Rare Antique 3 Ring C. Plath Quintant-Sextant Ca 1913

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Rare C. Plath Early 20th Cent THREE CIRCLE (Dreikreis) SEXTANT/QUINTANT


Rare three circle quintant by C. Plath, Hamburg, Ca 1912
Presented is an antique quintant, meaning a sextant having a range of 144°, or an arc of 72°. It was made by C. Plath of Hamburg, Germany, shortly after the Turn of the 20th Century. It has one
of their rarely seen three circle (Dreikreis) frames. In fact, this is only the third of this type that we’ve been
able to offer for sale, making it ideal for the serious collector or as a presentation gift. See https://landandseacollection.com/id650.html It comes with a brightly finished star scope, a collimation scope and a sighting tube for shooting terrestrial objects, as
shown housed in the case pictured below and in the gallery.

Based on our proprietary register of C. Plath instruments’ serial
numbers. which dates back to when Plath purchased the David Filby company in 1862, and the two others of this design we’ve
sold in the past, we date it to have been made around 1912. One of our prior discoveries was originally made as a surveying
(Vermessung) instrument without shades (filters) and was purpose built to measure angles both on land and at sea. It was designed
for doing surveys, making nautical charts or setting navigation aides. Instruments for this purpose were not fitted with shade
glasses so those on that instrument were retro-fitted as was the micrometer drum. This is not so with this example which clearly
was made as a vernier quintant with shades.


SN 6648 over early “Sun Shooter“ logo
 Adjustable rising piece.
A worthwhile feature

Horizon mirror has some deterioration

Perfect index mirror
Except for a few minor faults, the quintant is in exceptionally fine condition having about ninety five percent of its black
finish remaining  but there are a  number of scratches. The most prominent is on the index arm and it was made from
the larger diameter telescope. The same holds true of much of the frame’s bright brass fittings which have their original
varnish. It shows very little corrosion of its bronze parts and elsewhere it is in like new condition. The index mirror is
clear, sharp and without blemish. The horizon mirror shows the affects of salt spray. The shades are all in perfect condition.
The tangent screw shaft is perfect. The right leg is slightly bent and still strong as screwed in. The hard wood handle
provides a nice contrast to the metal work. The mirror adjustment tool is original and the number on the case, 6648,
matches the instrument. No instrument certificate was with the thee examples of these instruments we’ve handled. One
strange anomaly on the arc is the misspelling of Hamburg, and the large diameter telescope has a single dent.

The bronze arc is calibrated
-5 to 155+ degrees with a vernier that reads from the right, from 0 to 10 seconds of arc. Serial Number 6648 is imprinted
to the right upper side of the arc and just above an old style “Stick Man“ logo which Plath referred to as their
“Sun Shooter” trademark or “Sonnenschiesser” in German. Normally, you would expect to find the serial number on the arc’s left
side. The sextant has four index shades and three horizon shades.

The instrument is housed in a fitted wood carrying case with brass hardware.
The green lining on the bottom in the lower section is a new replacement. The original key is included. Inside is a plate
with the Plath logo and an address at 25 Stubbenhuk 25, Hamburg. The case is in excellent strong condition with a newly restored
finish. The original key makes all the accessories accounted for.
to find evidence of use at sea in the form of scratches, small chips and age cracks mentioned only to be complete.

This is only
the third C.Plath three circle quintant/sextant we have ever seen. They are not even pictured in the definitive
work on the topic of sextants, “Taking the Stars” by Dr. Peter Ifland. It will make a rare addition to an important collection
or as a gift of importance.


       Handsome hardwood case showing key

Lower view of frame


               Maker’s mark Misspelled
    Vernier reading
from 0 to 10 arc seconds

We are one of the few company’s still selling navigation instruments that know anything about them. For purposes of judging
whether Joel’s opinion counts, he was the editor of the chapter on sextants of the 1977 Edition of “Bowditch”, The
American Practical Navigator, NAVPUB 9; a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Navigation Symposium Board, 1975 -1978; the author
of a book on marine sextants, Cornell Maritime Press,1975, and the founding president of Nautech Maritime Corporation which
partnered with Tamaya of Japan in the introduction of their sextants and the famous NC-2 navigation computer, in the U.S.
market. Joel is also a retired Master Upon Oceans, and held a U.S. Navy “D” Qualification as a Senior Skipper – Oceans.
From 1995 through 2000, he served as a Varsity Offshore Sailing Team coach at the
U.S. Naval Academy.

This quintant is an outstanding example
of an elegant Plath three circle rare

frame model and rates 5 Stars.



1902 C. Plath catalog showing Surveying model with micrometer drum.


Please scroll down for gallery photos!



CASE  11
1/4″ x 11 1/4″ L x 5 1/2″ W    
Star scope
Collimation scope
Length of index arm   9 1/4″
of arc                10 1/2″
1 circle         2 1/2″ ID
Mirror                 47 mm x 30 mm
Mirror             32 mm x 22 mm


3 lbs 9 oz 
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