Now here's a question for someone knowledgeable. First some background.
A couple of nights ago I attended the local antique auction
. I don't usually frequent auctions but in this particular auction
there were two lots of particular interest.
Lot 453 was an Astra IIIb sextant in excellent condition with a full horizon mirror and all documentation
including a certificate of examination dated in the mid 1990's. The estimated selling price
was listed at between $150 and $300 Canadian.
Lot 705 was a Tama Sokki Co. sextant in fair condition in its original wood box. The certificate of examination was dated December 12, 1940 and matched the serial
number on the instrument. The estimated selling price
was $150 to $300.
I was certainly in no financial position to be able to afford either instrment if they were to reach the upper end of their estimated price range. And I expected both of them to do just that.
Nonetheless I attended the auction out of simple curiosity for the local maritime antique market, and boy am I glad I went.
The opening bid for the Astra was $100 and a fierce bidding war ensued. Three enthusiastic bidders topped each other $5 at a time for the shiny new sextant until the final price of $210 brought the hammer down.
Though a steal at the final asking price, I knew from the opening bid that I had no hope of walking home with that instrument. The most I could afford that evening was perhaps $75.
The Tama Sokki came up for bid near the end of the evening and by that time the crowd had thinned out some. Expecting a similar result as the previous auction I was only half listening to the auctioneer's description of the sextant as I leaned wearily against against the far wall, eager to be out of there and away to home where I could pine for a new sextant in the privacy of my own living room.
"We'll start the bidding at tewnty dollars."
Before I had the chance to form a clear concept
of the auctioneer's words in my head
my right hand, holding a white lot list, whipped out from my side and pointed straight to the ceiling.
"I have twenty dollars. Do I have twenty five?"
The auctioneer glanced to his left, acknowleged the other bidder, and then looked at me again.
"I have twenty five dollars. Thirty?"
I don't recall
answering, but my hand stayed in the air until the bidding reached $80. The price was already beyond what I could afford, so grudgingly I lowered my hand and got on with congradulating myself for showing some
composure and for not getting caught in a bidding war. But I guess the other bidder and I shared the same opinion of the situation for he shook is head
at the auctioneer's request for a bid of $85.
The hammer dropped and I now owned a small piece of maritime history
Upon more detailed inspection
, the instrument appears in fine shape save for areas of minor corrosion
on some of the chrome machine screws and fittings which I've since brushed away with a nylon wire wheel
. Even the original incandescent scale light still works! The only outstanding deficiencies on the instrument are a tarnished brass scale (which some Brasso should remedy) and a badly corroded horizon mirror (see images
below) though the index mirror is nearly perfect. The silvering that remains intact on the horizon mirror still gives a usable image, but I would very much like to replace either the silvering or the entire mirror.
Which brings me to the question?
Where can I acquire a new split horizon mirror of standard size to replace one that has deteriorated beyond its practical utility?
I may be able to source out re-silvering locally but I would prefer to simply replace the mirror.
Any suggestions would be most welcome.