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These are some of the SOLD items that have been listed on our website

There are a maximum of 20 items on each page - our most recent sale is listed first - this is now quite a large reference record. If you have a specific interest, use our keyword search to search the entire stock database.


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Reference Stock Item   Description
3108 HMS Sheffield Copper Ashtray - Click for the bigger picture SoldHMS Sheffield Copper Ashtray - This tray seems to relate to the first Royal Navy ship to be named, HMS Sheffield, a Cruiser of 9,100 tons launched in 1936. Here fittings were made from stainless steel rather than brass and as a result she was always known as 'The Shiny Sheff'! She survived WW11 and was not broken up until 1967. Sadly the next ship to carry this name was lost to an Exocet in the Falkland's war in 1982. These little trays were offered for sale onboard via the NAAFI shop to serving crew members and were mainly bought as gift for friends and relations back home. This and the rest of the small collection we are listing today are all of the period and would make a great gift for anyone with an association with this fine ship. Measures 3.75" diameter (9.5 cm)

6813 H.M.S. Gunner Trench Art Ashtray - Click for the bigger picture SoldH.M.S. Gunner Trench Art Ashtray - This is the second “Gunner” dish we have listed this week but with this one absolutely no doubt to which ship or base it relates to. It is ornately engraved “ HMS Gunner” and also carries below the dated 1918. The only other Navy ship to carry this name was not launched until 1927 so this clearly relates to the WW1 vessel that was based at Granton harbour in Scotland and was operational from 1915-1919 and used as the base for mine-sweeping, utilising mainly Scottish trawlers and their crews, called into active service and conscripted as part of the Royal Navy Reserve. The base itself also acquired the name of "HMS Gunner" in reference to the name of the largest converted trawler/minesweeper in its fleet. Granton harbour was also home to decoy ships (Q-ships) and anti-submarine vessels. Conscripted fishing vessels were regarded as part of the Royal Navy so our ashtray is probably associated with this vessel or possibly the Granton land base itself which was otherwise known as a “Stone Frigate”.

The tray is made from beaten copper, in an arts and crafts style, and is clearly hand rather than commercially made. In addition to the ships name “HMS Gunner” and the date it also carries what appears to be initials to the centre reading “AWS”, which could possibly help identify the hands that made it 4.5” (11.5 cm). With the festive season fast approaching this could be the ideal stocking filler for the Royal Navy or trench art collector in your life!

2481 H.M.S. Vernon Ward Room Presentation Silver Napkin Ring - Click for the bigger picture SoldH.M.S. Vernon Ward Room Presentation Silver Napkin Ring - Another super item we bought at auction in 2005 but was subsequently mislaid in our stock room, but which has finally seen the light of day, together with a number of other assorted items that came in the mixed lot.

This napkin ring, made in Sheffield in 1905 carries makers marks to H.A. signifying the maker was Atkins Brothers of Sheffield, a business that traces its origins to Thomas Law, a silversmith active in Sheffield from 1750 until 1775.

The front of the ring is engraved ‘W.R. Officers’ an ‘8’ and below H.M.S.Vernon ; W.R. identifies this ring was for use in the Ward Room Officers Mess. On the reverse is a presentation engraving ‘From E.C.B.’ We assume the individual with these initials presented the ring to the Ward Room Officers Mess of HMS Vernon sometime around 1905. The inside of the ring is named to S.Lanyon, 4 Ordinance Row, Portsmouth so we assume this was the supplier. In addition scratched in the silver is number P22194. We have identified a similarly marked ring is held in the Imperial War Museums London collection.

HMS Vernon was a shore establishment or "stone frigate" of the Royal Navy. Vernon was established on 26th April 1876 as the Royal Navy's Torpedo Branch and was named after the ship HMS Vernon which served as part of its floating base. After the First World War, HMS Vernon moved ashore, taking over the Gunwharf site, where it continued to operate until 1st April 1996. The ring shows minor service wear but seeing it is well over 100 years old it is in amazing condition and would provide an ideal stocking filler for the Royal Naval collector in your life.

