This example is one of many different types of fake brass scientific instruments marked Stanley London that began appearing on the auction scene some years ago. These items are not antiques nor a family heirloom just found in the back of Grandpa's closet, though almost invariably something of that nature may be stated to be true about them. This may occur based on a seller's ability to spin a good yarn like Grandpa, or because a seller may honestly have been taken in by the seemingly authentic markings and clever application of false 'patina' when they bought the item at a local estate sale for stock. These items have been on the market long enough now to have begun showing up everywhere on the secondary market, often examples will be housed in leather and wood cases with false distressing on their surfaces that further hint at an equally false age.
This item is marked "Stanley London 1882" and appears to show age in keeping with the date suggested by the number in that mark, but this telescope is less than 10 years old.
The number stamped after the name and factory applied aging is likely (and no doubt was intended) to confuse potential buyers. These types of items continue to be a problem for many for that reason.
Expect to find a range of brass Stanley London marked scientific instruments, including sextants, compasses, and surveying Instruments. Other manufacturers names and cities besides London have also been known to appear on such items, though in truth they should be marked with the name of a city in India instead, since that is the country where they were originally made. The manner in which in a country where no such city exists a random city name may be stamped on an item to be exported from that country and imported into another is perfectly legal so long as an additional paper label stating actual country of origin is attached when the item is imported. After that, the paper label can be removed and the item sold as something it is not, a precision instrument ostensibly made by a maker of 'quality' telescopes in England. The 'tell' for this type of item is that a 19th century maker proud enough to add to their official maker's mark the name of the city in which their factory was located, would also have named the country in which it was located, too. Beware of many types of items marked in such a way as to only offer a suggestive name of a city or locale (such as Staffordshire), but not a country.
Authentic items made by a real W. F. Stanley & Co. of London, England, maker of fine mathematical and scientific instruments in the 19th century, were never marked simply "Stanley London." Items made by that company, too, should be expected to exhibit an extremely high level of quality and detail. To identify pseudo-scientific brass instruments which were made in the late 20th century strictly for the collector market look for quality issues that would not be present on a precision instrument. For instance, looking inside a telescope made of brass like this example, if the inside was not darkened, but instead it was left as shiny metal, it would hardly have been a useful instrument for spotting pursuing war ships on the ocean horizon on a very bright day. Which might explain why so many pirates eventually ended up wearing a patch over one eye. Lack of access to quality instruments.
Always check to see if the lens of a telescope or other similar instrument can actually be focused, at all. Items made only for show or display may not be functional for the purpose suggested by their form. For supposedly antique items (over 100 years old or more) also look for evidence that modern power tools were used to make them and screws and fittings that would not have been available during that time (such as plastic parts). Nothing about an instrument stated to be 'scientific' in nature should appear crudely executed or calibrated and it should be able to actually perform the job for which it was supposedly made.
See our links page for Web site information on aged telescopes and additional information about those that are not old, at all.
This particular item is a 3 draw brass telescope with shade and a wood grip. Full draw length measures 35 inches and fully closed it measures 12 inches.
Item ID: 2007RP00059
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
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