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Antique & Vintage
W. L. & E Gurley Surveying Compasses

Past Sales Archive

This is just a sample of the many antique surveying compasses we have sold.
Click link to see other Sales Archive Pages on this Site.

We can help you sell quality Surveying Related Antiques Contact Us.

Special Note Concerning Prices Seen Below:
Most prices seen reflect actual sale results from this website.
Prices seen span a long time and may not reflect current values.  Some are selling for more, many now sell for less.
On other pieces you will see no price, or a price range, with or without an explanation.  The reasons for that are discussed on the FAQ page.

For further info on consigning / selling your antiques with us please see our FAQ page, the Appraisal / Selling Page and the Selling Your Collection Pages.

Our current offering of Antiques for sale are at our sister Website Patented-Antiques.com.


Gurley Solar CompassGurley Solar Compass w/ Auxiliary Scope & Original Box  This c.1880 Gurley Solar Compass has a graphic and commanding look that will be the highlight of any surveying collection.  Solar compasses are among the rarest and most desirable of all surveying instruments that can be found.  Such instruments were widely used to survey and lay out the west because of their ability to use the suns location to help determine the exact location in areas where standard compasses would be adversely affected by the ore deposits found here. 

This compass is marked under the glass of the small directional compass needle with the W. L & E Gurley name and Troy New York location.  The original owner was a county surveyor in central Oregon who was also a well known gunsmith.  The current owner is the second owner and it came directly from the family of the original purchaser.   In addition to the compass w/ sight vanes and solar attachment seen in the pic to the left,  this instrument also includes an auxiliary scope that the owner made up using a Gurley scope that he attached a tapered fitting to to fit the leveling head when the solar compass was not mounted.  Please look at the pics to see all the details of this second piece.

The mahogany box is proper and  its condition is very nice noting an early repaired crack in the top. It is fitted to hold the compass, its sight vanes, and the separate leveling base.   The condition of the solar instrument is very nice as well.  All motions are free and turn properly.  The leveling base is nice as well.  The tripod mount is the old style male 1 1/2 x 12 TPI center mount.  The inside dia of the plate is 3 7/16.   There is some residue at corners and evidence that this instrument was lightly cleaned in the past.  The original patina remains on the brass and the silver scales and the instrument looks very nice.

This Gurley solar compass is being offered at an attractive price as the owner would like it to sell to a party that will appreciate and enjoy it as much as he has over the years.  

I have a early proper Gurley tripod to fit this instrument. It is square stock Gurley marked collapsible leg example in very nice condition. The price for it is $200.00 additional.

Fine . . . . .$10,000.00 - 20,000.00  SOLD!





Gurley Solar Compass w/ Auxiliary Scope & Original BoxGurley Solar Compass w/ Auxiliary Scope, Original Box & Tripod  This rare & unusual Gurley Solar Compass w/ auxiliary scope has a graphic and commanding look that will be the highlight of any surveying collection. The original condition is exceptional, being the most complete and finest condition solar instrument we have ever handled or seen.

Solar compasses are among the rarest and most desirable of all antique American surveying instruments that can be found. These unusual instruments were first developed in the early to mid 19th century and were used to survey and lay out  the western areas of the US because of their ability to use the suns location & horizon to determine the exact location in areas where standard compasses would be adversely affected by the high levels of ore deposits found here and the magnetic deviations caused by them.
Gurley Solar Compass w/ Auxiliary Scope & Original Box
This Gurley solar compass is marked under the glass of the small directional compass w/ needle with the W. L & E Gurley name and Troy New York location. The label inside the lid of the box most closely resembles those from the 1870's, and that is when I believe this dates from, but it is hard to determine the exact date this and most other early Gurley instruments were manufactured.

There are two different means provided to attach the instrument to the original stiff leg tripod, (see pic 5982).  The tripod itself is not pictured.  Additional accessories include those shown in pic 5987.  These include the  counterweight, used when the auxiliary scope is mounted.  It would mount in the second sight vanes place. A jointed magnifier, an aux eyepiece, the adjusting bar, and other fitted pieces found in the box.  Please be sure to view all the pics to see all that is included.

