New Bedford whaling journal achieves high estimate at PBA

A whaling journal kept by a sailor on New Bedford ship the Geo. Howland during the mid 1800s headlined a sale at PBA Galleries on January 29 with a final bid of $30,000.

The book is titled "A Journal of Ship Geo. Howland of New Bedford, A.C. Cushman. 1842, 43, 44" and displays elaborately painted watercolours in addition to regular entries.

whaling journal PBA
The whaling journal dates to the mid 1800s

It represents a fascinating account of life aboard a whaler during the 19th century.

A typical log reads: "Friday, Oct. 21, 1842 - …Saw many finbacks… Saw a large shoal of Sperm Whales, large, lowered 4 boats could not strike at 8 came on board at 9 lowered again and struck one. Irion broke and lost him, came on board. So ends…"

PBA Galleries explained the appeal of the paintings: "The watercolors are superbly executed, and represent the epitome of American folk art of the 19th century."

Another whaling journal written by Cushman sold for $8,400.

This lot recounts a journey around Cape Horne and the Galapagos Islands from 1846 to 1850 and includes details of the number of whales caught and the volume of oil harvested.

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