2480 Brass Merchant Navy Desk Plaque - Click for the bigger picture SoldBrass Merchant Navy Desk Plaque - We bought this little item at auction in 2005 and it subsequently got mislaid in our stock room over the last 14 years, but it has finally seen the light of day again today, together with a number of other assorted miscellaneous items that came in the mixed lot! King George V bestowed the title of "Merchant Navy" on the British merchant shipping fleets following their service in the First World War. Our crest is made from a very solid lump of cast brass and is in standard form with an oval surround of rope, knotted at bottom and surmounted by a naval crown with ‘MN’ embossed within. It is securely mounted on a polished hardwood mount that comes complete with a support strut for display purposes The mount measures 5” x 3 ½” (12.5 cm x 9 cm) and with the Christmas season fast approaching this would be the ideal stocking filler for the Merchant Navy collector (or veteran) in your life!

2479 H.M.S. Gunner R.N.V.R. Brass Tray - Click for the bigger picture SoldH.M.S. Gunner R.N.V.R. Brass Tray - We have researched two possible scenarios for the this fine brass tray, the final item from the mainly Royal Naval collection we have just listed. The first possibility relates to WW1 when Granton harbour in Scotland was used as the base for mine-sweeping, utilising mainly Scottish trawlers and their crews, called into active service and conscripted as part of the Royal Navy Reserve. Granton was operational from 1915-1919 and was officially renamed as "HMS Gunner" in reference to the name of the largest trawler in its fleet. The harbour was then home to mine-sweepers, decoy ships (Q-ships), and anti-submarine vessels. Conscripted fishing vessels were regarded as part of the Royal Navy so our tray may relate to this trawler/minesweeper or to the associated land base.

The alternative possibility is this relates to a conscripted trawler FY568, built by Cochrane & Sons Shipbuilders Ltd in 1927 and taken over by the Admiralty in September 1939; she was 350 tons and was armed with a single 12 pdr anti-aircraft gun, mounted on the foredeck. As in WW1 and despite the Royal Navy being the largest in the world, it was still not big enough to protect the convoys of merchant ships bringing goods and raw materials to our Island Nation. The Admiralty therefore requisitioned suitable ships to be used as minesweepers, many being trawler and drifters, that could simply be converted for minesweeping rather than fishing duties. These were normally commanded by RNR/RNVR (Royal Navy Reserve or the Volunteer Reserve) Lieutenants but often the ships were manned by their civilian crews. HMS Gunner served throughout the war, survived and was returned to her owners in 1946 and was finally scrapped in Ghent Belgium in 1954.

The tray carries a standard Royal Navy crest of Crown, Wreath and Anchor with R.N.V.R. above signifying Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. Below is the ships name H.M.S. Gunner;it remains in remakably good condition with just the odd age mark to the brass. Either of the two suggested scenarios fit as no other vessel has ever served with the Navy that has carried the name 'Gunner'. We tend to think the second option is most applicable but all we can say for sure only one is the true story but we will leave that for the new owner to decide! The tray's diameter is 6” (15 cm) and would ne an ideal stocking filler for the Royal Naval collector in your life!

2478 HMS Apollo D- Day Trench Art - Click for the bigger picture SoldHMS Apollo D- Day Trench Art - Another item we bought at auction in 2005 but was subsequently mislaid in our stock room for the last 14 years, but it has finally seen the light of day, together with a number of other assorted items that came in the mixed lot. Small but historically interesting, it is made from a 1943 dated expended shell case that has been display mounted on a hardwood base. To the front is a white metal plaque that has been embossed ‘HMS Apollo D-Day 6.6.44’.

Our research indicated HMS Apollo was an Abdiel-class minelayer of the Royal Navy, the eighth RN ship to carry the name. She was commissioned in February 1944 and joined the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow before setting out for Plymouth for minelaying operations in support of the planned invasion of France. She loaded mines at Milford Haven and commenced a series of operations off the French coast of Brittany between Ushant and Île Vierge. She was detached for duty in "Operation Neptune" and on 7 June and carried Allied Supreme Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Naval Commander in Chief Admiral Bertram Ramsay, General Bernard Law Montgomery and staff officers from SHAEF, to visit the assault beaches. Unfortunately Apollo grounded while underway, damaging her propellers, and her VIP passengers were transferred to the appropriately named destroyer HMS Undaunted!

