Skipjack Nautical Wares Banner

Monday, May 22, 2017

Skipjack Nautical Wares Featured on Portsmouth VA Travel & Tourism Show May 2017

Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery was recently featured on the May 2017 video, Portsmouth VA Travel & Tourism Show, episode 2. This video also features Olde Towne Portsmouth's historic Hill House Museum and the Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum. Skipjack's segment begins at 16 minutes 45 seconds into the video. Thank you David Shulte and the City of Portsmouth, Virginia for including us on your  travel and tourism show!

Here's the link to the video at: Portsmouth VA Travel & Tourism Show, episode 2.

Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery, 620 High Street, Portsmouth, VA.

The Hill House Museum, Olde Towne Portsmouth, Va.
Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum, Portsmouth, VA
Portsmouth is located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan areas of the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2010, the city had a total population of 95,535.
The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, often called the Norfolk Navy Yard, is a historic and active U.S. Navy facility which is actually located in Portsmouth, despite its name. The shipyard builds, remodels, and repairs the Navy's ships of all types.Directly opposite Norfolk, the city of Portsmouth also has miles of waterfront land on the Elizabeth River as part of the harbor of Hampton Roads. There is a ferry boat that takes riders back and forth across the water between Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth.

Interested in visiting Portsmouth, Virginia, one of America's most historic seaport cities? Here's a few links to tourism information that you might find informative. Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA  and the City of Portsmouth tourism website

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fort Norfolk from the Elizabeth River- Marine Painting by J Robert Burnell

A recent article written by Robert McCabe published in the Virginian Pilot reminded me of an original watercolor painting that we currently have on display at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery. The article titled "Fort Norfolk got the first look at "rockets' red glare" traces the history of views from Fort Norfolk on June 22, 1813, during the Battle of Craney Island, when a force of about 700 American troops held off a two-pronged British assault by 3,000 to 4,000 men. Here's the link to the rockets red glare article from the Virginian Pilot.

The painting depicted here is by Portsmouth Virginia's renowned artist J. Robert Burnell titled "Fort Norfolk from the Elizabeth River" was painted in 1994, a tranquil scene with a boy sailing a dingy in the foreground and a three masted ship docked at the water's edge. The view features the fort on the left and a brick structed house in the center. The watercolor measures 18 X 30 inches (view) and 24 X 36 inches framed. Here are a few images (sorry, there's some glare in the image from the glass).  Here is the link to the painting of Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery website.

Fort Norfolk from the Elizabeth River, an original watercolor by J. Robert Burnell.
Fort Norfolk is an historic fort and national historic district located at Norfolk, Virginia. With the original buildings having been built between 1795 and 1809, the fort encompasses 11 contributing buildings which include: main gate, guardhouse, officers' quarters, powder magazine, and carpenter's shop. Fort Norfolk is the last remaining fortification of President George Washington’s 18th Century harbor defenses. It has served as the district office for the U. S. Army Engineer District, Norfolk since 1923.

Close-up view of Fort Norfolk from the Elizabeth River.

Close-up view of the brick building and the moored frigate.
You can view our large collection of marine art on our web gallery at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery. You can visit Skipjack's gallery located in historic Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia.

Skipjack Nautical Wares 
& Marine Art Gallery
620 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
Visit our website for current gallery hours

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Skipjack- The Premier Marine Art Gallery of Hampton Roads, Virginia

There are a number of exceptional art galleries to visit around coastal Virginia with a wide spectrum of art to peruse. Coastal Virginia is known as the Tidewater Region and Hampton Roads that includes Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton and Williamsburg cities. Here's the link on Goggle to the listing of art galleries in the Hampton Roads area. 

"U.S. Gunboat 'Scorpion' in the Battle of Cedar Point, 1814" By Peter Rindlisbacher
But only one gallery is solely focused on artwork created by marine artists. Since 2003, our unique art gallery located in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia has featured an extensive inventory of original  marine, nautical, maritime paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, wood carvings, sailor and folk art, ship models, and scrimshaw by some of the region and the world’s leading marine artists working today including Peter Rindlisbacher, Larry Bage, Jim Bolland, Kevin Collins, Bob Holland, Jac & Patricia Johnson, Sam Lafever, Joe Marinelli, Sandy Nelson, William Barth Osmundsen and David Weiss.

"Swimming Mermaid" folk art carving by Jac & Patricia Johnson
"LOOKDOWN SCHOOL" Marine Art Bronze Sculpture by Larry Bage
The S.S. United States by Bob Holland
"Summerwind," oil on canvas by Sandy Nelson

Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery is proud to offer to discriminating collectors an opportunity to select from these fine marine artworks currently available for sale. We also create changing art exhibitions and opportunities to meet the artists are also offered throughout the year.      

