West Sea Company

New This Week:

Prices in U.S. Dollars are listed in GREEN.


3.92  RARE HISTORIC MINIATURE SEXTANT.   Truly extraordinary, mid-1800s presentation sextant made by one of England’s most elite makers!  This delightful little instrument is signed on the large arc in perfect hand-engraved script, Troughton & Simms, London.”  Of all brass construction with a V-shaped frame, the sextant has an inlaid silver arc reading from -5 to 160 degrees, effectively making it a quintant.  Incredibly, these divisions along with the vernier scale on the index arm, allow this sextant to match the accuracy of it larger cousins, down to 20 arc seconds!  A pivoting magnifier is provided for taking the reading.  The index arm has a miniaturized version of a thumb screw stop and tangential fine adjust.  The sextant is complete with its 2 horizon filters and 2 index filters in perfect condition.  The index mirror and horizon mirror are in beautiful condition.  The whole presentation is totally complete in its shaped rich mahogany box.  The octagonal ebony handle screws into the frame with a secure fit.  There are two optics, a peep and a telescope which fit into the height-adjustable sight holder.  Rounding out the accessories, there are both sight tube filters, mirror adjustment tool, and the functional skeleton key for the brass lock.  Of monumental importance for its value and appeal is the beautifully-hand-engraved  presentation on sterling silver inlaid into the top of the box.  It reads, Presented at the Public Examination on the 13th of June 1851 to Gentleman Cadet, Henry Goodwyn by the Honble Court of Directors of the East India Company, as a mark of the Courts approbation of his attainments in Mathematics while at the Military Seminary.”  The overall presentation is nothing short of phenomenal for an instrument 166 years old!  Totally complete and virtually in the same condition when it was made.   All surfaces are in their original bright brass lacquer finish.  This is a nautical gem of the highest order, if ever there was one!  Most certainly worthy of the finest world class collection and/or museum.  5350

The East India Company, also known as the Honourable East India Company or the British East India Company was formed to pursue trade with the "East Indies" (present-day Southeast Asia), but ended up trading mainly with Qing China and controling the Indian subcontinent.

Originally chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies", the Company accounted for half of the world's trade  in basic commodities such as cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpeter (for gun powder), tea, and opium. The Company was also instrumental in the founding of the British Empire in India.

The Company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies. Wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the Company's shares, but the government owned no shares and had only indirect control.

During its first century of its operation, the Company's focus was on trade, not the building an empire in India. But early in the 18th century when the Mughal Empire began to decline, Company interests turned from trade to territory as the East India Company competed with its counterpart, the French East India Company.
By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the Company had a private army of about 260,000, twice the size of the British Army! The Company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions.  Company rule in India effectively began in 1757 and lasted until 1858. But following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the resulting Government of India Act 1858 led the British Crown to assume direct control of the Indian subcontinent in the form of the new British Raj.

Despite frequent governmental intervention, the Company's on-going financial problems finally led to its dissolution in 1874.





Order Info



13.99   WW I TORPEDO BOAT CHRONOMETER WATCH.  Rare marine chronometer watch manufactured by the highly respected Swiss firm of "LONGINES, SWISS" as marked on the perfect silvered dial.  This large timekeeper in pocket watch format features a snap fit bezel with glass crystal covering a bold Roman numeral dial.  The pristine dial has a minute chapter and inset seconds bit at the bottom with a 36 hour Up/Down below XII.  The double hinged back cover is stamped "0.800" fine silver and opens to reveal the exceptional 17 jewel movement with decoratively damascened plates.  It is stem wound, stem set, with a lever escapement and compensated balance.  The movement is signed, "17 JEWELS ADJ. LONGINES Co. Swiss."  This high grade deck watch is housed in its original satin-lined mahogany inner box with splined construction and brass closures.  As a collectible, what is exceptional is the fact that it is complete with its outside carrying box with padded green felt interior and original leather carrying strap.   The watch itself has a dial 2 ¼ inches in diameter.  The solid silver case is 2 ¾ inches in diameter and 3 ¾ inches high inclusive of the bow.  The inner case measures 5 by 6 by 2 1/8 inches.  The outer case is 9 ¼ inches wide, 8 ½ inches long and 6 inches high overall.  The entire offering is in beautiful original condition and the watch is an excellent timekeeper. Price Request

According to Marvin Whitney, esteemed author of "Military Timepieces," 1992 American Watchmakers Institute Press, the Longines deck watch was introduced to the U.S. Navy in 1904. It was often referred to by other world navies as a "deck or chronometer watch or compteur." Whitney describes it on page 295 as, "Caliber 21.29, 17 jewels, 36 hours, bimetallic balance, cam regulator, silver case."

