Collectible Antique Ships, Boats, History Maine Nautical Antique Store

The making of a nautical antique shop

I have been a collector of nautical antiques for many years and have purchased and found many interesting nautical items including both large and small ship models, brass instruments etc. I grew up in boats and around boats of all sizes. Over the years (I'll let you guess how many) I have acquired quite a bit of knowledge about all sorts of things nautical.

A few years ago, after I retired, I began to realize that there were many people like me who enjoyed nautical "things," but had no idea how to go about collecting them. I found that I would like to pass that knowledge on to others. So, in 2002 I decided to set up a business dealing in nautical antiques. I spent that year and the year after searching high and low for good quality nautical "stuff." I found that there are very few pure nautical dealers around, and therefore their prices tended to be on the high side. I also found that the average antique dealer has limited knowledge in the nautical field. I have discovered that there are still good quality items to be found in people's attics and basements, particularly in the toy pond ship model area.

Good antiques are hard to find

As with most anything, there are both high, medium, and low quality nautical antiques. There are also many fakes, the most notable are brass items being imported from abroad. Good quality true antique instruments such as sextants and compasses are hard to find and command high prices. In addition, a collector must watch for fake schrimshaw. Good quality original carvings are rare, and hard to find on the open market.

Some ship models are found in glass cases, some are not. Most good antique ship models come from the eighteen hundreds as that was the "age of shipping". It is best to find one that has a name on it so that its history can be traced. There are many good reference books for this purpose. However, good models without names can still be traced by looking at the style of boat, approximate tonage etc. Domestic and foreign war ship models are important to some collectors.

Pond models are in various sizes and shapes. Most good pond models made in the United States are from the early 1900's to the early 1940's. The English models are usually somewhat earlier. There are two distinct types: planked, and solid hulls. Some were made from kits, while some were made "free hand". In addition, toy companies got into the act. Some models were of high quality and some were truly toys for kids. Shohenhut and JacRim were among the best toy made in the United States from the early 1900's to the early makers. There were ponds all over the country where adults (and kids too) sailed their models. Clubs were set up for racing. Marblehead Massachusetts started a club in the early 1900's and it still exists today. They had their own class of boats. I'd love to find one. Today, there are fewer clubs, and the models are sail radio controlled.

Marine art is typical of most art. Good listed artists such as Stubbs and Jacobsen command very high prices, but you can still find good quality affordable paintings. The key here is to "buy what you like."

A Passion for the Sea, Shared with You

Feel free to browse my web page, call me at any time, or send me your nautical antique questions. I would be glad to talk with you and give you any advice I can with no obligation. I would also be glad to look at "that model in the attic" and give you an idea what it might take to restore it and its value. Again, no charge or obligation.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Dave White