The mahogany box is proper and its condition is very nice noting the missing lock. The box is fitted to hold the compass with its sight vanes attached.  The scope, housed in a special compartment in the lid of the box is designed to be used instead of one of the sight vanes.  Later examples have a scope that attaches to either sight vane.   The separate leveling base has a holder built for it on the side.  The second tripod mount has 2 fitted spaces built into the  bottom of the box.  All motions are free and turn properly. The tripod mount is the old style male 1 1/2 x 12 TPI center mount. The inside dia. of the mounting plate is 3 7/16.  One leg of the tripod has an early tape and string wrapped repair.  It looks a though a whole new leg end has been spliced onto the original leg. This is stable and just adds to the character of the piece.  The original green oxidized finish on the compass itself is 95% or better with most wear at the points on the plate where it is held in the box.

An historically important and beautiful piece of antique surveying equipment that is highly recommended!!

Fine . . . . . .$10,000.00 - 20,000.00         SOLD!




W.  & L. E. Gurley #285 Pocket Railroad Compass w/ TripodW.  & L. E. Gurley #285 Pocket Railroad Compass w/ Tripod   The condition of this small compact pocket railroad compass is near mint.  The original dark green / black lacquer finish is great. The 3 1/2" needle functions, and the silvered and engraved compass face is very nice.     All the motions on the compass are free and operable. The leveling head, which fits separately into the mahogany box is nice as well.  The original tripods for these instruments are very hard to find.  This one has been adapted to a larger tripod with a new center threaded mount installed inside the outer ring.  It works nicely.  . 

Gurley pocket railroad compasses came in 2 different sizes and different features or accessories could be ordered for them.  This is the #285 with a 3 1/2 needle, the smallest size Gurley made.  The larger model had a 4 1/2 needle in this style compass.  You could also order auxiliary scopes with or without circles, and a pocket model compass with a solar attachment.  

There is no serial number which would date this from before 1908. The Troy New York location is at the north which on most compasses and other Gurley instruments indicates an early manufacture date.  From the label style of box, and other features I would guess that this compass dates from the 1880s or before. 

A very nice piece of surveying history that is very hard to find!

Fine . . . . . . .$1,000.00 - 3,000.00         SOLD!!




W. L. & E. Gurley #227 Surveyor's Vernier Compass w/ Auxiliary ScopeW. L. & E. Gurley #227 Surveyor's Vernier Compass w/ Auxiliary Scope   The overall condition of both the compass and the auxiliary scope are outstanding.  This is a very nice example of Gurley's smallest size compass.  Gurley Compasses could be ordered with 4, 5, or 6" needles.  This smallest size compass w/ 4" needle is seen much less often than the larger size compasses with 5" or 6" long needles.  The needle is just 4" long on this compass and the compass body measures just about 12" long.

 All motions and thumbscrews operate freely. The 2 level vials are good and original.  It has a keeper as seen in the pics.  The compass face is very nice and the Troy location is at the top with the Gurley name. The compass points north, and swings freely.  Note that one site vane has edge graduations, and the other has two different sighting peep holes that swivel.  The box is nice, as is the label inside. 

The auxiliary scope is designed to fit on one compass sight vane as illustrated in the pics.  It is in nice condition and just shows minor box tarnish.  It is marked Gurley on the mounting block. It is also marked with a 1878 patent date.  The optics are OK and the crosshairs are there although hard to bring into focus.  A great size and graphic looking instrument that will display very nicely in any number of different collections. 

Fine . . . . . . $1500.00 / Complete Set     SOLD!!




W. L. & E. Gurley Survey CompassW. & L. E. Gurley Survey Compass  This single vernier compass is an nice example of the Gurley firms work. The Troy NY location is at the top above the North Fleur d' Lei and I believe dates this compass from after 1880. Gurley did not use serial numbers on their earlier, pre 1908, instruments and it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact year of manufacture.

