Five don’t-miss emporiums for nautical treasures and curiosities

From rare maritime antiques to beachy objets, sea-themed first editions to fashionable fishermen’s sweaters

Janice Hyland and Alan Granby of Hyland Granby Antiques
Janice Hyland and Alan Granby of Hyland Granby Antiques | Image: Dorothy Hong

A beacon for maritime collectors on Cape Cod

It’s hard to imagine a more apropos setting for one of the world’s most magnificent maritime art and antiques shops than a converted lighthouse on Cape Cod’s South Shore. This is exactly what you’ll find at Hyland Granby Antiques – a 11,148sq m store-cum-museum-cum-library sprawling across not only the whitewashed Hyannis Light, dating from 1849, but also a lighthouse keeper’s house and a barn filled with nautical artefacts from around the world. Overlooking the Nantucket Sound, the home and workspace of collector-curator-scholars Janice Hyland and Alan Granby perfectly showcases their ever-changing display of rare objects – a maritime collection featuring everything from lightship baskets (set of eight, $90,000) to vintage America’s Cup images ($300-$8,500). The highlights of nautical painting include racing scenes ($125,000-$750,000) by James Buttersworth and Continent ($75,000) by Liverpudlian artist Duncan McFarlane displayed alongside assorted ships’ clocks ($1,000-$50,000) and marine watches ($5,000-$140,000) with complex movements by Rolex, Patek Philippe and FP Journe. By appt only, 91 Harbor Road, Hyannis Port, MA 02647 (+1508-790 0807; hylandgranby.com).

Taxidermy crustacean exoskeleton, €6,500, from Sea Memory
Taxidermy crustacean exoskeleton, €6,500, from Sea Memory | Image: Jean-Philippe Piter
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A St Barth’s showcase of ocean-themed objets

For those who can pull themselves away from St Barths’ beaches, Sea Memory pays tribute to the wonders of the ocean with a mix of nautical and marine-inspired pieces. The Lacour family, whose emporium caters to a discerning clientele – many of whom dock in nearby Gustavia harbour – have carved out a niche as purveyors of handmade leather goods, exotic wood furnishings and home accessories in horn and mother-of‑pearl. The vibe is that of an elegant beach house, with crystals, paintings and picture frames all arranged as you’d find them at home: chunks of blue agate (from €1,000) set atop glass pedestals, as well as rare corals (€800-€4,000) in deep red and indigo hues and taxidermy crustacean exoskeletons (€6,500). The brilliant colours of the island emerge again in lime, orange and lilac treasure boxes (from €90) and sculpted horn objets d’art (€180). Model boats (€560-€2,000) are a Sea Memory speciality, with miniature mahogany Rivas by French maquette maker Kiade among the most popular, while paintings (€500-€2,000) by contemporary French artist La Roche Lafitte illustrate Caribbean shells, sailboats and assorted sea creatures. 26 Rue du Roi Oscar II, Gustavia, 97133 Saint Barthélemy (+59059-0297 224; seamemorysbh.com).

Minyatür’s Haluk Yedek
Minyatür’s Haluk Yedek | Image: Mathias Depardon
Mister Freedom wool Waterfront pea coat, about £900, from Maritime Antiques
Mister Freedom wool Waterfront pea coat, about £900, from Maritime Antiques | Image: Maja Flink

An Istanbul portal to a bygone seafaring age

In the heart of Istanbul’s labyrinthine Grand Bazaar is an Aladdin’s cave that seems to have been lifted from the pages of Jules Verne’s 1870 sci-fi classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. A magical emporium packed to the ceiling with an intriguing inventory of nautical antiques, Minyatür is overseen by Haluk Yedek, a collector and seafaring historian. From globes (from $500) to Soviet-era submarine phones (from $1,500) to ships’ bells (from $750), the sheer scope of the stock attracts a wide range of visitors, including the King of Morocco – who bought ships’ windows and a magnifying glass for his daughter. Minyatür may be in the buzzing bazaar, but it is also a portal to a bygone age of seafaring adventure. Istanbul’s best guides bring their clients here for an intimate, museum-like experience that is both entertaining and educational. Yedek’s impromptu lessons in maritime history might focus on offerings from the Ottoman period – such as a brass compass ($1,000) or pocket watch ($1,250) – or they might examine still-functioning nautical instruments: wooden and folding cameras (from $200) by Voiglönder, Agfa and Leica, and German microscopes (from $650) by Leitz. Kapalicarsi Ic Bedesten 31-34, Beyazit, Istanbul (+90212-526 4549).

Mate Gallery’s 148sq m space is teeming with nostalgic nautical finds
Mate Gallery’s 148sq m space is teeming with nostalgic nautical finds | Image: Matt Albiani
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An emporium of quirky nautical finds in Copenhagen

Crossing the threshold of Maritime Antiques in the historic district of Frederiksstaden, visitors are greeted by the scent of traditional Swedish tar ropes. “It’s the store’s perfume,” says Frans Pachner, whose father founded this Copenhagen anomaly near the harbour over 40 years ago. Today, every purchase is wrapped in brown paper and tied with delicately scented fine tar twine.The store’s world-class collection of maritime antiques includes an exceptionally precious 18th-century Swedish binnacle (DKr170,000, about £19,600) and rare half-hull model ships (£4,500 and £18,000). But since taking the reins, Pachner and his partner Magali Chiaberge have added an unexpected fashion angle to their offering. Presented on rough-hewn tables accented with clam shells and skeins of rope are fishermen’s sweaters (from £160) by SNS Herning – a Danish label founded in 1931 – and sailor crewnecks (about £330) by Andersen-Andersen. Pachner and Chiaberge are particularly fond of Mister Freedom, the California workwear specialist whose pea coats (from £900), leather jackets (about £900) and selvedge denim jeans (about £300) are highly sought after – and theirs is the only store in Denmark to carry them. Toldbodgade 15, 1253 Copenhagen (+4533-121 257; maritime-antiques.dk).

A design lover’s seaside dream in California

Matt Albiani, originally from Massachusetts, and Ron Brand, from Broughty Ferry in Scotland, drew on their seaside roots to create Mate Gallery, a magical space in the oceanside town of Montecito, California, that’s teeming with nostalgic nautical finds. It is a preppy design-lover’s dream, stocked with rare pieces sourced from its owners’ travels. Curiosities run the gamut from ships in bottles ($75-$295) from Maine that are “a favourite, and very difficult to find in mint condition” to cream Hudson’s Bay wool blankets ($425) with trims of navy, red and emerald green, while Brand’s British roots can be seen in coastal ceramics (from $19) by Jersey Pottery, decorated with fish. Tables and shelves are stacked with classic books – vintage copies of Jaws ($45), for example – as well as the duo’s own Sun Burn soy-based candles ($45), scented to evoke a day at the beach. A pair of giant lobster claws in a 30cm-high cloche ($295-$695) and textural rope-wrapped surfboards (from $1,100) are among the eye-catching inventory. “We bring beat-up surfboards to a local artisan, who then wraps them in 152m of rope,” explains Brand of these one-of-a-kind, very SoCal objets d’art.1024 Coast Village Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108 (+1805-895 6283; mategallery.com).

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