If you’re looking for something with special personal significance, Skipjack can assist you in creating unique commissioned work of art through a selection of our artists.

"Don't Give Up the Ship" commissioned folk art carving by Jac & Patricia Johnson

A consignment and appraisal service is also available through Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery to help collectors sell work from their personal collections. Just give us a call at 757-399-5012 or email us at

Skipjack Nautical Wares 
& Marine Art Gallery
620 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
Visit our website for current gallery showroom hours.
Shop our web gallery 24/7!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Nautical Lamps Co., Mfrs. of Nautic Brand Products, Plainville, Conn.

Every once in a while we run across a vintage or antique nautical item that has little known history or provenance. Recently, we acquired a 1930's vintage small boat anchor lantern with the label from a little-known marine manufacturer, The Nautical Lamps Co., Plainville, Connecticut. The company produced a wide range of marine and navigational lamps, lanterns, searchlights and other similar products.

Our research found a few articles that were posted in early to mid 1930's copies of Motor Boating Magazine. The articles listed the company The Nautical Lamp Company was organized  in Plainville, Connecticut in early 1932. A second article was a notification that the company was purchased by Wilcox, Crittenden & Company, Inc. of Middleton, Conn. in the later part of 1936, so the company was only in production for four years.

Here are images of the anchor lantern with it's NAUTIC BRAND manufacturer's label. We have seen a few other examples listed for sale (or sold) on the web, so other examples can be found. For other images and information, visit the webpage on Skipjack Nautical Wares website.

1930's galvanized metal small boat anchor lantern
manufactured by the Nautical Lamp Company of Plainville, Conn.


Anchor lantern shown with removable burner.
Skipjack Nautical Wares specializes in vintage and antique ship's lanterns and lights. We offer a wide variety of marine lighting, manufactured throughout the 19th and 20th century for small craft to big ships by the best known American and foreign makers. These manufacturers include Perkins, Perko, National Marine Lamp Co., Kilborn-Sauer, Wilcox Crittenden, George Carpenter, Robert Findlay, Triplex, A. Ward Hendrickson, Peter Gray, Metorite, Robert Findlay Mfg., Russell Stoll Makers, Lovell, Den Haan, Tung Woo and Sento of Japan, Sea Horse, J.H. Peters & Bey and other historic makers. You will also find a selection of new marine lamps from makers like Den Haan and Weems & Plath. Here's a link to Skipjack's selection of marine lanterns at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery.

Skipjack Nautical Wares 
& Marine Art Gallery
620 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
Visit our website for current gallery showroom hours.
Shop our web gallery 24/7!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Top 10 Nautical Gifts For All Occasions 2017

One question that we are frequently asked here at Skipjack is...I'm shopping for a gift... something for an upcoming birthday, Mother's or Father's Day, maybe a house warming gift, military retirement, and a special Christmas gift for the nautical enthusiast. And of course when they're visiting our gallery we know that they're searching for something nautical. So here's our "customer's choice" top ten favorite nautical gifts for all occasions.

Our engravable crystal magnifier with compass coordinates
is a nautical gift for all occasions.

Number One-  Our crystal compass coordinate magnifier (pictured above) is a nautical gift for all occasions. This handsome optical-grade crystal glass magnifier features marked compass coordinates with "N" for north making it perfect for use with nautical charts. With crystal clarity and magnification of 4x, this magnifier enlarges small print on any task and is a welcome addition to desks or chart tables. The scratch resistant Crystal Magnifier is more durable than acrylic models and is packaged in an attractive felt-lined gift box, suitable for ceremonial occasions and as a gift for retirement. 
Engraving is available. Please allow an extra 2 weeks for engraving. Engraved items are not returnable or refundable.  Here's a link: Crystal magnifier with compass coordinates

Scrimshawed bone handled knives by Tony Perry make the perfect
gift for any nautical enthusiast!

Number two- Scrimshawed pocket knives by Tony Perry. Available in different style pocket knives, these bone-handled knives are expertly scrimshawed artwork are available in a variety of nautical designs. From breaching whales to racing schooners, there's plenty to pick from.
For a current selection of scrimshawed knives by Tony Perry, here's the link to Skipjack's sailors tools: Scrimshawed knives by Tony Perry.

