barnes-1.jpg (16508 bytes) Antique Stanley Rule & Level Spoke Shaves Larry & Carole Meeker
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Antique Dealers & Brokers

Purveyors and Dealers of Americana  /  Patented & Mechanical Antiques

Antique & Collectible Tools

We will buy, or can help you sell your Antique & Collectible Tools!!

A Primer / Background

We Buy, sell, trade and deal in all manner of antique and vintage tools from a number of  trades.  Sales of Antique woodworking planes and woodworking tools are a major focus of our stanley plumb bobantique sales website and are discussed on another page at this site linked on the left.  Past sales results for antique & collectible tools as well as a host of other types of antiques and collectibles we have sold are linked in the column on the right.  Please explore the entire page.

I am currently helping the heirs sell tools from one tool collection that numbered over 15,000 tools when the owner died. I am selling over 300 woodworking planes from another antique collection, and we have a slow but steady supply of other antique tool consignments come in that we are selling for other sellers.  We have many other technology and scientific related antiques and collectibles 386.jpg (21175 bytes)listed for sale on that site as well.  Please take a look if you are either interested in buying old tools, or looking to sell ones you have.

Old tools from all  woodworking trades such as carpentry, cabinetmaking, shipbuilding, pattern makers, and others are of special interest.  Vintage machinist tools such as squares, surface gages, calipers and dividers by makers such as Starrett, D. B. & S, Darling, Brown and Sharpe, Lufkin, Sawyer, Stevens, and many others can be of interest as well. 


Condition is the single most important aspect in determining ha_w.jpg (20083 bytes)the value or desirability of a desirable antique tool in today's market.   This statement holds true for most other antiques as well.  As an example, a rare woodworking plane or tool that is in excellent condition might be worth $1000.  That same tool with one simple crack or chip in the cast iron body might not bring 1/10th or $100 of that $1000 at auction or on the open market.  Not broken, but with deep pitting or other major condition problems, that same $1000 tool might fetch $100 - 200.  The same tool in mint condition and in the original box could be worth 2 or 3 times or more than the original $1000 figure.  The value of a given object is all in the details.  There is a condition chart created by and published in the Fine Tool Journal that most antique tool dealers adhere to in describing their tools.  A copy of that can be found on the at our other website.  

Many casual sellers of antique tools and other antiques do not understand the concept of condition in relation to the value.  k4box1.jpg (23221 bytes)They ignore it or are looking at the object through rose-colored glasses.   It does not help to hear an old tool looks "great for it age",  or phrases similar to that.  That phrase is the ultimate red flag, catch-all phrase many sellers on eBay and elsewhere use to knowingly peddle substandard wares or things in horrible condition.

Early or vintage tools in super condition are special interest and NOS (New Old Stock) and vintage tools in their original boxes that were made by all the major makers including Stanley, Ohio Tool, Sargent, Simmons Hardware or Keen Kutter, Winchester, and more are of particular interest, and in general have an enhanced value in the antique tool marketplace.  We are always interested in hearing about them.

Antique Levels / Inclinometers

Anther example of antique and vintage tools whose values can range from very little to thousands are levels and especially examples known as inclinometers. 

During the heyday of Helb Railroad Level American inventiveness and ingenuity, and before China became the world's major tool manufacturer, Americans designed, patented, and produced some of the finest levels known.

The best known large companies were Stanley Rule & Level Co. Stratton Bros, Davis Tool and Level Co, Jennings and others.  But there were many rare and unusual levels / inclinometers produced by small obscure makers that are just as nice, very rare and are actively sought by collectors of antique tools.

The most popular and desirable type of collectible levels today are known as inclinometerPatented Inclinmeter Davis Level levels.  These leveling devices typically have dials or pendulums to determine the slope or pitch rather than the typical liquid filled vial seen in most levels. Some used small suspended plumb bobs or liquid as the indicator. Many were odd-ball patented designs, but others like the Rufus Porter example were works of art and are now very desirable and valuablemf217vise.jpg (20330 bytes) as collectibles.  To see past sale results for different types of levels and Inclinometers click the appropriate links in the right column. 

That is but one example. Within each category of antique tools there are standout examples which are worth far more than other more common examples.  For example, with chisels Stanley Everlast #40 chisels can sell for 100 or more each when found in mint condition and as part of a set.  Later #60 Stanley chisels are lucky to sell for more than 10.00 each.  Or take Slicks, which are large oversize chisels.  They go the same way.  While crank neck or gouge style slicks by desirable makers like Barton, or White can sell for 200 or more, later more common slicks by well known makers like Greenlee struggle to sell for 100.  The examples are endless and each category of antiques has them.

Antique Braces / Drills / Augers etc


Yet anther example of antique and vintage tools whose values can range from very little to thousands are drilling related tools. 

 Ajax Beam Boring Machine / DrillToday a lot of drilling related vintage tools are sought and their prices are driven by users who prefer classic hand tools to what is available today.   The highest prices in this category are created by a small group of very passionate collectors.  Prices for certain braces have reached the mid 4 figures in the past.  The same with a few example of rare beam drills.  Good quality user drills by Stanley, North Brothers, Millers Falls, Goodell Pratt and a few others routinely sell in the low hundreds.  AtRussell Jennings Auger Drill Bit Set the far end of the range are all of the who cares no name eggbeater style drills you see at flea markets and in shops that never sell for the 10.00 they are priced at. 

Please click the other tool related pages in the left column for more specific info on different types of collectible tools we seek and deal in. On the right side are links to the Past Sales Archives where you can see examples of what vintage tools and other antiques have sold for and can be worth.

stan100pln.jpg (20623 bytes)The above antique tools are an example of the caliber, condition and quality of antique tools that I typically deal in. Please contact me at if you have tools similar to those pictured here that are for sale.

To see many other examples of antique or vintage tools that I currently have for sale please go to our sister site at and visit the numerous antique tool sale pages you will find there.

Thank you!!
Larry & Carole Standard Tool Co. Center Head / Square Lufkin # 388 (32 1/2) 1' 4 Fold Boxwood Rule

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Larry & Carole Meeker