The compass face is silvered and in fine condition. The needle is 5" making this the middle size compass Gurley offered. The needle swings freely points north and locks as it should. The Brass cover is present and nice.  The circular counter / keeper operates as it should.  Both level vials are full.  All motions move freely and the thumbscrews are good.

The box is nice with some minor rubs and chips at the edges. There are two labels inside the top. Inside the box is the original screwdriver and the sight vane thumbscrews store away under the compass. The sight vanes are edge marked, proper and nice.

All in all a nice example of a hard to find early Gurley surveyors compass. It will display very nicely in or out of the box and has a great patina and graphic look to it.

Fine . . . . . . $750.00     SOLD!!




W. & L. E. #232 Gurley Surveyor's CompassW. & L. E. #232 Gurley Surveyor's Compass This Vernier Compass is by Gurley the best known maker of  surveying instruments in America.  The bubbles are good, the compass needles swings freely and the sight veins and their screws are original and nice as well. The Mahogany box is very nice and shows just minor scuffing.  The paper label inside is very nice as can be seen.  It has a needle that measures just under 6" and the instruments overall length is just under 16".  The top glass is original.  The silver on the face is nice, and I believe this instrument dates from near the turn of the last Century.

Excellent . . . . .$600.00 - 1200.00       SOLD



gurley compassW. & L. E. # 232 Gurley Surveyor's Compass  This flat Vernier Compass is by the best known and most renowned maker of  surveying instruments that ever produced surveying instruments in America.  This company was founded in the mid 1800's and became the best known and most widely respected of instrument makers in America.  The bubbles are good, the compass needles swings freely as it should and the sight veins and their screws are original and nice as well. The Mahogany box is very nice and shows just minor scuffing.  The paper label inside is very nice as can be seen.  It has a needle that measures just under 6" and the instruments overall length is just under 16".  The top glass had to be reputtied as it was loose, but looks great now.   As can be seen the cover for the compass is present as well.  The silver on the face is nice, and I believe this instrument dates from the late 1800's. 

Excellent . . . . .$600.00 - 1200.00         SOLD



W. & L. E. Raiload Double Vernier CompassW. & L. E. Raiload Double Vernier Compass  This double Vernier Compass is in super nice original condition.  The bubbles are good, the compass needles swings freely as it should and the sight veins and their screws are original and nice as well. The Mahogany box is very nice and shows just minor scuffing.  The paper label inside is very nice as can be seen.  It has a needle that measures just under 6" and the instruments overall length is just under 16".  The silver on the face is nice, and I believe this instrument dates from the late 1800's. 

Excellent . . . . . $800.00 - 1500.00         SOLD



W. & L. E. # 232 Gurley Surveyor's CompassW. & L. E. Gurley Surveyor's Compass  This Vernier Surveying Compass is a Gurley in a craftsman made box.  The bubbles are good, the compass needles swings freely as it should and the sight veins and their screws are original and nice as well. The Pine box is nice but not original.   It has a needle that measures just under 6" and the instruments overall length is just under 16".  It appears from the empty holes on the plate on the right side that the keeper or tally feature is missing, but there is no evidence of one ever being there.  Perhaps it was an option and the holes are on all compass plates from this era.  I do not know. The top glass appears to be original.  The silver on the face is nice, and I believe this instrument dates from the late 1800's.

Excellent . . . . . $500.00 - 900.00        SOLD



Gurley #217 Surveyors Railroad CompassGurley #217 Surveyors Railroad Compass  This wonderful surveying instrument dates from the late 1800's and is in super original condition.  It is the smaller of the two sizes of Railroad Surveying Compasses  that Gurley produced, with this example having a 5" needle and being 16" long from end to end.  With two verniers, angles could be read to a degree of precision not available using a single Vernier as on the single Vernier Compasses or using just the needle as with Gurley #232 Plain Compass.  In other words, this was the top of the line instrument for precise surveys during its time.

