Original British Naval Napoleonic Wars Era Captains Oak Strong Box Chest- Circa 1790
Original Item: Only One Item Available. This is very special and rare and absolutely original item from the British Navy. Have you ever wondered where the gold and silver coins were kept aboard a Man-o-War? Ships needed considerable amounts of gold and silver just to embark on any sort of voyage. The answer is in a big iron bound wooden two-lock chest kept in the Captain's cabin, which is exactly what we have got!
We all know the tradition that sailing orders were not opened until the ship had sailed, like in the popular movie "The Hunt for Red October". That is an old tradition dating back hundreds of years so there was no possibility of information leakage whilst still in port.
The fact is the Man-o-Wars cash in gold and silver together with the sailing orders were sealed into a chest back at the Admiralty and then delivered to the ship upon sailing. Once at sea the Captain broke the seals and read the orders while in the company of his senior officers.
This oak iron bound sea chest measures 18-inches tall, 25.5 inches wide and 16.5 inches deep. It is of substantial construction being iron bound around the center with many iron brackets to each side and the corners. It has an internal lock and then covering that keyhole is a hasp for which a second key is required. Therefore, two officers were required to open the chest each officer retaining one key. Inside the lid there is a handwritten notation:
FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF THE ROYAL NAVY, PORTSMOUTH
The most convincing and attractive features of all however are the remains of many wax seals, some still clearly legible, all over the exterior of the lock and hasp area showing "fouled anchors" surrounded by letters, we suspect in Latin. The wax seals clearly show the evidence of additional fastenings, ropes, straps, that once liberated from the wax were completely removed.
All in all, a very historic and romantic genuine British Naval item with plenty of research potential, offered in great collector's condition and ready for display!
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