Ask A Worthologist Question: Brass Bardou Telescope

Carol B. inherited this telescope from her grandfather and, while she likes the piece, she doesn’t have room in her home for it. She is looking to donate it to the local historical society, but wanted to get an idea of its value first. She engaged WorthPoint’s “Ask A Worthologist” service to discover its value.

Carol B. inherited this telescope from her grandfather, and while she thinks it’s a wonderful thing, but there’s no room for it in her modern apartment. She engaged WorthPoint’s “Ask a Worthologist” service to check its value and history before selling it. The question was forwarded to me. Here’s her question:

“I inherited this telescope from my grandfather. His house was a huge, old Victorian place with lots of room for pieces like this, but I don’t have room for it. It’s a wonderful-looking thing, and I don’t want to sell it, but would like to donate it in my grandfather’s name to the local historical society. Before I do I would like to know a little more about it and its value. It’s all brass with an iron stand and marked “A. Bardou Paris” near the eye piece. It’s quite big, more than 50 inches long and about 3 inches in diameter. There is no case for it, but it’s in good condition with no dents or scratches.”

Here’s my response.

First off, let me say I think donating this piece to your local historical society is a wonderful idea, as most such museums often have very little funding and deserve our support. In regards to your grandfather’s telescope, the Bardou telescopes are very high quality, but not rare. This maker produced large numbers of brass telescopes, from spyglasses to large astronomical models, well into the 20th century as A.Bardou and later as Bardou & Son.

A great deal of its production was made for the North American market and, at one time, Bardou’s lower-end models were even retailed by Sears. This particular telescope appears in Bardou’s 1911 catalog as a model No. 5816, and it it came with three eye pieces: one 45x magnification terrestrial eye piece and two astronomical eye pieces for 50x and 114x magnification.

In the current market, even without all the fittings, a comparable telescope by Bardou would sell in the $2,500-$3,500 range.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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