2614 Antique Scrimshaw Tooth Engraved with Naval Engagement of the War of 1812
Wonderfully engraved scrimshaw tooth depicting an important naval engagement of the War of 1812. This deeply incised and heavily pigmented tooth is inscribed "THE ESSEX AND BRITISH FRIGATES IN THE BAY OF VALPARAISO". The reverse of the tooth was smoothed out to allow it to rest on a flat surface. Polychromed. 5 1/4 in. long. ca. 1840. Great patina.
The USS Essex was a 32-gun frigate launched in 1799, and was one of the heros of the War of 1812. In January 1813, under command of Captain David Porter she sailed into the Pacific in an attempt to harass British shipping. She inflicted an estimated $3,000,000 damage before she was captured off Valparaiso, Chile, by the HMS Phoebe and the HMS Cherub on March 28, 1814.
The source of the image on this tooth is an engraving found on page 139 of American Naval Battles; Being a Complete History of the Battles Fought by the Navy of the United States............................; Published in Boston by Charles Gaylord, 1840.