Sadly we have no provenance with the item but seems most likely it was made by a crew member of Apollo from scrap materials recovered but we have no idea where it subsequently resided for the next 61 years before turning up in an Exeter auction house.

An ideal Christmas stocking filler for anyone with associations with Apollo (she was placed on Reserve in 1961 and was broken up at Blyth, Northumberland in November 1962) or to the collector of Royal Navy trench art in your life. Measures 5” from base to top of shell case (12.5 cm)

2476 A/S Mk10 Mortar Shell Case Trench Art - Click for the bigger picture SoldA/S Mk10 Mortar Shell Case Trench Art - Here is another item from our ‘Pandora’s box’ of mainly Royal Navy related items. In this instance we have a fine example of post war Royal Navy trench art, in the form of an ashtray made from a cut down shell case. The face plate is profusely stamped including A/S Mk10 Mortar Mk2. Online research indicates this is made from a Limbo, or Anti-Submarine Mortar Mark 10 which was the final British development of a forward-throwing anti-submarine weapon originally designed during the Second World War. Limbo, a three-barrelled mortar similar to the earlier Hedgehog and Squid which it superseded, was developed by the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment in the 1950s. It was installed on the quarterdeck of Royal Navy escort ships from 1955 to the mid-1990’s and was used in the 1982 Falklands War. When a contact had been confirmed as a hostile submarine, the SC manually fired the Mortar Mk 10 from the SCR upon receiving the order from the captain in the operations room. The firing was done by means of a pistol grip and trigger mounted to the deckhead immediately behind the Mark 10 Mortar. Limbo had a max range of about 1000 yards.

Our shell case is dated 1962 and a further stamp 6/63. It is also marked ECC indicating it was made by Edward Curran & Co. The original length of the shell case before it was cut down was 305 mm with a diameter of 115mm. Inside the base of the shell case, mounted where the detonator cap used to be is a pre decimal original British Penny piece that is dated 1967 and shows and image of Britannia ;the “old penny" ceased to be legal tender after 31 August 1971. The ashtray is 4 ½” diameter (11.5 cm) and stands 1.25” high (3 cm). The item is completely inert and would make a fine addition to a trench art of British Naval shell case collection and with the festive season approaching would make a great stocking filler!

2794 Alldays & Onion Bellows Fog Horn - Click for the bigger picture SoldAlldays & Onion Bellows Fog Horn - A superb example used as a mobile fog horn on vessels at sea from the late 1800's. The firm of Alldays & Onion of Birmingham was formed in 1889 and subsequently went on to work in the motor industry. A scarce and decorative marine antique, they were amazingly used by the Royal Navy up until WWII. Whilst Bargain Hunt was filming on our stand at a fair, host David Dickinson told us he had never encountered one before and proceeded to film a similar example for the show. The instrument is made from elm and leather whilst the trumpet is brass. Interestingly, the elm carries Welsh script which we will endeavour to have translated and will add to our description. While for sale as a decorative item, it still has a good voice despite dating from the 19th century!
3110 HMS Revenge Copper Ashtray - Click for the bigger picture SoldHMS Revenge Copper Ashtray - This tray seems to relate to the Battleship HMS Revenge launched in 1915 and weighed 25,750 tons. and took part in both the Battle of Jutland and operation Overlord in WW11 and was scrapped in 1948. These little trays were offered for sale onboard via the NAAFI shop to serving crew members and were mainly bought as gift for friends and relations back home. This and the rest of the small collection we are listing today are all of the period and would make a great gift for anyone with an association with this fine ship. Measures 3.75" diameter (9.5cm)
2286 HMS Devonshire and HMS Isis Original Watercolour Paintings - Click for the bigger picture SoldHMS Devonshire and HMS Isis Original Watercolour Paintings - The pair, mounted and framed and both signed M.Wolverson. We have been unable to trace any information on the artist but if any visitors to the site can add anything please get in touch and we will add to this listing. Whilst neither painting is dated we believe them to be period works. HMS Devonshire was the lead ship of her class of six armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy and was launched in 1904. She served throughout WW1 but was paid off and sold for scrapping in 1923. Her four funnels and distinctive bow shape are shown off to good advantage in our painting.

