We buy or can help you sell Surveying & Scientific Related Antiques!!
We deal in many different types and styles of antique surveying
instruments and related accessories an early explorer,
surveyor, architect, engineer or builder
would have used in his trade.
In addition to this
informational website we operate
www.Patented-Antiques.com where we conduct our surveying instrument and other antique sales from.
That website is one of the largest single owner antique sales websites
on the internet dealing in surveying related antiques and other tool and
technology related antiques.
If you have
surveying instruments or other tool & technology
antiques you would like to sell please visit that webpage to see how we
conduct our consignment sales. If you would like to consign
with us and have additional questions please see the
FAQ page and
other informational pages at
either site or
The list of
desirable surveying instrument makers
is extensive, and
starts with such famous makers as 18th century makers like Rittenhouse, who made instruments during
George Washington's time, both for him, Thomas Jefferson, and other
notable figures of that time.
Later and more well known prolific makers like W. E. Gurley,
Lietz, Buff, Berger, Heller & Brightly, Keuffel and Esser, Roach, Sala, or Queen & Co. to name just a few are desirable and sought after
as well. There are numerous early makers of surveying instruments that have normal given
names that were in business for varying periods of time in the 18th & 19th
century. The list of individual maker names is extensive and can not
really be given here but there is interest in many of these lesser known
surveying instrument makers as well.
Wye, Dumpy, Railroad, Engineers, Architects
& Other Surveying Levels
On this page I will briefly discuss different types
and forms of surveying levels, and give you a sense of different
surveying levels values should you have one for sale. In
general levels are not worth as much as say compasses or transits.
Wye Levels are better than dumpy levels. Convertible or Architects
levels are better than dumpy levels, but not by much. As with
other surveying instruments, usually the earlier the better with
early to mid 19th century levels being worth far more than 19th
Pictured here is a Wye level or engineer's level made
by W. L. & E Gurley of Troy NY. It dates from the
late 19th century. Levels like this looked very similar for nearly
100 years with only minor changes. They came in lengths from under
12" to 26" or so. Just above is a very small Gurley
Explorer's level. That levels scope is only 10" long or so,
and is a very hard to find instrument. Wye level values can range from about $100
to $1000 or more for a rare variation, or an example by an early, rare and desirable
Most later and more typical level values fall into the $200.00 - $500.00 range in nice
condition w/ box and
tripod. Examples of levels that would fall into the lower end
of any range are later examples in a black or green crinkle finish
like the one pictured here on the right. Dumpy levels are
much the same. On the other hand, the level in the top left
corner is in a black finish, but is a very rare "Precise" level
made for the US Coast and eodedic Survey and
would sell for much more. It is all in the details.
Surveying Levels were designed and offered for different applications and
oftentimes their names are an indication of that use. Examples are
railroad levels, architects levels, farm or drainage levels, dumpy
levels and more.
They were made and
offered for jobs where the
user does not have the need to shoot vertical angles but did need to
shoot long straight and level lines.
On the rleft is what is known as an Alidade. It is
basically a level scope mounted to a base plate. This type of
was used in the field to help draw maps layout roads and were used in conjunction with a
plane table & tripod. They come in different forms and sizes,
and are identified by names such as
high post, low post, explorer, and others for different
They are not rare, and many are later as they were in common usage
well into the 20th century. In general they sell in the 200
-300 range with a few bringing more. They do have a graphic look about them and earlier
examples do display nicely.
Next is what is
known as a convertible level. This type of level / transit could be set up
a standard level (as shown), or by using the pieces shown the instrument could be
turned 90 degrees in the frame and was reinserted to be used as a basic if not crude transit
to shoot vertical angles. These complex
looking, but relatively simple survey devices were mostly aimed at casual or less professional users
such as home builders and were produced
in large numbers. Top of the line models also had a compass.
(See below right) In general they do not usually command large sums of money
in today's marketplace and $200.00 - 400.00 about covers it.
If you have a surveying instrument that you want to sell
pictures of the instrument you want to sell and the
amount you think you want to net from it sale would be a
great help. Without that info it is going to be difficult to
discuss or determine if there is a real interest in your piece.
Unrealistic expectations especially when the seller is the only one who
knows what that number is are just a time waster.
to evaluate or consider an instrument that is being offered for sale
without seeing it and having the important details is a near impossible
situation. Just telling me
you have a Gurley, Berger, David White, or other name instrument and giving me the
serial number is not enough information. Asking me what your
instrument is worth without seeing it, and with just that amount of info would be like me asking
you what my car is worth, without me telling you anything
more about it other than that it is a Toyota. In most cases it simply can not be done with so
little information. At a minimum please have the instrument in front
of you when you call.
If you are looking for a quick sale you might consider eBay, but if
to try and net something approaching a rreasonable retail you should contact me.
I routinely sell instruments from our sales website for far more than similar
pieces bring on eBay.
I am also
interested in buying early tripods or staffs that came with most
surveying instruments. They can come in a variety of sizes and
configurations and there is always a market for them.
The surveying instruments you see here are examples
of the caliber, condition and quality of these antiques that
we primarily deal in and can help you sell. To see sales
results of instruments and other antiques we
have sold in the past,
please see the Sales Archive Pages in the right column.
If you have quality antique surveying instruments
similar to those that you see on this page that you want to
please contact us at
LCM@AntiqBuyer.com providing me with as many details as possible.
To see examples of antique surveying instruments
and related equipment that I currently have for sale, please go to our sister site at
visit the surveying related sale pages you will find there.
Larry & Carole