An interesting scrimshaw carving, on a fragment of walrus tusk, of the USS Bear, the reverse with a rudimentary carving of a walrus. Length: 17.8 cm. late 19th/early 20th cent.
Surface somewhat polished and with discolouration and old damages.
Built in Scotland in 1874, the Bear had an extraordinarily lengthy service, mostly in icy polar waters, first as a sealer and later as a revenue cutter, accompanied Byrd to Antarctica, was used in other capacities in two world wars, before finally foundering in 1969 off the coast of Nova Scotia. According to the US Coast Guard website she was “probably the most famous ship in the history of the Coast Guard”. Further information about the ship can be found on Wikipedia- from which the accompanying photograph was taken.