Nantucket Lightship Baskets by Wendy L. Marshall
Rainbow Fleet


The authentic Nantucket Lightship Basket is a fine work of useful art. Because, they are so practical, beautiful, and have achieved a certain prominence, a crop of manufacturers offering "authentic reproductions" has arisen. Some basket companies are open about this as they work to sell their 'reproduction' baskets as decorations while others work hard to obscure and confuse authentic baskets with mass-produced lesser baskets. My goal is to be sure that you have the information required to make a fully-informed choice concerning your investment in an heirloom quality Nantucket Lightship Basket.

The authentic Nantucket Lightship Basket is made individually by hand using a certain variety of materials and techniques. They are never mass-produced. They never use plastics or "faux" ivory or "Ivoryite" for parts or any adornment. They have never been stained to 'antique' their appearance. Most "reproductions" do not have the signature plug made of wood, bone or ivory in the baskets' base, although, some now do. Authentic Nantucket Lightship Baskets are never made overseas and then imported and then signed or 'Authenticated' to enhance their salability, such as is the case with most new baskets sold by "Nathan Taylor". It is my view that any basket made by "Farnum", "Barlow" or "Basketville" is a copy, or "reproduction" of a Nantucket Lightship Basket. A Nantucket Lightship Basket with no signature or date hand carved in its base is unlikely to be authentic. Large basket retailers seldom, if ever, sell authentic Nantucket Lightship Baskets. Quality Nantucket Lightship Baskets can be traced back to their actual maker.

Finally, even among quality Nantucket Lightship Baskets, and there are some truly remarkable basket makers, there is a variation of what is included with each basket or in its construction, quality and fittings. For example, bone or polymer instead of whole, natural ivory, or the use of computer generated scrimshaw, some of which is also "signed" by the computer, rather than by artistic scrimshanders, avoiding hardwoods, or a lesser guarantee for the basket. Each of these choices reduce cost, uniqueness and quality as well as the value of the basket.

My philosophy is to use only the very best and most beautiful woods and appointments from which to lovingly and carefully craft each basket, and then to offer them at very competitive prices. In other words, every part of these heirloom and investment quality baskets is made with the most expensive, finest and most beautiful, raw materials with exquisite attention to every detail, one basket at a time by me. Every basket comes with a full lifetime guarantee. Yet, my prices are always reasonable.

My philosophy applies to every basket I make according to your choices and selections. I will always advise you how to achieve the finest basket and most exquisite components, so feel free to ask questions and together we can create your dream basket.