Nautical table lamps is a good choice for a home warming gift and is also a
good choice for birthdays and Christmas gift giving.
Number three- Nautical table lamps is a good choice for a home warming gift and is also a good choice for birthdays and Christmas gift giving. Skipjack's lamp & Lighting workshop produces unique, one of a kind quality nautical table lamps created from antique and vintage retired seafaring ships lights and lanterns. We also produce marine inspired table lamps converted from other authentic maritime items such as wood blocks and other shipboard items. Our collection also includes handcrafted driftwood sculpture and fancy knotwork lamps and as well as colorful coastal creations including painted vintage lobster buoys and hand-blown glass jugs with netting and other beach home favorites. Skipjack also offers a wide selection of lampshades and lamp finials too! Here's the link to our current selection of nautical table lamps

Compass rose bar glasses will enhance for any nautical home or office.

Number four- Nautical themed wine, beer and cocktail glasses is, well, for everyone! Choose from stemmed wine glass, beer glasses and old fashion bar glasses and bar accessories. Available in nautical compass rose and fouled anchor designs. Here's the link to Skipjack's Tabletop, Bar & Entertaining
Leather and ribbon belts for men and women in nautical
and coastal designs. A perfect gift for everyone.

Number five- Nautical leather and ribbon belts for men and women is a gift that everyone loves. Choose between a variety of great nautical and coastal designs to choose from for everyday wear. In stock from sizes 32 to 48 in even sizes. Other sizes can be ordered. Expect up to two weeks for special orders. Here's the link to our selection of nautical belts for men and women (boys and girls too) in Skipjack's belts and caps.

Dress up his nautical image with silk neckties, bow ties
and cuff links from Skipjack.

Number six- While your at it, consider dressing up his nautical image with silk neckties, bow ties and cuff links from Skipjack! Another great gift idea for the nautical enthusiast. Here's the link to our selection of Skipjack's nautical silk neckties, bow ties and cufflinks.

Sterling silver sailboat necklaces and earrings from the
Barbara Vincent collection. A great gift for the sailor in your life. 

Number seven- Sterling silver sailboat jewelry from the Barbara Vincent collection. Choose from Barbara's original necklace and earring designs created for the people in your life that love to sail! Here's the link to the collection of sterling silver jewelry from Barbara Vincent.

Fine nautical designed door knockers makes a fine
house warming gift and one for yourself too!

Number eight- Door knockers have been a favorite as a home warming gift. We also think it makes a great gift to yourself! Skipjack offers a great selection of nautical (and military) designed door knockers to choose from. All are available in brass and a few nickel-plated. The one pictured above was created from an authentic 19th century rope sea chest becket (handle). Here's the link to Skipjack's collection of nautical door knockers.

Brass porthole clock or barometer is a favored retirement gift!

Number nine- Brass porthole clock and barometer is a favorite for many. Choose from this classic nautical designed clock with quartz movement or barometer housed in brass portholes or mount them as a matching pair! Great retirement gift! Here's the link to our brass porthole quartz porthole clock and barometer

Brass yacht bells make perfect gifts for military retirement,
house warming and for your coastal home.

Number ten- Our best selling gift for military retirement, house warming and for yacht owners is our high quality Italian made brass yacht bells. We also offer a wide variety of vintage and antique ships bells, bell accessories and hand-tied bell ringers, so here's the link to Skipjack's ship's bells and accessories.

Shopping at Skipjack is an easy way to find the perfect nautical gift for all occasions. Visit us online at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery or in person at our downtown location at 620 High Street in historic Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia.

Skipjack Nautical Wares 
& Marine Art Gallery
620 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
Visit our website for current gallery showroom hours.
Shop our web gallery 24/7!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ancient skeleton discovered on Antikythera Shipwreck

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Evaluating Antique Binoculars

 It is a daily occurrence that we are asked to tell them what their item is worth, and for the appraiser, one that is simply impossible to correctly evaluate for each and every situation.

 There are a lot of variables that go into appraising and evaluating an item. As a
general overview, these considerations are the product maker, age, condition including any restoration to fix or enhance an item, rarity, proven provenance (not here say) and general interest in a product at any given time, and of course that will most likely change with time.  

Appraisals are written for a number of purposes. Insurance, to correctly appraise for replacement considerations, fair market value for resale, tax donations, inheritance and equitable distribution of an estate to heirs to name a few. These values range in number, for instance an insurance appraisal is its highest price evaluation for replacing an item similar in quality, age, manufacturer or maker, provenance, condition, rarity etc. from a source that offers these items for sale. 

But, these are not the same value as one would expect to typically receive since most people selling items, even on web sites like ebay, are not specialized retail dealers. Also, if one is offering an item to a dealer, do not expect them to buy it at retail value nor anywhere close to it, since they are in the business of buying for resale and need to make a reasonable return on their time, overhead and financial investment. 

