1850s Rupp Desilva Nautical Sextant Maine Ship Captain

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  • Item Category: Fine Art
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Mar 23, 2008
  • Channel: Auction House
1850s Rupp Desilva Nautical Sextant Maine Ship Captain
Spectacular dated 1854 sextant with case, two eyepieces, and adjustment key. I believe the instrument to have been made by Desilva of Liverpool, England, and sold through Michael Rupp & Co. of New York, and later possibly serviced or calibrated by John Bliss & Co. -- labels from all three outfits are still affixed to the inside of the case. The sextant itself bears a label that reads "W. Desilva, Liverpool, S.S. Thayer, JANy 1854." Everything moves smoothly, and the scale on the arc is easily readable. See condition report below (as well as the 25 images) for more details.
This piece is being sold by the family of the late great-grandson of S.S. Thayer, who was a ship's captain who sailed out of South Thomaston, Maine, from the middle to late 1800s. (I thought at first that "S.S. Thayer" was the name of the ship, but according to the consignor, it's the name of the captain.)
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Condition: Excellent. Very tiny hairline on wood handle. Lid on box is slightly loose. Mirror is silvered, and t are a couple of cracks in it, but it is original and intact (all three pieces are t It appears that two of the filters are missing, but I don't know for sure. The filters are all in excellent shape, as are -- it appears -- the optics. The scale on the arc is clear and readable. The case does not have a key.
Measurements: 9-7/8" wide and 11" high (measuring from bottom of arc). Box 5-1/8" thick.
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are some additional images of items just received from the consignor -- the photo of S.S. Thayer, the letter and the clipping all came out of an old scrapbook -- they are NOT included in this auction. The letter is interesting: It's a notice that Thayer was made a life member of Knox Lodge 189, South Thomaston's Masonic lodge. This letter was sent to him eight months prior to his death in 1906.