HMS Isis was an Eclipse-class protected cruiser built for the Royal Navy and launched in 1896. She served until 1902, when she was put in the Reserve Fleet, but in August 1914 with the outbreak of war Isis was brought out of the reserve and deployed to the 11th Cruiser Squadron based at Queenstown, Ireland. She survived the War to be scrapped in 1920.

Both paintings show the ships at anchor with a lighter alongside each, with the shoreline depicted behind at unknown locations. The paintings are still bright but minor signs of age and as ever a few 'thunder flies have gained access to the card mounts. The pictures may benefit from being opened and cleaned but we will leave this decision to the new owners. The frames are identical in size at 12 1/2" x 9 1/2" (31.5 cm x 24 cm) whilst the paintings themselves measure 8 1/4" x 4 1/2" (20.5 cm x 11.5 cm). These represent quite scarce subjects depicting two Royal Naval ships at the turn of the 19th century.

636 HMS Worcester Transom Board Seat Back - Click for the bigger picture SoldHMS Worcester Transom Board Seat Back - A unique item of treen with interesting provenance. Built as a first rate screw ship in 1860 called "Frederick William", she was subsequently renamed "Worcester" and became a training ship for merchant navy cadets and was moored on the Thames at Greenhithe. She foundered on her moorings 30.08.48 with the hulk being raised for breakup in 1953. This seat back, which we believe to be from one of the ship's boats (possibly the Admiral's barge), was recovered from the Thames foreshore shortly after the sinking 62 years ago. Made from polished hardwood with marquetry inserts to centre. Measures 50" x 19" (127cm x 48cm)
3309 Lord High Admiral of Great Britain Original Desk Seal with Royal Associations - Click for the bigger picture SoldLord High Admiral of Great Britain Original Desk Seal with Royal Associations - If only this one could talk! We have just purchased this seal from a private collector here in the West Country, South West England. Whilst looking like a fairly well used and mundane desk seal we have deciphered the Latin inscription of the seal which reads :- ‘SIGIL:OFFI:MAG:ADMIR:MAG:BR & C’ and enclosed within is the fouled anchor device of the British Royal Navy. In translation the wording reads:- ‘The Seal of the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain’. Further detective work indicates this office of state dates back to 1405 and the Lord High Admiral of England, Great Britain and then the United Kingdom is the titular head of the Royal Navy. Most holders have been courtiers or members of the Royal Family and include the Duke of York, Charles11, King James 11 and Queen Anne. The incumbents were mainly not professional Naval officers and the office of Lord High Admiral remains one of the nine English Great Officers of State. The position has remained extant until finally abolished in 1964 when the functions of the Admiralty were transferred to the Secretary of State for Defence and the ancient title of Lord High Admiral was transferred to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11. The Queen held the title for 47 years up until 2011 when she conferred the office upon her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, as part of the celebrations for his 90th birthday and he remains the current holder. The Queen chose this title to honour her husband with as he served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and gave up a promising naval career to support her as consort.

The seal handle is made from an ebonised hardwood and judging from the wear it has had significant usage during its working life, that just adds to its charm. The metal seal remains in perfect condition and is not worn and would work today as well as it has done during a long service life. We would estimate it dates from the first half of the 20th century. Sadly its significant history has been lost down the years but it is probably safe to speculate this modest item has served to seal documents of state over many years and could well have spent its working life at Buckingham Place; we can almost smell the distinctive aroma of hot red sealing wax here in the Oldnautibits HQ today! Certainly a one off item and we are unlikely to ever find another. With a clear connection to the British Royal Family grab it whilst you can! Measures 3.75” (9.5 cm)