Also, appraisers have to physically see an item to appraise it and cannot give you that information over the phone! Appraisal services are NOT free and are typically charged by the item or on an hourly basis.

I’ll have to add here, the dollar value of an old item should be to a collector its least interesting aspect. However, the value does play an important part of the appraisal evaluation, as shown above, but I do recommend that you consider first and foremost the desire to own an item and what that item is worth to you.


There are a number of styles of binoculars, and the description used to refer to them can vary.  Typically, 'field glasses' or ‘binocular telescopes’ are a pair of identical or mirror-symmetrical telescopes mounted side-by-side and aligned to point accurately in the same direction, allowing the viewer to use both eyes (binocular vision) when viewing distant objects. Most are sized to be held using both hands, although sizes vary widely from opera glasses to large pedestal mounted military models.

Early 20th century field glasses made by chevalier, Paris.

Unlike a (monocular) telescope, binoculars give users a three-dimensional image: for nearer objects the two views, presented to each of the viewer's eyes from slightly different viewpoints, produce a merged view with an impression of depth.

These are low power, have a very small field of view, and do not work nearly as well as prism binoculars.    In a smaller size, they are opera glasses, and their value increases if they are covered with mother of pearl, abalone shell, ivory or other exotic materials.  Field glasses are typically the most affordable unless they are a very unusual form or manufactured by the top makers, such as the German companies such as Zeiss or Leitz.

German made WWII era Carl Zeiss binoculars are one of the top makers of binoculars.

Prism binoculars. Optical prisms added to the design are another way to turn the image right way up, usually in a Porro prism or roof-prisms design.

Porro Prism Binoculars

Porro prism binoculars are named after Italian optician Ignazio Porro who patented this image erecting system in 1854, which was later refined by makers like the Carl Zeiss Company in the 1890s. Binoculars of this type use a Porro prism in a double prism Z-shaped configuration to erect the image. This feature results in binoculars that are wide, with objective lenses that are well separated but offset from the eyepieces. Porro prism designs have the added benefit of folding the optical path so that the physical length of the binoculars is less than the focal length of the objective and wider spacing of the objectives gives a better sensation of depth. Thus, the size of binoculars is reduced.

Roof-Prisms Binoculars

Binoculars using roof prisms may have appeared as early as the 1870s in a design by Achille Victor Emile Daubresse. Most roof prism binoculars use either the Abbe-Koenig prism (named after Ernst Karl Abbe and Albert Koenig and patented by Carl Zeiss in 1905) or the Schmidt-Pechan prism (invented in 1899) designs to erect the image and fold the optical path. They have objective lenses that are approximately in line with the eyepieces.

Roof-prisms designs create an instrument that is narrower and more compact than Porro prisms. There is also a difference in image brightness. Porro-prism binoculars will inherently produce a brighter image than roof-prism binoculars of the same magnification, objective size, and optical quality, because the roof-prism design employs silvered surfaces that reduce light transmission by 12% to 15%. Roof-prisms designs also require tighter tolerances for alignment of their optical elements (collimation). This adds to their expense since the design requires them to use fixed elements that need to be set at a high degree of collimation at the factory. Porro prisms binoculars occasionally need their prism sets to be re-aligned to bring them into collimation. The fixed alignment in roof-prism designs means the binoculars normally will not need re-collimation.

As a general rule of thumb, German binoculars are considered the most sought after, followed by American, English; and French, which are typically good quality but are more common unless of unusual design. Some of the best names in Japanese optics of WWII or before are often of very high quality.

Some binoculars are center focus, with one central wheel that focuses both sides at once.  Individual focus binoculars are adjusted by rotating each eyepiece.  Each style is desired by different collectors. Very large binoculars are always sought after.  Most binoculars are numbered according to their magnifying power and the diameter of the objective in mm.  12 x 30 optics magnify twelve times and have 30 mm objectives. Some of the older Paris made binoculars lack this information. Personally, I love the old Parisian binoculars, these classic heirlooms are usually quite affordable, fun to use and are a great product for tabletop and bookshelf d├ęcor.

A grouping of American made binoculars by Bausch and Lomb.

Another consideration is the ease of use and repairs if needed. Prism binoculars are easily knocked out of alignment, requiring an expensive and difficult repair.  Pristine binoculars are worth far more than when dirty or misaligned, and broken or cracked optics lower the value far more.  Cases help keep binoculars safe and clean but do not add much to the value.

Skipjack Nautical Wares 
& Marine Art Gallery
620 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
Visit our website for current gallery showroom hours.
Shop our web gallery 24/7!