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Naval Telescope


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As mentioned in another thread, here is the telescope I found in an auction the other week. The auction house don't publish records so I don't have the original photos but here are three I took which are basically the same as the catalogue. The main difference being that the originals were taken with a plain background so I had no idea of how big it was. 




It turned out to be around 38 inches long.

Having seen it I just carried on looking through the rest of the catalogue but a thought started to haunt me: how did it ever get into that condition? Most articles like this go through a stage of being worth nothing, even in good condition, but even a good one left in a shed for years would still be in better condition than this? The auction house specialise in house clearances in Norfolk so it's possible this was washed up on the beach after a shipwreck and left in someone's loft?? I decided it would be worth up to £30 as a project for research and if it went for more then it would have found a more worthy owner. In good condition these only sell for around £80 - £100 at auction. Nobody else gave it a thought so it was mine for a fiver. More later..

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it should have a makers name or model number on it, which would give us some idea of the age, 38" long is a pretty serious length, from the looks, I would say a 3" or bigger objective (lens at the front) possibly only the outer lens element is broken (they are generally a composite of 2 or more lenses.

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My brother in law is into militaria and it was he who taught me to look for the broad arrow to signify military artefacts. He also buys stuff at auctions and likes to research the history of medals and reunite them with the family if possible. Anyway, he also lives near Dereham and collects my stuff for me and I do likewise when he buys from an auction local to me. This is usually once a fortnight.

So he collected the telescope and inspected it briefly. Gently pulling out the eyepiece to reveal what I have pictured below.






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And the other end:



And the middle bit:


As you can see, a rat may have chewed the leather but I doubt it could weald a hammer to do that damage!

The two nuts holding the mounting spigot were loose but the pivot is solid. What has moved, has done so freely and I'll not be trying to move anything else until more history is known. As I hinted at before, it may just be a piece of junk but if it represents lives that were lost then it's a memorial and will be treated as such.

I have emailed the Royal Navy Museum as a first step and await their reply.

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22 hours ago, floydraser said:

 In good condition these only sell for around £80 - £100 at auction. Nobody else gave it a thought so it was mine for a fiver. More later..

Some online for up to £230 in good condition

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  • 4 months later...

Just reading that Ian has been busy yet again for Hemsby lifeboat.

I had no luck with the museum so the telescope has been wrapped up and stored in my attic. I'm thinking that uncovering it's history would add interest and value to it. Then it could go back to auction and the proceeds could go to the lifeboat, as it came from Norfolk.

It would perfect to find it listed on an inventory of a ship but I doubt that'll happen. I'm waiting for the BBC to update their Antiques Roadshow website with next year's venues.

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