3105 HMS Cornwall Copper Ashtray - Click for the bigger picture SoldHMS Cornwall Copper Ashtray - HMS Cornwall was a Royal Navy Cruiser launched in Davenport in 1926 of 9,800 tons. She served in WW11 until sunk by Japanese aircraft in the Indian Ocean on 5th April 1942 together with 192 members of her crew. These little trays were offered for sale onboard via the NAAFI shop to serving crew members and were mainly bought as gift for friends and relations back home. This and the rest of the small collection we are listing today are all of the period and would make a great gift for anyone with an association with this fine ship. Measures 3" diameter (7.5 cm)
5041 WW11 Childs Kapok Flotation Device - Click for the bigger picture SoldWW11 Childs Kapok Flotation Device - This is most certainly a first for us! Whilst clearly stamped to the front ‘Child’ looking at its diminutive size one almost feels ‘baby’ would have been a more accurate description! Below is stamped in ink ‘MT’ and a Kings Crown ; we believe this refers to the Ministry of Transport which was formed in 1941 when it merged with the Ministry of Shipping with responsibility for sea transport. A further stamp appears to read A.M, and is dated of August 22nd 1945 (although could be’49) and finally ‘Sunderland’. Whilst only speculation could this have been a vest taken on charge by the Air Ministry for use flying civilian passengers on Sunderland flying boats?Alternatively it could simply have originated from the port town of Sunderland. The back kapok pad carries the logo of a lifebelt and in the centre is marked ‘Reverse’.

The condition of the vest is what we would described in designer terms as ‘shabby chic’, with water stains and storage marks but is in generally good display condition. It remains a bit of an enigma but it almost certainly has a story to tell if only it could talk. If any visitors to the site can enlighten us a little more with it’s background please get in touch and we can add to our description. This would make a perfect stage or film prop and an ideal accessory if TV’s ‘Call the Midwife' ever need to take their young charges to sea!

PC213 Voyage of the 'New Golden Hinde' Parchment Sea Chart 1974 - Click for the bigger picture SoldVoyage of the 'New Golden Hinde' Parchment Sea Chart 1974 - An intriguing and possibly unique chart showing the intended passage of the full size replica of the new 'Golden Hinde'. She was commissioned by two American businessmen, Albert Elledge and Art Blum, who wished to commemorate the vessel sailed by Sir Francis Drake on his circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580 and specifically the 400th anniversary of Sir Francis Drake's landing on the west coast of North America in 1579. The ship was designed by Loring Christian Norgaard, a Californian naval architect, who spent three years researching it, drawing on original journals of the crew members and other manuscripts. The building of the ship was given to J Hinks & Son of Appledore, North Devon, using traditional methods and tools. She was named 'The New Golden Hinde' by the Countess of Devon and was launched on 5th April, 1973.

She subsequently sailed out of Plymouth on her maiden voyage in late 1974 via Barbados and transited through the Suez Canal, a facility not available to Sir Francis Drake, but her insurers and we suspect owners would not allow a voyage via Cape Horn as the original vessel was routed 400 years before! She was nearly lost in a hurricane but finally arrived in San Francisco on 8th May 1975 and the skipper and crew were given a hero's welcome by the locals and so achieved their aim of commemorating Sir Francis' proclamation of New Albion at a site believed to have been in northern California in 1579. Since then she has travelled more than 140,000 miles (225,000 km) and has sailed around the world whilst also starring in various movies including 'Shogun' filmed in Japan in 1979, 'Drake's Adventure' and ' St Tinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold'. Following numerous adventures worldwide 'The New Golden Hinde' has been berthed since 1996 at St Mary Overie Dock in London although she did sail to Southampton in 2003. She is open to the public as well as hosting a range of educational programmes for school visits and can also be booked for private functions.

