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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Collectibles > Feature: Antique Scientific Equipment
Taking measure of an emerging collecting field


The Market for Antique Scientific Equipment

Condition & Care

Antique Radios

Old Radio Values

Old Radio Speakers

Old Phonographs


Taking measure of an emerging collecting field

If your pulse races at the sight of a dusty sextant or cobweb-covered microscope, then you may count yourself among a small but growing market of collectors fascinated by vintage scientific equipment.

Science and technology is not a mainstream market.  Within the category there are narrow specialties and many of these are not household items that everyone recognizes.  Association through occupation or family heritage is a big part of the market; for instance, with so many people in the computer industry recognizing the huge changes taking place, they naturally turn back and look at its history.

Calculating, surveying, and medical are all hot, emerging areas.  Navigation has slipped, or not grown as much as other areas.  Any type of instrument with a real provenance, such as a Nobel Prize winner's equipment, is extremely coveted.  Early electrical stands by itself, because of the broad household related interest.  Anything associated with Edison is hot; early light bulbs can be worth over $1,000.  A recently recently appraised Edison electric pen put the value at $29,500.

Some collectors enjoy the aesthetic appeal, while others delve deeper, researching an object's scientific development.  Every category has its important developmental features, so any instruments related to pioneers in the field as well as items like drawings or patent applications are also considered important.

Next: The Market for Antique Scientific Equipment

Condition & Care

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