SS Great Eastern souvenir carved cowrie shell
The SS Great Eastern was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and was launched in 1858. At the time she was the largest ship ever built and initially sailed the England to Australia route as she was the only ship that could do this without stopping to re-fuel. She later went on to sail the transatlantic crossings between Britain and North America. She was eventually broken up in 1889.
These shells were carved and sold to passengers on the SS Great Eastern as souvenirs of their journey. This one says "A present from the Grt Eastern" and then some figures on the ship with:
There is no damage to the shell and just a couple of small green stains although they may be within the shell itself. This is a lovely piece of maritime history and a fascinating and rare souvenir from a remarkable ship.