Our chart, which shows some age wear and minor fading to the edges, is printed on material which gives the impression of the sail cloth used on treasure maps. It appears to have been produced by Adrian Small and is dated 1973. Our research indicates Captain Small was the Skipper on the maiden voyage. The chart is entitled 'Proposed route of the New Golden Hinde ' and dated 1973 which has been crossed out and changed to 1974. It is dedicated to 'Sid Walker Esq, B.O.J. Surveyor With all Good Wishes ' and signed ‘Adrian Small, Master and dated 28th September 1974’. The voyage chart was discovered in the attic of the Plymouth home of Sid & Sara Walker by the new owners back in 1994. We assume Sid Walker (who was apparently a real character and had metal mooring buoys as garden features at this home) assisted on' the Golden Hinde' project and this chart was presented to him as a form of thanks. It measures 32 1/2" x 21" (83 cm x 53 cm). Having languished in a Plymouth attic for many years this historical artefact is now in need of a new owner to be treasured and displayed as it deserved.

5382 Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Working Dress Blouse - Click for the bigger picture SoldRoyal Navy Lieutenant Commander Working Dress Blouse - A genuine WW11 issue 1944 dated RN Officers Working Dress (BD) blouse in totally original condition. The hard backed rank shoulder boards are sewn on and with the purple background indicate the original owner served with the engineering branch; sadly the garment is not named. Interestingly in the opening years of the Second World War the Royal Navy refused to adopt battledress for officers aboard ship but despite this dyed army battledress was modified and worn on duty. Finally their Lordships at the Admiralty authorised officers to wear ‘Working Dress’ ; they could not bring themselves to call it 'Battledress' as was adopted by both the Army and the RAF. The Working Dress, also designated '5A' was immediately popular and officers could either obtain it from the stores or have a set made up by their tailor.

This scarce example was an issue item and carries a good clear Admiralty label indicating the blouse is a size 9 to fit an Officer of height 5' 7"-5' 8", Breast 39"-40" and waist size 34"-35". It was manufactured by H. Lotery & Co Ltd and dated 1944. The blouse features quality Royal Naval pattern brass buttons with kings crown and anchor motif made by Gaunt of London. The inside of the unlined blouse still retain original paper labels confirming the size. Two breast pocket are fitted with button closure whilst the waist has a short strap and a single button. It is in generally very good display condition with just a few minor moth nibbles, but seeing it is 74 years old is has survived in remarkably well.

6576 Board of Trade Life Jacket - Click for the bigger picture SoldBoard of Trade Life Jacket - An original ships life vest stamped ' Standard',' Front' and for 'Persons of 70 Lb. or More.' It appears to be kapok lined and the outer is finished in a dayglo orange material, which has some stains and minor paint splashes commensurate with age, but is generally in very good condition. It comes complete with various straps and a Mk11 Perry emergency whistle which is attached to a lanyard, for attracting attention at night. This item is sold as a collectable only and would add an authentic touch to a nautical themed room and would of course be ideal if you should be attending a 'Titanic' or 'What you were wearing when the ship went down' themed party! The jacket is surprisingly not dated but the British Board of Trade was merged with the Ministry of Technology in 1970 to form the Department of Trade and Industry so we estimate this probably dates from the 1960's. The jacket weighs in at over 2 kilos unpacked so please check delivery charges before ordering. It measures 34" x 20" (86 cm x 51 cm).
5101 Royal Navy Officers Working Dress Blouse - Click for the bigger picture SoldRoyal Navy Officers Working Dress Blouse - Another genuine WW11 issue 1944 dated RN Officers Working Dress (BD) blouse in totally original condition which we are listing today. This one does not carry rank shoulder boards and is unnamed but judging by its excellent overall condition it may actually be unissued. In the opening years of the Second World War the Royal Navy refused to adopt battledress for officers aboard ship but despite this dyed army battledress was modified and worn on duty. Finally their Lordships at the Admiralty authorised officers to wear ‘Working Dress’ ; they could not bring themselves to call it 'Battledress' as was adopted by both the Army and the RAF. The Working Dress, also designated '5A' was immediately popular and officers could either obtain it from the stores or have a set made up by their tailor.

