Antique scientific instruments is a very specialist area of collecting, and the items that are sold in our regular Suffolk auctions attract interest from worldwide collectors.


Brass examples are more desirable to black lacquered types, largely because they indicate better quality. Powell & Lealand, George Adams, R. J. Beck, and J. H. Steward are some of the higher quality makers. Sets of microscope slides are also making good money at auction, although they need to contain early and unusual samples.


There are different kinds of barometers, such as Mercury stick barometers, and collectors usually prefer Victorian or earlier examples. Good makers include Alexander Adie & Son (Edinburgh), Ramsden (London), and Dolland (London). Aneroid barometers – although usually not as valuable – are still highly sought-after. Names of sought-after makers to look out for include Negretti & Zambra, and E. J. Dent.


Typically the more drawers (sections) a telescope has the more collectable and valuable it is. Dolland, James Short, Carey of London, and S.&B. Solomon are some of the makers commanding good prices at auction.


Carl Zeiss is the maker that seems most collectable at the current time. They also made (and, indeed, still make) various scientific instruments, including microscopes and telescopes.

Victorian walnut cased Negretti & Zambra stereoscope.

Auction #142 / Lot 1148

hammer £3300

Elizabethan bronze measuring cup.

Auction #91/ Lot 1027

hammer £5400

18th Century Irish maritime navigational compass by Spear of Dublin.

Auction #128 / Lot 1281

hammer £650

German WWII Carl Zeiss Jena binoculars.

auction #138/Lot 534

hammer £2000

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