14268 Wonderful Antique Scrimshaw Swift with Carved Hand Clamp
An excellent antique scrimshaw swift, made of whale ivory and whalebone with a wooden shaft. This swift or yarn winder has 16 double whalebone arms radiating out from whale ivory cage collars at the top and bottom. At the top, a whale ivory cup sits above 2 sections of turned and scribed whale ivory. The base clamp is a wonderful carved whale ivory fist which supports the base of the wooden shaft. The cuff of the hand is inlaid with silver (?) dots and triangles of horn or baleen. A young lady is engraved on the top side of the clamp which would mount on a table. There is a wooden thumbscrew. A thin horn (?) disc separates the base bottom collar from a turned ivory section with inlaid ivory thumbscrew. The swift is all original in very good condition with an old metal collar repair to one rib, as shown in the pictures. A very minor crack is in one of the sprockets of the base collar.
18 1/2 in. tall. Opens to a diameter of 19 in. Mid 19th century.
This is a very unusual swift, as virtually all swifts have 6 or a multiple of 6 arms. We have never seen one with 16 arms. It comes from a very fine old Nantucket collection