Skip to main content

Auction - Big bucks for nautical memorabilia

A recent auction of maritime antiques in Boston held appeal to many types of collectors

Big bucks for nautical memorabilia

A recent auction of maritime antiques in Boston held appeal to many types of collectors

Maybe it is a good idea to hold on to that yachting trophy or those old nautical charts. Larry Lannan, owner of Lannan Ship Model Gallery in Boston, recently hired Kaminski Auctions to hold a relocation auction, May 6 and 7, “to move out my many years of ‘mistakes’ and some great things we found along the way.”

Lannan moved his gallery to 99 High Street Tower from a spot at the Russia Wharf.

“It was a very good sale,” says Frank Kaminski, owner of Kaminski Auctions. “I’ve sold nautical collections, but this one had a lot of appeal to a lot of different people.”

Of particular appeal to one bidder was a brass and bronze binnacle trophy from the Larchmont Yacht Club, which sold for $8,000. Standing at 25 inches, the engraving on the hood reads “Larchmont July 5th 1886, first prize class 3.”

The Larchmont Yacht Club was founded in 1880. The trophy also lists the names and corrected times of the 14 yachts in the race. The winner was Volusia with a winning time of 4 hours, 20 minutes, 11 seconds. Also racing were Strange, Ilderan, Nymph, Arab, Vixen, Amazon and others.

The New York Yacht Club was also represented by a foghorn with a copper trumpet, leather carry handle and a hand crank. The circa 1920 instrument featured a painted decoration depicting the 1895 America’s Cup yacht Defender, designed by N.G. Herreshoff. The foghorn’s selling price was $300.

As for charts, an 1865 nautical chart by James Imray and Son, which depicts the waters around the Strait of Belle Island and Cape Cod, sold for $600.

Lannan reported that they sold around 80 ship models. Of note to American history buffs was a model of the frigate USS Constitution, which measures almost 4 feet in length. Mounted in a mahogany case with marquetry inlay, the famous battle ship featured plank-on-frame construction with copper sheathing below the water line. On deck were details such as cannons on carriages, pumps, rope coils, powder casks and much more. The model, built in the late 20th century, sold for $5,500.

In the America’s Cup current, the auction also featured a 20th-century cased model of the namesake of the Cup, schooner yacht America. The model is more than 3 feet long with a copper-sheathed hull, a planked deck, cockpit, hatches and skylights as well as a full set of linen sails on its raked masts. In excellent condition, America raced to $2,500.

Pond yachts, measuring up to 10 feet, also did well. Popular in the 1920s to 1940s, they conformed (and still do) to class ratings and were raced in international competitions. The 1936 Olympics even included a competition. Two models from the early 20th century sold for $4,250 and $3,500.

“The auction certainly served its purpose,” says Lannan, who bought the business in 1982 from his father, who started it in 1967. “Now we go to operate in the other gallery. And life goes on.”