of Warren boasted the largest fleet. From 1821 to 1861, 49 different vessels sailed out of Warren on whaling voyages.

See complete set of photos below …

21 responses to “Scrimshaw Collectors’ Weekend 2009

  1. Hi Everybody
    For members living outside of the States (Ausralia in my case) this is a great initative allowing us to see some of the weekend highlights as well as keeping up with what is happening at the museum.
    Trevor & Gabrielle Cross



    • Richard,

      Your scrimshaw sounds interesting. High-resolution, close-up JPG photos or JPG scans of your tooth would be most helpful before opinions could be offered.

      Please consider e-mailing JPGs to the NBWM, and also to me at

      Douglass Moody
      Member, NBWM

    • Richard, I have an identically same tooth, Warren, Ellesworth, etc Did you ever get any confirmation on yours? Jim

      • Jim & Richard,

        Your identical items are mass-produced resin reproductions known as fakeshaw. Tens of thousands of these reproductions are in existence, although “Ship Sudbury” was not as popular (fewer mase) than other repros.

        Douglass Moody
        Member, NBWM

    • William Stockwell

      I also have a tooth with Ship Sudsbury 1820 with Warren and Ellsworth how can you tell if it is resin or tooth?

      Thank you,


      • Your Sudsbury item is a mass-produced, resin facsimile (fakeshaw) of a scrimshawed whale tooth. Thousands of reproductions exist, but NO original scrimshawed whale tooth exists, as the original pattern was designed by John Adams, Cheif Moldmaker for the Juratone Company in the 1970s.

  3. I have a scrimshaw, 6 inches long with river steamboat scene on one side and and a scene with an African American family on a rooftop in a flood on the other. There is writing on the log on one side, but I can’t make out what it says. It has been examined by a Maritime museum here in Australia and has been determined to be authentic. Does you know of it’s history or value?

    • Richard – WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, your item is a resin “reproduction”, known among collectors as “Fakeshaw”. In your case, the term reproduction only means mass-produced, as no original scrimshaw was copied. The designs were created by the Juratone cheif mold-maker John Adams, most likely copied from printed material.

      Cite this source by Stuart M. Frank, Curator of the Kendall Collection, New Bedford Whaling Museum. (See: Fakeshaw: A Checklist of Plastic Scrimshaw. Kendall Whaling Museum Monograph Series, Nº1, 1988, 3rd Revised Edition, 11 illus., 300 items, ©2001.
      Page 10
      GREAT FLOOD (Plantation Scene) Tooth, 8-in (20.3-cm).
      Juratone 124 TH. NO TEXT
      Obv: Nine black men, women, and children standing and sitting on a rooftop, with two men fending off floating debris, surrounded by flood waters and drooping trees. Rev: Swollen river waters; small boat with three passengers in foreground, farmhouse on bank, stern-wheeler steamboat in center.
      GREAT FLOOD (Plantation Scene) Tooth, 5.5-in (14-cm)
      Grooveport SJ29.

    • Richard – An illustrated article to help you discern authentic from fake:


  4. Charolette McDonald

    Hi – I have a small carved white horse that appears to be carved from ivory or bone and it is in a rearing position with a black wood base. It has a sideways “8” on its side in a lighter shade – is this a trademark – have you seen something like this before? Any help would be appreciated. Horse is 3 1/4″ tall and base is 3 1/2″ long by 1 1/2″ high. Thanks

  5. Brittany Pipitone

    My name is Brittany Pipitone, I have two pieces of scrimshaw I am looking to sell. The first is over 900 years old, it was carved as an ice axe out of a walrus tusk, then someone painted a ship and some dolphins on it. The artist is Salman Rashioi and the base is rosewood. This piece of scrimshaw is 11.5″ long, and 17.82 oz.

    The second piece is a whale’s tooth, and the front has an eagle’s head painted on it by the famous artist M. Stothart, it is 4.25″ long and 3.70 in., also another great piece. Let me know if you have any more questions, want pictures, or are interested or know anyone interested in either piece. Thanks for your time!!!

  6. Kath Hunneysett

    Dear Richard and Jim
    Would you know anything about a ‘horn’ beaker, with a ship and obscured lettering on one side, and an old captain type gentleman on the other with ‘Dapper Peer’ on the other? The man side is almost identical to the McKendre tooth illustrated above as belonging to the Rhode Museum. The horn belongs to a friend of mine who would dearly like to know more about it. Many thanks for any information you can provide.
    Kath Hunneysett

    • Jack HT Chang MD

      Hi Kath,
      There is a tooth at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem with Dapper Peer (reverse Obscure Beauty) likely by the same hand. Would it be possible to get a photo of the ‘horn’ beaker for comparison? I work with Stuart Frank and the Scrimshaw Forensic Panel at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. By accumulating all the works of a particular artist, we sometimes can discover information and even the identity of the artist. Thank you, Jack HT Chang, MD

  7. i have a whales tooth that measures 6.5″ long and around the middle also measures approx.6.5″. on one side is a piture of a ship with the name mereator.on the reverse side has a piture of partley naked lady holding a harp on her right the bottom below her feet there is a small date that reads any one know what i have. thank you.

  8. i have a whales tooth.on one side has a picture of a ship with the name mereator on it.on the back side has a picture of a partly naked lady holding a harp on her right the bottom of her feet has a small date 1861. do anybody have an idea of what i have.thank you.

  9. I have what I believe to be an early (1980) resin reproduction from Juratone of the “Whaler Topaz” on pan bone. A comparison with more modern reproductions shows several differences between the pieces (i.e. signature of James Allen on mine reads clearly as an “A” for Allen and other reproductions show this as the middle initial “T” followed by “Allen”) Is there any increased value for an earlier reproduction? Where can I find what it is worth?

  10. Hello, I have what appears to be a whale tooth 7″ in length with an eagle head etched on it. I have done the simple testing of the hot pin and checked the appearences compared to the suggestions on the web and everything appears to show it to be real. I have had this piece for 30 years given to me by G. Grandfather, but sadly he passed before I really asked details because I was yound and didnt even think of it. Can you help if I send picutres of the item, weight, ..
    Joseph Mapula.

    • Jack HT Chang MD

      A picture would be helpful, high resolution if possible. Also take a photo of the reverse side and the pulp cavity. The hot pin test is really not very good to determine genuine ivory.

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