Excellent . . . . .$800.00 - 1500.00          SOLD



Gurley Railroad Compass with Auxiliary ScopeGurley Railroad Compass with Auxiliary Scope   This was Gurley's largest and most complicated compass offered.  The fellow who ordered this one went the full 9 yards with both bases and the auxiliary scope, all made to fit in the proper box.  The optional leveling base as can be seen that could be used with a small tripod and the ball and socket stall joint is out in front..  The condition of this instrument is exceptional with nearly 100% of the original lacquer finish still present.

Excellent . . . . .$1000.00 - 2500.00         SOLD




Gurley Railroad Pocket Compass with Auxiliary ScopeGurley Railroad Pocket Compass with Auxiliary Scope   These compact and versatile instruments were used for a variety of applications. Although not as accurate as a transit they were sufficiently precise for general work in the field.  They were offered in different sizes and configurations, and this one has a 4 1/2 in needle.  It also has the optional leveling base as can be seen that could be used with a small tripod.  The condition of this instrument is exceptional with nearly 100% of the original lacquer finish still present.

Excellent . . . . .$1500.00 - 2500.00         SOLD





W. & L. E. Gurley Vernier Compass w/ Auxiliary ScopeW. & L. E. Gurley Vernier Compass w/ Auxiliary Scope  This is Gurley's largest surveying compass w/ a 6" needle along with their auxiliary sighting scope that would fit on one of the sighting vanes. This is a very nice and very graphic looking surveying instrument given its size and form.  The scope is housed in its own proper box with Gurley label inside.  It is marked with the patent info from the 1870's. (see additional pics) This set-up dates from about that time frame or a bit later.

Both the compass and scope are in beautiful condition with a mellow patina derived from light use for well over 100 years.  Both boxes are nice as well.  When Gurley offered instruments like this they could be ordered individually or as a set, and the boxes would be custom made to accommodate the instrument and accessories if ordered together, or one could buy them separately as seen here when there is more than one box.    

Fine  . . . .$1200.00 - 2500.00        SOLD!!




Gurley / Queen Surveying CompassW. & L. E Gurley / James Queen Surveyor's Compass  This is a nice looking early surveyor's compass. It is just under 16" long, and has a 5" needle. The compass points north as it should, but the needle lock does not function.   The level vials are good,  and the keeper dial clicks and stops as it should.  The sight vanes are proper and 1 is edge marked with degree marks from 1-20 on both sides along the edge of it.    The other sight vane has 2 swinging peep hole sights on it.  They are numbered to fit the compass and do fit the compass properly , but the locking pins are not present. 

The box is well worn and has some chips at the edges and some missing wood at one end.  There needs to be a small repair to this area to keep the compass from sliding when in place.  There are remains of two labels inside that I can not make out any name on.  There is info there, and pics of other representative instruments, but no name to be seen.   The interior pieces to hold the sight vanes and the missing knuckle joint have been glued and re-glued in place.  At one point this was done with a silver colored material that now shows on the interior in places.   The box needs to be repaired and refinished to look as good as the compass.

The compass face is double marked James Queen Philadelphia Agent  around the ring, and W & L. E. Gurley, Troy New York.  at the top and bottom.   James Queen first went into business for himself in the 1850's.  In the early days the Queen Co was more a distributer than maker and had a contract with Gurley to market their products as Gurley's agent. This relationship is described and a short history of the Queen Co. can be found on the Smithsonian's sight under Queen when searching by maker.  I believe that the way this compass face is marked would date it from early in the companies history.   Instruments sold under this arrangement can be found marked different ways, and I am not sure of the chronological order of the different markings.

All in all a nice example of a hard to find early surveyors compass.  It will display very nicely out of the box and has a great patina and graphic look to it.

Good +. . . . . .$600.00 - 1200.00        SOLD!




