Carl Plath’s Earliest Bronze Frame Quintant / Sextant

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Presentation Grade!

Presented for the second time is the earliest C. Plath, bronze frame, quintant that we formerly sold to the president of a prestigious trade association.

It was given to honor the accomplishments of the recipient. Time has passed and the honoree is down sizing so this fine instrument has found its way to market again. It carries C. Plath’s Serial Number 4370 that is stamped on both its arc and on the on the top edge of the instrument’s magnificent flaming Mahogany case. It is 1689 serial numbers earlier than the lowest number that we have in our proprietary register of C. Plath, Hamburg serial numbers that we maintain. Therefore, we can date it as late 19th Century.

C. Plath Hamburg is prominently engraved on its arc in Copper Plate script which was the style of the mid 19th Century. In 2012, four years ago, it was polished and lacquered and continues to look fresh. The brilliant case and the matching stylish instrument makes this perfect for presentation or as a very special gift.

It has an approximately 3 1/2 power telescope, and a sighting tube for shooting terrestrial objects. The adjustable rising piece allows moving the telescope towards or away from the frame making the horizon more distinct under varying light conditions.

The bronze arc has a Sliver insert that is calibrated -5 to +155 degrees with a vernier that reads from the right, from 0 to 10 arc seconds. The Serial Number is engraved on the left lower of the arc and just above an old style “Sun Shooter“ logo as on earlier designs of this make. The sextant has four index shades and three horizon shades.

A quintant has a range of arc of 144° compared to a sextant which reads to 120°. This was helpful in measuring Lunar Distances, which was a means of determining longitude without a chronometer.
Horizon mirror of oldest Plath bronze frame sextant image
Oldest bronze C Plath index mirror image
Index Mirror and four shades

Early style C. Plath label


Vernier reads to 10 sec of arc image
Vernier reading from the right, 0 to 10 arc sec
CONDITION: Irrespective of its age, this quintant shows very little use and is in exceptionally fine condition. The index mirror has some of the reflective surface missing at the top left and bottom left which is out of the field of view and a few hairline cracks of no consequence.
The viewing surface however, is clear and sharp. The horizon mirror is in mostly good condition with a slight loss where it joins the clear portion of th glass. Both sets of shades (filters) are perfect. There is no mirror adjustment tool or screw driver and the collimation scope is missing as well. A small piece of frosted glass is missing from the holder above the vernier’s scale.
The instrument is housed in a tongue and groove, flaming Mahogany case with spectacular grain that is absolutely beautiful. On the back inside top cover is an oval plate with the address Hamburg, over 25 Stubbenhuk 25 surrounded by a fancy border. No evidence exists that an instrument certificate was ever fitted to this case. Except for some scratches on its top and bottom, is in excellent condition after being refinished to rid it of the years of accumulated varnish. The green felt lining shows wear and minor water stains.

The telescope filter not seen in the case are mounted on the scope. The cleat which holds the instrument’s handle has been repaired.

Closed case showing beautiful flaming paterern image
This is the only example of this early model brass frame Plath quintant we have seen. They are not even pictured in museum collections such as those at Greenwich, England. It will make a rare addition to an important collection or as a gift of importance.

This instrument show the quality for which Plath was noted. Few of this model have survived and this one rates 5 Plus Stars.

3.5 power estm.
Sighting tube 0
Length of index arm 9 1/4″
Radius of Arc 7 1/2″
Width of Arc 10″
Index Mirror 47 mm x 32 mm
Horizon Mirror 21 mm x 30 mm
SEXTANT WEIGHT3 lbs 5 3/4 oz
IN CASE 9 lbs 15oz.
CASE 11 1/8″ x 11 1/4″ L x 5 3/8″ W

This very special sextant is a perfect find for your collection or as a special gift.

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Shipping & Packaging

The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, will be calculated point to point and is an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

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If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are refundable if due to our error within the continental United States.

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers worldwide.

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Established in 2003

Celebrating 18 Years of Exellence in Nautical Antiques

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