Stock Number: 10201


For sale, antique American sextant outfit in its box, featuring long tangent screw fine motion to the index arm. American sextants are extremely rare, this one signed E. & G.W. Blunt, New York.


11 inches (28 cm)wide


c. 1850

Country of manufacture

North America

Categories: Maritime, Navigational instruments


GOOD AMERICAN SEXTANT OUTFIT, c, 1850, signed on the arc “E. & G.W. Blunt, New York.” With its sturdy 1/2″ thick lattice frame, the sextant measures 11″ (28 cm) across at its widest point, and has a 9-1/4″ (23 cm) long index arm. Constructed of blackened brass, it is fitted with shaped mahogany handle, three shaped brass legs, two mirrors, seven swing-away filters, index arm clamp and long tangent screw, scale diffuser, swing-away scale magnifier, and adjustable telescope mount. The inlaid silver scale is divided every 10 arcminutes, with silver vernier reading to ten arcseconds(!) The outfit includes lacquered brass sighting tube and square mahogany carrying case, but no other accessories. Condition is very fine.

Edmund and George Blunt were in partnership in New York 1824 – 1866, as foremost American suppliers of navigation instruments, designing their own dividing engine, publishing a nautical almanac, etc. They advertised that “American ships may be navigated by American made instruments,” in particular with their own sextants and quadrants. Two other Blunt brass sextants are recorded in Warner’s inventory (Rittenhouse 3, 86-112), both in museum collections. She found a total of only 12 surviving American brass sextants, all makers included! 

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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at, and can be contacted at [email protected].

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