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This is an actual certificate from such a celebration for a seaman, Norman C. Davis, from January 24,1921.

Prior to WWII, world travel was an adventure for most people and crossing the equator was an event of some importance. In the navies of the U.S. and Great Britain, crossing the equator for the first time was an event celebrated by a ritual known Neptunus Rex. It is performed to initiate sailors as they cross the equator for the first time. The ceremony most likely began as a mystic ritual centuries ago and has evolved into a boisterous initiation of novices in the US Navy -- Pollywogs becoming Shellbacks.

The Certificate reads:

Domain Of Neptunus Rex
To all sailors wherever ye may be, and to all Mermaids, Sea Serpents, Whales, Sharks, Porpoises, Dolphins, Skates, Eels, Suckers, Lobsters, Crabs, Pollywogs and Other Living Things of the Sea.
Greeting: Know ye: That on this 24th day of January 1921 in Latitude 00000 and Longitude 81° 58' W. there appeared within the limit of Our Royal Domain the U.S.S. New York bound southward for the Equator and South American Ports.
Be It Remembered
That the said Vessel and Officers and Crew thereof have been inspected and passed on by Ourself and Our Royal Staff And Be It Known: By all ye Sailors, Marines, Land Lubbers and others who may be honored by his presence that
NORMAN C. DAVIS
having been found worthy to be numbered as ONE OF OUR TRUSTY SHELLBACKS has been gathered to our fold and duly initiated into the
SOLEMN MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENT ORDER OF THE DEEP.
Be it further Understood: That by virtue of the power invested in me, I do hereby command all my subjects to show due honor and respect to him whenever he may enter Our Realm.
Disobey this order under penalty of Our Royal Displeasure.
Given under our hand and seal this 24th day of January 1921
Davey Jones His Majesty's Scribe
Neptunus Rex Ruler of the Raging Main

The Certificate is printed with green and black ink and features images of Mermaids, Neptune, Navy Battleship, Sea Serpents, American Eagle, Sea Horses, Shells, Crabs and Lobster.

The large gold seal reads: “Department of the Navy, U.S.S. New York” and has red, white and blue ribbon tails.

Measurements: Approximately 22” x 16 ¾” and is mounted on matboard.

Condition: Vintage 1921. See Photos.

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Cathy Ann Vandegrift

1921 Domain of Neptunus Rex Equator Passing Membership Certificate U.S.S. New York Sailor Pollywog to Shellback

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Overview

  • Vintage item from the 1920s
  • Materials: Paper, Ribbon, Matboard
  • Feedback: 129 reviews
  • Ships worldwide from New Jersey, United States
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