This item comes form the prestigious collection of a very well known Admiralty Law lawyer who for years only collected the best examples of important maritime-related artifacts.

Several weeks ago a similar watch with a scratch on the dial was offered on eBay.  It had a plain brass case minus the outer carrying case!  The "Buy It Now" price was $4,750. Item 400981457331.






Order Info



16.83  TERRESTRIAL GLOBE.  Genuine 19th century world globe made by the respected French makers LeBegue & Cie as signed in the maker’s cartouche near the equator in the Eastern Pacific, “GLOBE TERRESTRE J. Lebegue & Cie., Editeurs, 36, Rue de Lille, 36, Paris.”  This 10 inch diameter globe is made in the traditional manner using a plaster of Paris sphere overlaid by chromolithographed paper “gores.”  As expected from these noted makers, the detail is exquisite showing countries, major cities and topographical features such as mountains, lakes, and rivers, along with ocean currents, major trade routes and of course the equator and Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.  Interestingly, the continent of Antarctica, yet to be discovered, is not shown, as is the north of Greenland.    This globe is supported by its most charming original cast iron stand in antique bronze finish with lion paw feet decorated with mascaroons.  The top of the globe is crowned by a nice brass acorn finial.   18 inches high overall.  The condition is generally excellent.  The surface of the globe is original and bright with no evidence of restoration.  There are a few minor scuffs and discolorations expected of an object such as this over 120 years old.  But if anything the condition adds to the appearance of this antique which is circa 1890. 1195 Special Packaging 

J. Lebègue & Cie, Paris are listed as “Publishers late nineteenth century.”  (Elly Dekker and Peter van der Kroght, “Globes From The Western World,” 1993, Zwemmer, Philip Wilson Publishers, Ltd., London).



Order Info



Description: 21.76

21.76 EARLY SEA CAPTAIN’s LONG GLASS. Especially nice hand-held telescope made by the famous optician and mathematical instrument maker Thomas Harris, as beautifully engraved in script near the eyepiece, “T. Harris, London Night & Day.” This fine, olde English example has an early form single draw with wooden barrel and brass fittings. The ocular end “nipple” is indicative of telescopes circa 1800, retaining its spring-loaded sliding dust cover. The large wooden barrel is turned of a singlepiece of solid mahogany which is in its original black finish. The objective end houses the old greenish glass achromatic lens which is protected by its press-fit cap with built-in sliding dust cover! The all original optics produce a highly magnified, upright image of surprising clarity. This genuine Captain’s spyglass measures 20 ¾ inches closed, 35 ¼ inches long fully extended and is 2 ½ inches in diameter. It is in a very nice state of original preservation. There are the expected age checks in the solid wooden barrel. Such cracks are present in all wooden articles over 200 years old. But this venerable example evidences great respect and careful use lavished upon it for over 2 centuries! 995

According to Gloria Clifton, author of “British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851”, 1995 Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., London, Thomas Harris (I) worked as an optician, mathematical and philosophical instrument maker and a globe maker from 1790 to 1826. In 1804 he was recorded as working at 140 Fleet Street, London. Thereafter, an address of 52 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London is cited.

Description: 21.76CLOSED
Description: 21.76COVER

Description: 21.76WITHCOVER
Description: 21.76SIGNATURE

Order Info



 AUTHENTIC LIGHTHOUSE.   This is the ultimate!  Here is an exceptional opportunity to own a very historic relic of America’s rich maritime heritage embodied in the original lamp room from the famous Ballast Point Lighthouse, which served its sentinel duties in the channel of San Diego Bay from 1890 until 1960.  This incredibly well-preserved piece of history was built according to specifications laid out by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1885.  A copy of the original specifications are included as are much printed references and photographs.  Erected in 1890, the 5th Order lighthouse was a significant aid to navigation in conjunction with the Point Loma Lighthouse (1850) poised at the entrance to San Diego Bay.   Ballast Point Light was situated further inside the massive bay on a point which jutted into the seaway which posed a hazard to shipping.  13 feet 10 inches high with a maximum width of 8 feet 8 inches.  Weight approximately 5 tons. It will require a crane and a flat bed truck for transport.  129 years old!  Price Request Special Packaging

Serious inquiries only please.  No telephone quotes.  This item has been nominated as a candidate for the National Historic Register, and is currently being considered by a number of museums, private lighthouse restoration groups and the U.S. Navy.   Clear title is guaranteed.  Please provide your qualifications for ownership and your intentions for use.  We reserve the right to select a deserving owner.   We have already soundly rejected a low ball offer of $25,000 – that being the original price of the lamp room in 1890!   A single 5th Order light house lens recently sold for $125,000.  This is the entire lamp room, much rarer, and probably the only one of its kind to ever be for sale again


