Often carved from rare woods like Ebony or from the teeth or bones of sperm whales, whale stamps were used to record types of whales and the number of barrels of oil rendered from them. The stamps were inked into a whale-ship’s log, with an empty space for writing in the number.
The three stamps shown here are from left to right (of top right image):
1. Stamp made of whale bone and Ebony. The stamp has a turned and ribbed handle mounted into a rectangular base. At either short end of the stamp is a circular inlaid ivory disk. The whale depicted on this stamp is shown slightly arched, as if it was about to rise out of the ocean.
2. Stamp made of whale bone and wood. The stamp has a turned handle which is inlaid with small circles of ivory that is mounted into a solid, rectangular whale bone base. The base is in turn inlaid with small circles of Ebony on the two long sides. On the two short sides of the base there is a half whale depicted - one side has the tale half while the other has the head half. The primary stamp depicts a whale with a raised tale.
3. Stamp made of whale bone and wood. This stamp is composed primarily of whale bone with a turned drop form knob. The top of the knob is inlaid with wood, probably Ebony, while the base is solid piece of chamfered whale bone. This stamp depicts the straight profile of a whale.