Friday, August 27, 2010
Scrimshaw Treasure? Think again....
While visiting a flea market or a small antiques shop off in the middle of nowhere, you come across a hidden treasure...an old walrus tusk with the image of a whaling scene on it and the name of a famous whaling ship, the CHARLES W. MORGAN...you grab for your wallet, shell out your cash and call Mystic Seaport to tell them you've found a treasure that you are sure they will want....unfortunately, they already have about a dozen of the same piece! How could this be? Yours is the original, so how did they get a copy? Well, the answer is easy...Fakeshaw, as it has been termed.
Over the years a number of companies have created pieces of "scrimshaw" by forming molds that resemble walrus tusks or sperm whale teeth and embedding information in them to make them look and feel like real scrimshaw. Unless you have a piece of real scrimshaw in your hand with which to compare it, the fake can seem quite authentic.
Pictured here is a MORGAN tusk, showing both sides, and cut in pieces to show that it is indeed plastic..so, if you find one of these pieces, you may still want to buy it to decorate your home, but don't expect any collectors or Museums to come knocking at your door...For more information on fakeshaw, visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum's webpage on the subject where you can find numerous pieces described.
Visit the following page. http://www.whalingmuseum.org/explore/databases/fakeshaw
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