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  MID-19TH CENTURY SHIP CAPTAIN'S TELESCOPE WITH PATRIOTIC-PAINTED, LEATHER HANDLE GRIP
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MID-19TH CENTURY SHIP CAPTAIN'S TELESCOPE WITH PATRIOTIC-PAINTED, LEATHER HANDLE GRIP:

My annual pilgrimage to New York this year for Americana Week turned up some great finds. Among these was this circa 1850-1870 nautical telescope with beautifully tarnished, brass tubes that expand the instrument from approximately twenty to thirty-nine inches. I particularly like the sliding brass covers which reveal the lenses at both ends, but what's so special about this particular spyglass is that the leather-wrapped grip, bound with braided cord at both ends, has been painted with a patriotic, 13-star flag motif. Both the stripes and canton of the flag are painted on the diagonal, which is visually attractive, and the thick, polychrome surface has crackled and worn from use and time to achieve the most beautiful patina that one could ever wish for on such an object.

Although no specific history of use is known, given the period of the telescope's manufacture, and the use of 13 star flags on small U.S. Navy boats throughout the 19th century, as well as the fact that the American Civil War (1861-64) roused the level of patriotism and use of flag motifs, it is reasonable to guess that this instrument is likely to have seen wartime military use. Even if it were produced beforehand, it would likely have been taken to war and painted during long hours at sea.

I have never before seen a spyglass that was painted in this fashion and it is a particularly wonderful find for any collector of American nautical objects.

Condition: There is a lateral fracture through half of the outer-most brass tube. Because it is a closed fracture, it doesn't interfere with use and is not in the least visually offensive. There is expected wear, but there are no further significant condition issues.
   
Primary Color: red, white, blue, gold
Earliest Date: 1850
Latest Date: 1870
For Sale Status: Sold
Price SOLD
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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