Vintage Jose Reyes Nantucket Purse with Charlie Sayle Scrimshaw Sperm Whale, circa 1950s

Vintage Jose Reyes Nantucket Purse with Charlie Sayle Scrimshaw Sperm Whale, circa 1950s

$4,800.00

Vintage Jose Reyes Nantucket Purse with Charlie Sayle Scrimshaw Sperm Whale, circa 1950s, an oval cane woven covered basket having a sperm whale carved from a whale tooth by noted island scrimshaw artist Charlie Sayle Sr. mounted on a mahogany top plate.

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Vintage Jose Reyes Nantucket Purse with Charlie Sayle Scrimshaw Sperm Whale, circa 1950s, an oval cane woven covered basket having a sperm whale carved from a whale tooth by noted island scrimshaw artist Charlie Sayle Sr. mounted on a mahogany top plate, and with a shaped swing handle. The basket is signed on the bottom with engraved outline of the island and inscribed “Made In Nantucket, Jose Formoso Reyes” with an outline of the island.

The basket is in excellent condition with a warmly darkened patina.

Jose Reyes (1902 – 1980) was born in the Philippines and moved to Nantucket immediately following World War II in 1947. He met Mitchy Ray, the last person on island still making Nantucket baskets at that time, and learned the craft. Within a few years Jose adapted the traditional Lightship basket form to a purse by adding a lid and a swing handle, launching the modern era in the Nantucket basket saga. He enlisted Charlie Sayle Sr, a noted island scrimshander and folk artist, to carve a decorative top for a purse: first an ebony sperm whale, then soon whale tooth carved sperm whales, gulls or a silhouette of the island. Reyes remains highly revered and collected as a great innovator and the inventor of the Nantucket Purse.

Measures: 6-3/4 in H x 7 in W

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