From the March 2016 issue

When amateur astronomers grow old and wish to donate their telescope and observatory to their local club, who assesses the value?

Steve Rismiller, Mims, Florida
By | Published: March 28, 2016 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Obsession 18-inch UC Dobsonian-mounted Newtonian telescope
Obsession Telescopes’ 18-inch UC Dobsonian-mounted Newtonian telescope
James Forbes
The issue of appraising telescopes and related equipment comes up often among members of the Antique Telescope Society, many of whom are collectors. Some years back, we had a professional appraiser speak at one of our annual meetings. Surprising many of us, she warned us regarding the legal danger of offering appraisals without being credentialed as a professional appraiser.

However, professionals can be found online. For historical instruments, one well-known specialist business is Tesseract,, run by David and Yola Coffeen since 1982. They deal in early scientific and medical instruments. For years, they have published Rittenhouse, the journal of the historical American scientific instrument enterprise.

But when I myself am wondering about the current market value of astronomical equipment, I turn to the Astromart website. I can search its vast archive of sales by equipment model name or by any other keyword. In that way, I’m able to document recent prices paid for almost any imaginable astronomical hardware.

John W. Briggs
Antique Telescope Society
Magdalena, New Mexico