W & L E Gurley Railroad CompassW. & L. E Gurley Single Vernier Compass  This Gurley single vernier  compass is an early example of the W. & L. E. Gurley companies work. This company was formed in the 1850's and became the leading maker of surveying instruments in the USA.  The Troy NY location is at the top above the North Fleur d' Lei  which means it dates from the 1880 or before.  It is hand engraved as well.  The needle is 5" and swings freely and locks as it should. 

The box is nice with some minor rubs and chips at the edges.  There are two labels inside the top.  The previous owner carved his name and location in SC in the box lid.  A Google search did not turn up any info on the owner, but he may have played a part in dividing up the state during the period just after the Civil War.

 Gurley CompassOne of the sight vane screws is a mix - match, but it the proper thread.  If I did not mention it it would not be noticed.  One of the sight vanes is edge graduated to allow for elevation sightings.  There are small peep sights attached as well  The compass needs some minor restoration.  On the top of the compass the vernier lock screw needs attention, and the vernier adjuster across from it needs to be attached w/ 2 small screws which are not present. The gears look OK, and the compass body moves freely as it should,  just the small screws are missing to hold the adjuster.  The keeper or counter works and the needle lock and needle do as well.  It appears one level vial has been replaced w/ later lined version. 

All in all a nice example of a hard to find and early surveyors railroad compass.  It will display very nicely in or out of the box and has a great patina and graphic look to it. In the past I have had and seen this model offered for far more and the price reflects the minor restoration that could be done

Good  . . . . . .$600.00 - 1200.00         SOLD!!




W. & L. E Gurley Surveyor's Plain Compass w/ 6' NeedleW. & L. E Gurley Surveyor's Plain Compass w/ 6' Needle  Gurley offered the plain compass for general survey work.  There is a single vernier scale under the glass to mark off or read  angles.  The Troy NY location is at the bottom below  the South point and dates this compass from pre 1880.  There is not serial # and Gurley did not use serial numbers on their early instruments prior to 1908.  It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact year of manufacture although the features and the label in the lid can be an indication of the general time period. 

The needle is 6" making this the largest size compass Gurley offered.  The needle swings freely and locks as it should.  The sight vanes are present.  The compass face is silvered and there is some spotting with one stained area at approx 2 o'clock that was cleaned to a point of some of  the silver coating is worn through there. The two level vials are full and OK.

The boxes exterior was refinished at some point.  On the left side there is a long sliver of wood missing from the box.  I have pictured this.  There is a label inside the top that pictures the Gurley office building.  There is a site that has a series of these labels pictured and assigns dates to them from when they appeared in different year catalogs.   The socket / knuckle joint that would be used to mount this to a staff or tripod is present.  The sight vanes are proper, nice, and are edge marked. The swinging peep sights are present.   The mounting screws for the sight vanes are replacements as can be seen in one of the pics.  The missing sight vane screws could be remade and the compass face re-silvered to make it even nicer, or this compass will display very nicely in or out of the box just as it sits.     

Good  . . . . . .$600.00 - 1200.00         SOLD!!



Gurley Vernier CompassW. & L. E Gurley Vernier Compass w/ 6' Needle  This Gurley single vernier compass is an early example of the Gurley firms work.  The Troy NY location is at the top above the North Fleur d' Lei  and I believe dates this compass from pre 1880.  Gurley did not use serial numbers on their early instruments and it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact year of manufacture.  This compass could date from the Civil War era from its attributes.  

The compass face is silvered and hand engraved.  The needle is 6" making this the largest size compass Gurley offered.  The needle swings freely and locks as it should.  The Brass cover is present and nice.  Some minor restoration works need to be done to return this piece to its full glory.  The Vernier adjuster & lock is missing from the left side.  This would consist of a threaded rod running through a ball nut that would occupy the two holes on the left side above the vernier scale just outside the compass.  On the right side there is a missing level vial. 

The box is nice with some minor rubs and chips at the edges. The original owner has scratched his name into the top of the box.   It is not objectionable.   A Google search did not turn up any info on the owner, but he may have played a part in dividing up the state just after the Civil War from what the consignor has said.  There is the remains of a label inside the top, but it has no legible writing on it.  Inside the box is the socket joint that would have been used to mount this to a staff or tripod.  The sight vanes are proper and nice, and are edge marked.

