ATS FAQ - Telescopes & Collecting
Can you help me identify this Telescope? Maker? Instrument?
Frequently, ATS members can identify a telescope or it's maker and there
is a very high success rate in that regard. It is surprising how
many makers didn't sign their work, but characteristic design and
construction details can usually pin-point the instrument's origin.
Submitting an image, especially by e-mail to email@example.com, is
especially helpful and the more detailed and numerous the images, the
better. Also, try to include images or descriptions of accessories,
cases and any pertinent historical data. For example, if the telescope
or item is known to have existed on a certain date, that will rule out
any later makers.
Where can I get more information about a Telescope? Maker? Item?
The membership is highly knowledgeable about sources of information and
research and several members and member institutions have extensive
astronomical libraries. Casual inquiries will be directed to ATS members
most likely to have your answer. More serious research inquiries will
likely be handled on an ongoing basis, ie: members will be made aware of
your research interest and as new information becomes available, they will
usually forward it on a continuing basis. Typically, ATS members have
been very generous with sharing information and research. Conversely, it
is appreciated when the ATS can use your material in the Journal or on
this Web site.
Can you tell me what my telescope/book/accessory is worth?
It has been the policy of the ATS that, officially, the organization
does not comment on the value of any item. However, individual members
will usually give an opinion on an item or steer the inquirer to
information about recent, similar sales or auctions. "Caveat Emptor" is
considered an appropriate strategy by many members who are experienced
collectors and being thoroughly familiar with an item you intend to
purchase is always a good policy.
Can you assist with an appraisal?
The ATS does not offer an appraisal service. But there are members of
the Society who have done appraisals or who can aid in locating an
appropriate appraisal firm.
I am looking to buy a (insert your hot collectable here!) .... Can you
help me find one?
In a word ... maybe. The ATS is not a buying, selling or trading
service. However, as a Society, members are constantly sharing their
information and many members are collectors. One benefit of joining the
ATS is that instruments that become available are usually noticed
quickly by ATS members who are collectors, and the word spreads.
What about Spyglasses; Multiple Draw Telescopes; Signal Corp. Telescopes;
and Military Optics?
Terrestrial telescopes (showing a normal upright, left-right correct
image) were extremely common in years past ... and therefore we have
seen innumerable requests for information about them ... if fact,
too many to answer individually. Unfortunately there is no published
source that is helpful as a guide to spyglasses that we are aware
of. Also, since the Antique Telescope Society is principally
organized around the history of the Astronomical Telescope (much
more rare and typically of much greater quality), this site does not
maintain significant information about spyglasses. The following
short treatment gives some background on styles and uses of these
instruments. At the end is a short bibliography of sources for
identifying makers whose names are engraved upon the instruments or
cases. This is a good start for researching a spyglass. Without a
maker's name, there is little hope of ever identifying one of these
instruments as there were literally hundreds of makers over the last
two or three centuries. Finally, regarding the value of spyglasses,
a great number have appeared in the internet auctions and For Sale
sites and this is the best place to get a feel for the value of just
such an instrument since it is indicative of current market
conditions. Typically, though, only the finest specimens with good
optics and some interesting feature (superior optics; a nice case; a
presentation engraving; a highly prized maker's name; exotic
materials) command good prices. Unfortunately, the vast majority
don't fall into this category.