On October 2, 1888, recognizing the need for a harbor light in the increasingly congested channel of San Diego Bay, Congress authorized $25,000 for the construction of a lighthouse to be built on Ballast Point.  Fashioned in the late Victorian style, the entire structure took 3 months to build beginning in March 1890.  The light was first lit on August 1st.  It was a sister of the lights at San Luis Obispo and Table Bluff, south of Humboldt Bay.  All were wood framed structures with attached living quarters.  The ironwork for the lantern was forged in San Francisco and carried south to San Diego by ship.  The French firm of Sautter, Lemmonier, & Cie. manufactured the Freznel lens for the Ballast Point Light in 1886.  The fixed 5th Order lens was visible for a distance of at least 11 miles.
When California was still part of Mexico the peninsula jutting into San Diego Bay was known as Punta del los Guijarros or “Pebble Point.”  For centuries cobblestones washed down by the San Diego River had been deposited on the point.  When California gained statehood in 1850 the point was renamed Middle Ground Shoal.  As time went on and merchant traffic in the harbor increased, many sailing ships found it convenient to load or discharge the stones as ballast.  The practice continued and eventually the name “Ballast Point” stuck.
Accompanying the Ballast Point lighthouse was a huge 2,000 pound fog bell in a wooden tower.  In 1928 it was supplanted by a single tone electric diaphone horn.

The first keeper of the light was John M. Nilsson, assigned duty on July 15, 1890.  The second was Henry Hall, who took the job on December 1, 1892.  Perhaps the most famous keeper was Irish born David R. Splaine, a Civil War veteran and veteran lighthouse keeper, who assumed the post in 1894, having served at Point Conception, the Farallons and San Diego’s own Point Loma light from 1886-1889.

In 1913 the original old kerosene lamp was replaced with an acetylene burner.  Acetylene gave way to electricity in 1928.  In 1938 a filter was fitted inside the 5th Order Freznel lens giving the light a distinctive green hue for recognition.  One of the last keepers of the light was Radford Franke who recalled receiving the order to “douse the light” upon the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

By early 1960 the light was deemed to be of no further service, so in June of that year the lantern room was removed to a salvage yard.  The wooden tower and its brick and mortar foundation remained a couple of years later until they too were declared structurally unsafe and demolished.  The bell tower continued to survive, mounted with a 375 mm high intensity lamp on its roof.  However the value of maintaining any light on Ballast Point diminished with the installation of harbor entrance range lights.  In the late 1960’s the bell and its tower were dismantled.  The tower found its way to a private residence in Lakeside, California.  The bell had a more circuitous later life.  It was purchased from a San Diego area junk yard in 1969 for its scrap value of 5 cents per pound!  The one ton bell remained on local private property until 1991, when it was put on loan to the San Diego Maritime Museum.  In 1999 the bell was transported to the son of the original buyer, living in Colorado.  Then in 2002, the bell finally found its way to the home of the owner’s granddaughter living in Vermont, where it rests to this day.
The story of the lantern’s later life is even more fascinating.  The nation was just recovering from the Cuban Missile Crisis between JFK and Khrushchev, when in 1964 the Cuban government cut off the fresh water supply to the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay.  By that time, an experimental desalinization plant had been in operation at Point Loma for 2 years.  The Navy hastily ordered it to be disassembled and shipped through the Panama Canal to Cuba.  A gentleman working as a crane operator during the process noted the shabby lantern room in a trash heap nearby.  He inquired as to the fate of the relic and was told it was salvage.  Asking if he could purchase it,  the yard foreman told him he could “have it” if he would haul it away.  With that, for the next 34 years the lantern room served as a gazebo in the backyard of the man’s residence in Bonita, California.  It was purchased by the present owners in 1998, fully refurbished, and then placed on public display ever since.  Now it is time for it to find its next new home.  According to the crane operator who delivered the lamp room it weighs approximately 5 tons.  It will require a crane and a flat bed truck for removal.

F. Ross Holland, “The Old Point Loma Lighthouse,” 1978, Cabrillo Historical Association, San Diego, California
Jim Gibbs, “The Twilight of Lighthouses,” 1996, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA.
Kin Fahlen and Karen Scanlon, “Lighthouse of San Diego,” 2008, Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco
Kraig Anderson, “Forgotten Ballast Point “Lighthouse” Seeks New Home,” article in “Lighthouse Digest,” East Machias, Maine,  September – October 2011,  Vol. XX, no. 5 pages 34 – 37.
“Mains’l Haul,” a periodic publication of the San Diego Maritime Association, Summer 1990, Vol. XXVI,  No. 4, pp. 11-12.







Order Info

Back to Top