New Bedford whaling journal to make up to $30,000?

A whaling journal kept by a sailor aboard the New Bedford ship Geo. Howland is valued at $20,000-30,000 ahead of a sale at PBA Galleries.

Titled "A Journal of Ship Geo. Howland of New Bedford, A.C. Cushman. 1842, 43, 44", the lot features daily entries alongside hundreds of watercolour illustrations.

whaling journal PBA
The ship left New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1842

The ship left Massachusetts in 1842 for the hunting grounds along the west coast of South America. It finally returned home laden with oil in 1845.

A typical entry 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…"

On the quality of the illustrations, PBA Galleries comments: "The watercolors are superbly executed, and represent the epitome of American folk art of the 19th century."

Also on offer is a deeply disturbing letter written by a Mississippi based slave trader in 1849, which carries an estimate of $3,000-5,000.

It was sent by Robert Hawkins to his father, plantation owner Nathaniel Hawkins, and relates his day-to-day experiences.

At one point he offers this advice: "if you ever buy another 'Negro' strip him and see that there are not scars or swelling about the throat, back, legs, not soar shins, not deformity of any sort…"

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