E. Merck, Darmstadt collection of elements – publicity, trade or educational reference collection

E. Merck, Darmstadt collection of elements – publicity, trade or educational reference collection


Victorian Collection of Elements


35cm x 21cm x 4.5cm approx





Country of manufacture


Categories: Mineralogy & Gemmology, Physics & Chemistry, Patent & Salesmans Samples


Mid 19th Century element collection by E. Merck, Darmstadt contained in glass vials.

64 in total identified by number cross referenced against a paper catalogue.

Four vials have been refabricated (bromine, platinum, sodium and possibly potassium with replacement elements).

Inside lid showing a mid 19th Century lithograph of Merck’s Darmstadt Factory.

The collection contains a sample of indium, discovered 1863,  but no helium (1868), gallium (1875) , or certain rare earths which were discovered just after these dates suggesting a date of manufacture around 1864-68 – so third quarter of the 19th century.  But could be later.

Have not been able to confirm the origin or purpose with Merck – but was no doubt aimed at demonstrating Merck capabilities in chemical synthesis and purification.

The collection is extremely early for a collection of element samples – I cannot find any reference points of a similar date.

Probably one of the rarest items passing through my hands.

Have not restored the external box or internal element holder keeping as original as possible.

I would be happy to deliver in person to UK addresses by mutual consent.

Overseas buyers – please contact me – noting the contents include many controlled substances notably:  halogens, arsenic, alkali metals, thallium, phosphorus, uranium metal and thorium, so will have to be moved by special carrier. 

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GB Collector Tolemy

A Yorkshire based collector all things unusual for 40 years covering a diverse range of subject matter across the archaeology of science, with a common theme towards rare and one-of-a-kind, architectural, functional instruments and scientific objects for investment, display and interior design. A frequent business traveller across Europe the USA and Australasia in the quest for new objects. Collector Tolemy can be contacted at [email protected].

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