Nautical Bygones

Specialists in Maritime Antiques & Collectables

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Please don't hesitate to make us an offer on any item.

So much of the world's history has been based around nautical travel and exploration that the number of nautical antiques and collectables is as limitless as the sea itself.

Nautical Bygones is a family firm run by Brian and Maggie Place. Brian was introduced to the sea by his parents when just a child. They would annually charter a boat from Dartmouth in Devon, England for many happy summer holidays on the South Coast. It was there that Brian gained a love for the sea which he never lost.

As a teenager Brian took up Scuba Diving and after qualifying spent many years diving and discovering the seas around the UK and beyond. Brian then took up skydiving and helped form the “Aces High Freefall Display Team” and whilst performing Skydiving displays on an invited trip to Malta formed a new business there which included various forms of water-sports including Paracending, Waterskiing, Speedboat Trips and Windsurfing.

On returning to the UK Brian & Maggie together with their children bought there first boat an Albin Viggen and from their bases in Preston and Anglesey sailed regularly in the Irish Sea. The collecting bug had started and soon they had their home filled with many maritime collectables and curios. Maggie ended up being made redundant from her retail role and the idea of Nautical Bygones was born.

Over the last few years Nautical Bygones have supplied interesting Maritime objects to Museums, Film & TV studios, Hotels, Restaurants and Pubs and collectors all over the world. Clients include Warner Bros. Universal Studios, Malta Maritime Museum, Ingear, Venetian Hotels, Office blocks in Dallas, Villas in France Restaurants in Spain to name just few. We believe our product range will appreciate in value over the coming years as supplies of quality items continue to diminish.

During the last few years, thousands of fine marine antiques have been found, bought, restored and sold to avid collectors, boat owners and folks who just want the feel of the sea in their home or office.

Thank you for visiting our site, we hope you will browse our other pages and get a feel for our stock. Individual items are changing on a daily basis, however the photographs represent typical stock lines that we carry. Please contact us if you have a specific interest - if we don't have what you are looking for, we are more than happy to hunt down that elusive item. We have the time if you have the patience.

Browsing through Nautical Bygones can be a voyage through maritime history or simply a casual search for things related to the sea. Take your time to enjoy some of the finest nautical items available.

Our stock includes antique navigational instruments and ship's lanterns, clocks, barometers, wheels, telegraphs, binnacles, telescopes, both vintage and antique and many other nautical decorative items.

Let us add you to our lists of satisfied clients

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Historical Interest


SS Columbus (1922)

SS Columbus (1922)

I have recently been lucky to offer for sale a very rare binnacle compass off one of the life boats from this ship.


The SS Columbus, was a German ocean liner laid down before the start of World War I. The vessel was originally to be named Hindenburg. However, her then-sister, originally named Columbus, was handed over to British government and then sold to the White Star Line after the war as part of reparations in 1920. The Allies allowed the Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL), her owners, to keep the remaining ship. NDL decided to give her the name of her departed sister, now the British Homeric. Construction, which had been held up by the war, resumed at Schichau Shipyards in Danzig, Germany.

Construction and maiden voyage
Material shortages caused by the war delayed her completion until 1922. She made her maiden voyage in April 1924. At the time, she was the German merchant marine's largest, fastest ocean liner.
She measured 32,581 gross register tons, was 775 feet (236 m) long with 1,750 cabins for luxury, first, second and tourist class passengers. Her maximum speed was 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph). "She had been chartered for a number of years by Cooks Travel Agency in New York and cruised into West Indian waters about every two weeks with occasional trips around South America and Africa."[2]:5
She was one of the first liners to have an outside swimming pool installed on her top deck, as well as a platform for night-time dancing. She had triple-expansion steam engines and was quite popular and convinced NDL that larger passenger liners were feasible.


Later career
With the building of the liners Bremen and Europa, the Columbus was supplanted as the queen of the NDL fleet. In 1929, she was given a refit to make her resemble her younger, larger and faster running mates. This included the addition of two larger smokestacks and replacement of the reciprocating engines with geared steam turbines.