This scarce example was an issue item and carries a good clear Admiralty label indicating 'Admiralty Blue Serge Working Dress Blouse Officer's. This one is in a very scarce Size15 to fit an Officer of height 5' 11"- 6' 0", Breast 42"-43" and waist size 37"-38". It was manufactured by H. Lotery & Co Ltd and dated 1944. In addition the waist band is also stamped with an Admiralty anchor. Thee blouse features quality Royal Naval pattern brass buttons with kings crown and anchor motif made by Gieves of London. The inside of the unlined blouse still retain original paper labels confirming the size. Two breast pocket are fitted with button closure whilst the waist has a short strap fastening and triple brass buttons for correct fitting button. Despite its 74 years this BD remains in remarkable condition with just one minor moth nibble to the rear of the collar. Whilst for sale, like all our stock, as a collectable this one would certainly be strong enough to wear and with the added advantage of being an almost impossible to find large size wartime dated blouse.

256 Ex Trawler 5 Spoke Brass Ships Wheel - Click for the bigger picture SoldEx Trawler 5 Spoke Brass Ships Wheel - This one is an absolute beauty! It was recovered from a redundant trawler when she was broken up in Devon, South West England in the late 20th century. Sadly the name of the vessel was not recorded so we know nothing of her history but she certainly had a very fine helm, typical of the type used on a working boat.

When it came in it was nearly black but with some careful polishing it now glows, with a great patina that has an almost orange tint and could actually be bronze rather than brass, but we will leave that for the experts to decide. It is also heavy weighing in at 6 kilos, so please check delivery costs with us before ordering. It would look stunning in an appropriate nautical collection or as a focal point in a marine themed room. And whilst like all our stock it is for sale as a collectable we see no reason why it could not go back to sea, were you to own the appropriate classic little ship! The design is typical of wheels used on working boots and made without separate spokes but instead features a steering wheel rim and a 'lazy handle' to enable the helmsman to turn the wheel quickly when manoeuvring and without fear of the wheel spinning and the spokes catching and causing injury.

This wheel measures a modest 15.75" diameter (40 cm) so it is a very useful size for display and it will not dominate its surroundings and so much nicer than the mass of modern replica wheels now flooding the market. This one has been there and earned a hard living over the years but it is not finished yet!

1384 WW1 Convoy or Zig-Zag Clock - Click for the bigger picture SoldWW1 Convoy or Zig-Zag Clock - Zig-Zag clocks from WW1 are almost impossible to find and even WW2 examples are both scarce and expensive. The last one of these we had in was back in 2004 so it has been a long wait to secure another! We had previously thought the maker was the US based company Seth Thomas but with online research we have located an identical example which was identified by the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport as being manufactured around 1915 by The Standard Time Watch Company of New York, who traded between 1885-1926.

This rare early example dates from the first part of the 20th century. In WW1 England was suffering huge losses amongst it's merchant fleet due to German submarine actions. It was therefore decided convoys should not sail a straight course and so avoid providing a easy target for German torpedoes. A means had to be found for large convoys to all alter course at exactly the same moment so as to avoid collisions and these clocks were the tools to do it. Secret sealed orders were issued to all the Captains prior to sailing and these gave the exact time when the helmsman should alter course on a predesignated bearing, in unison with the rest of the fleet, often out of vision and without the need to break radio silence or to use Morse signals. The electrical connector on the hand (now absent) would touched the contact on the brass ring attached to the dial and so complete a circuit which sounded a bell at pre-set times. Every time the bell rang the helmsman would change course.

These clock were of basic utility design and made without a bezel or glass exactly as our example. The dial is original, is unnamed and has not been refinished in any way. The metal case has been repainted and has three brass mounting lugs for bulkhead attachment. Three moveable brass contacts remain on the external brass bezel and at the base of the clock are two screw fitted terminals where the bell or buzzer would have been connected. The minute hand carries the remains of the electrical connector whilst the hour and second hands are of standard design. The clockwork mechanism is key wound and is working happily here in the office although we have no record when it was last serviced and it may be wise for a new owner to have this done seeing the age of this timepiece.

As with all our stock feel free to contact us for more detailed pictures and additional information. Whilst we have seen prettier clocks few come with such a story to tell and an extremely rare survivor from a distant war fought on and below the North Atlantic over 100 years ago!

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