All in all a nice example of a hard to find early Gurley surveyors compass.  It will display very nicely in or out of the box and has a great patina and graphic look to it.  I have  seen this model compass offered for far more and the price reflects the minor restoration that could be done

Good  - . . . . . .$600.00 - 1200.00        SOLD!!



W. & L. E Gurley Vernier Compass w/ 6' NeedleW. & L. E. Gurley Vernier Compass w/ 6' Needle  This single vernier Gurley compass has the Troy NY location at the bottom and I believe dates this compass from about 1880 or a bit later.  Gurley did not use serial numbers on their early instruments and it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact year of manufacture.

The compass face is silvered and the needle is 6" making this the largest size compass Gurley offered.  The needle swings freely and locks as it should.   On the right side there is a missing level vial.  The box is nice with some minor rubs.  There is a label inside the top with legible writing on it.  Inside the box is the socket joint that would have been used to mount this to a staff or tripod.  The sight vanes are proper and nice.

All in all a nice example of a Gurley surveyors compass.  It will display very nicely in or out of the box and has a great patina and graphic look to it. 

Good  . . . . . .$600.00 - 1200.00        SOLD!!




Gurley #316 & #318 Small Plain CompassesGurley #316 & #318 Small Plain Compasses   Here are two different versions of small Gurley compasses in their original boxes.  The compass on the left is unmarked as to maker, but the construction details and box are basically the same as the one on the right that is marked Gurley.  The example on the left is missing its knuckle joint, but the compass is very nice as is the box. 

The marked Gurley plain compass on the right is in nice original condition.  It measures just about 4 1/2 " across.  It is clearly marked on the compass face W. L. & E Gurley Troy NY.  Also note in the pics the decorative engraving at the North Point.  The needle is 3 1/2 " long making this the larger off the two examples of these they offered and a # 318.  It comes in a nicely fitted Mahogany fitted box that is in nice condition.   This one does have the Knuckle joint fitting to adapt it to a staff for use in the field.  

Left . . . . .  Good+ . . . . . .$200.00 - 300.00        SOLD!

Right . . . .  Good+ . . . . . .$300.00 - 400.00          SOLD!




Gurley Dip Needle / Miner's CompassGurley Miner's Compass / Dipping Needle  This small specialized Gurley Miner's Compass or Dip Needle is in super nice original condition. It is a well made and precision built compass to help miners or geologists locate ore deposits.  Examples by Gurley are pretty unusual and this ones looks to date from near the turn of the century or before.  There is a needle lock feature in the top stem and it all operates as it should.  There is a set of instructions included that appear to be from the era this was made.

The basic idea was that the user after determining or knowing the normal magnetic deviation for the area,  would hold this close to the ground as he walked along.  When the needle moved from its typical position that would indicate the probability of a ore deposit below.    The Gurley catalog from the 1880's also indicates this could be used horizontally as a regular compass if needed. 

 The catalog write-ups I have read leave it about there as to usage and do not delve into whether or not the user can determine what type of ore deposit is below him.  Others have made that claim with the "quack" gold locators sometimes seen where a compass like this is on the end of a stick and the secret gold finding material is in the handle.  Good Luck with that. 

An interesting Gurley piece in top condition for the mining display or surveying collection.

Excellent  . . . . . .$100.00 - 200.00       SOLD!!


BACK

This is just a sample of the many antiques & collectibles we have sold.
Click link to see other Sales Archive Pages on this Site.

We can help you sell quality Surveying Related Antiques  Contact Us.

For further info on consigning / selling your antiques with us please see our FAQ page, the Appraisal / Selling Page and the Selling Your Collection Pages.

Our current offering of Antiques for sale are at our sister Website Patented-Antiques.com.


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(1998 - 2015)
Larry & Carole Meeker