She left Bremerhaven for New York on 20 June 1939. She left New York for a West Indies cruise on 19 August 1939. At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Columbus was ordered to return to Germany at once. The Royal Navy was on the lookout for enemy ships. Putting her passengers ashore at Havana, Cuba, her captain and crew sped to Veracruz, evading the British. In early November, they received orders to attempt a blockade run to Germany. On 14 December the Columbus departed Veracruz, escorted by seven American destroyers through the American coastal neutrality zone.[

On 19 December the British destroyer HMS Hyperion sighted Columbus about 400 miles off the coast of Virginia. The still neutral American heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa was also in the area, and silently observed the two ships. Rather than surrender the ship, her crew scuttled her, and she burned and sank. Her passengers and crew, 576 crew members, including boys, stevedores and nurses, were taken aboard Tuscaloosa as rescued seamen, not as prisoners of war as they would have been had the British picked them up. Tuscaloosa took all personnel to New York City.[3][4] On 18 January 1940, 512 crewmen were moved to Angel Island. In October, 8 officers were able to escape on the Asama Maru. German nationals from the Columbus were sent to Fort Stanton, New Mexico. At the end of war many returned to Germany.

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Surgeon Commodore Noel Bevan Collection

Surgeon Commodore Noel Bevan Collection

Surgeon Commodore Noel Bevan OStJ MB BS LRCP MRCS FRCGP FHEA RN(Retd.) Queen’s Honorary Physician 2005-11 Formerly Director, Royal Naval Medical Service


This is a small collection I have that belonged to a very eminent naval officer, doctor and inventor, Surgeon Commodore Noel Bevan. 

To see a brief biog of his naval life please see below. 


The items include a very desirable WW2 Air ministry boxed sextant made by Henry Hughes & Son. It appears to be in very good complete condition, please check over the photos to make sure it is how it should be! It is in a fitted wooden box which is solid and closes fine. It also contains a letter from Bevan which appears to be be an order for a brass plate to be made to be fitted to the Sextant, though I'm guessing it was never actioned upon. please see the many photos provided for details of the items and condition.


Naval Biography written by Noel for his School
Surgeon Commodore Noel Bevan OStJ MB BS LRCP MRCS FRCGP FHEA RN (Retd.)
Queen’s Honorary Physician 2005-11
Formerly Director, Royal Naval Medical Service


"In 1971, I gained a place at the then St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London, (now amalgamated with Imperial College) from where I graduated in 1976. Having taken up a medical cadetship with the Royal Navy whilst a student, I commenced my career in the Royal Navy in 1977. Initially taking up a short career commission of 5 years, I subsequently ended up completing 38 years! Following a couple of years in general duties at sea and in a shore establishment, I trained as a general practitioner and served in Hong Kong (twice), London (several times), Portugal, Portsmouth (several times) and Plymouth. I eventually became Adviser in General Practice for the Royal Navy, then Tri-Service Director of General Practice and then Defence Postgraduate Medical Dean. My final appointment was Director, Royal Naval Medical Service from which I retired in 2011. I now work part-time as a Fitness to Practise panellist for the General Medical Council"

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Our Stand at a recent Antiques Fair


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  • Manchester, England, United Kingdom
  • Ashton under Lyne Viewing by appointment only

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Bosun's Blog


The "Log" was first described as being a piece of shaped wood with a weight attached at one end in order that it should float upright in the water. The log was attached by three short pieces of rope to the so-called "log line" and the log was cast astern of the vessel. The log line was knotted at regular intervals and the number of knots played out during a period of half a minute, again timed by a log glass, was counted. This operation provides the origin of the expression for describing the speed of a ship in "knots".

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Collecting Maritime and Nautical Antiques and Curios is and should be a fun hobby. Pieces in a collection all have a story to tell, not only about their construction and use but also on their aquisition.

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The two main factors to be determined by the navigator are the plotting of a course between two known points and the ship's position at any time.

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The magnetic compass was first invented as a device for divinationas early as the Chinese Han Dynasty (since c. 206 BC), and later adopted for navigation by the Song Dynasty Chinese during the 11th century. The first usage of a compass recorded in Western Europe and the Islamic world occurred around 1190.

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Royal Navy Rum Ration

Royal Navy Rum Ration

The rum ration (also called tot) was a daily amount of rum given to sailors on Royal Navy ships. It was abolished in 1970 after concerns that regular intakes of alcohol would lead to unsteady hands when working machinery.

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