Scrimshaw is the sailors folk art of using whales teeth and bones to produce tools, carvings and engraved works of art. Scrimshaw began on the whaling ships and it was the crews of these ships that perfected the art, often making sailors tools or gifts for loved ones back home.

Below is our selection of antique sailors scrimshaw folk art.

Top of ditty box showing scrimshaw panel

Inside ditty box showing internal removable tray


A sailor made ditty box with engraved scrimshaw panel. The scrimshaw panel depicts a maritime scene with a ship under full sail and a female figure stood beside a capstan at the end of a quay. it is also engraved - "The sailors return, SHIP SWALLOW New Bedford 1860", with crossed flags and a border of roses.

Box dimensions: 11 x 7 x 3.5 inches - 28 x 18 x 9 cm