Saturday 20th October 2018

The Quekett’s annual sale of microscopes and related items in the hall of St Stephen’s Church on Watling Street just outside St Albans was packed with members and visitors looking for bargains. The hall was booked from 9:30 a.m. to allow 30 minutes for setting up, but it was available early and the sale was in full swing by 9:30 a.m. The event had been promoted locally and on Facebook and Twitter, and we were pleased to see some unfamiliar faces. By 2:00 p.m. lots of things had been sold and most sellers had packed up and departed.

Hunting for bargainsHunting for bargains

As in previous years, there was an amazing variety of items for sale, including trinocular stereo and compound microscopes, some polarising microscopes, prepared slides (boxed and individual), books, lots of eyepieces, objectives and condensers, and all sorts of accessories. There were also lots of catalogues, brochures and leaflets, always handy for identifying old items and learning more about them. In addition to providing members and visitors with a good opportunity to dispose of surplus items and to acquire new kit, Microscopium provides an excellent opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends, and gossip over tea and coffee in the Hall and over lunch in the nearby King Harry pub.

Microscopes are not often given away, but the late Alastair Smith wanted his 9 to be given to Quekett members, who rallied round to collect and distribute them. Peter Wakeman drove up from Devon to attend Microscopium and brought with him Alastair’s Vickers polarising microscope for Andrew Wallace and a Lomo MIN-10 polarising microscope for Irma Irsara.

Lisa and Nigel Ashby were selling for the first time, and their items included a black monocular Watson Service 3 with box, a large Watson exposure meter, a box of Mazda 15 watt bulbs, an Exa 1a camera body, developing tanks and a safelight

Lisa and Nigel AshbyLisa and Nigel Ashby with Jacky McPherson

Derek Brown brought a stereomicroscope with lamp on a boomstand (with spare objectives), a small brass microscope, a camera lucida from Sartory Instruments, some books, slides, chemicals and brochures.

Derek BrownDerek Brown

Small brass microscopeSmall brass microscope

Gordon Brown hoped to sell 2 large microscopes, a very well equipped trinocular Watson Hilux 70 (soon swapped for a Nachet NS300 with DIC) and a cheap but incomplete Vickers Photoplan M41.

Watson Hilux 70 microscopeWatson Hilux 70 microscope

Robert Cowen’s items included a trinocular Olympus CHC with a phase contrast condenser and a video camera, 2 Vickers school microscopes, an AO stereomicroscope, a Reichert phase contrast condenser and binocular head, a Swift Nine Fifty and some Vickers objectives and eyepieces.

Graham Matthews examining items from Robert Cowen and his sonGraham Matthews examining objectives from Robert Cowen and his son

David Dixon offered a monocular Watson Microsystem 70 body, a binocular Baker Patholette with its red cylindrical case, a grey monocular microscope, some Watson and Meopta objectives and eyepieces, a Kodak Carousel S-AV 2010 slide projector, and sheets of polarising film.

David Dixon’s sales tableDavid Dixon’s sales table

Barry Ellam was selling a PZO monocular with 4 objectives, a 1930s Zeiss monocular with 3 objectives, and a Bausch & Lomb binocular stand.

Victor Diss and Barry EllamVictor Diss (left) and Barry Ellam

Chris Gardiner was selling lots of interesting books, booklets, brochures, instruction manuals, catalogues and photographs

Chris GardinerChris Gardiner

Chris Green brought a black Beck 29 and a trinocular black Leitz Orthoplan.

Chris Green’s microscopesChris Green’s microscopes

Dennis Fullwood was selling a monocular Watson Microsystem 70, two small Leitz monoculars, a Prior monocular, some objectives, some books, a tripod and some new eyepieces.

Dennis Fullwood’s sales tableDennis Fullwood’s sales table

Phil Greaves brought some Olympus BH-2 items from the estate of Brian Davidson including dark-ground condensers, a polarising intermediate tube, a 6-way nosepiece and two vertical monocular tubes. Other items included eyepieces, objectives, canisters and objectives (from makers such as Baker, Beck, Leitz, Meopta, Olympus, Reichert, Swift, Watson and Zeiss), bulbs, illuminators, slide boxes, slide sets, books, back numbers of Balsam Post and RMS Proceedings, and loads of brochures and leaflets. Odds and ends included several RMS extension tubes of different lengths, for making objectives parfocal.

Phil GreavesPhil Greaves (right), with Lewis Woolnough, Mike Woof, Mike Samworth and Robert Ratford

Phil Greaves’ eyepiecesPhil Greaves’ eyepieces

Phil Greaves’ empty canistersPhil Greaves’ empty canisters

Jacky McPherson sold her Nikon SMZ-1 zoom stereomicroscope on a heavy boomstand.

Jacky McPherson’s stereomicroscopeJacky McPherson’s stereomicroscope

John Millham had an Olympus BH-2, a Leitz Dialux 20EB, a Wild M20EB, a trinocular Nikon Labophot 2, several Nikon heads and condensers, an Olympus BH-2 discussion tube, and objectives and eyepieces from makers such as Leitz, Nikon, Olympus and Zeiss.

John Millham discussing an item with Mark BurgessJohn Millham discussing an item with Mark Burgess

Brian Norman was selling a few microscopes including a black and brass Henry Crouch, slides in sets and individually, objectives and eyepieces from makers including Cooke, Cooke-Baker, Leitz, Lomo, Olympus, Watson and Zeiss, and model tardigrades made on a 3D printer.

Brian NormanBrian Norman with a visitor (and Chris Green in the background)

Brian Norman’s lenses and microscopesBrian Norman’s lenses and microscopes

Brian Norman’s slidesSome of Brian Norman’s slides

Statham’s Youth’s Compound MicroscopeStatham’s Youth’s Compound Microscope

Stephen Parker brought a Nachet NS300 with DIC, a Russian polarising stereomicroscope, a Vickers M74 polarising microscope, a small student microscope with transmitted and reflected light, a Swift portable with a failed battery, and some objectives.

Stephen ParkerStephen Parker

Nigel Parkinson was selling a grey Bausch & Lomb stereomicroscope on a stand with arm rests and a mirror for transmitted light, a Beck binocular head, some brass accessories, some books, and a box full of auction catalogues. He also brought a mystery item, bottom right in the photo, that we didn’t manage to identify.

Desmond Squire and Nigel ParkinsonDesmond Squire (left) and Nigel Parkinson

Tony Pattinson brought along several copies of his 3 The Freshwater Microscopist books, and sold almost all of them. They are available from blurb.

Tony Pattinson’s booksTony Pattinson’s books

David Peston’s table attracted lots of attention with his bargain-priced eyepieces and objectives from makers including Leitz, Olympus, Watson and Zeiss; he even had some Periplan eyepieces with 28 mm threads for eyecups. He also had some Leitz stands, a stereomicroscope and some boxed sets of histology slides.

David PestonDavid Peston and his wife (with Irma Irsara left and David Linstead right)

David Peston’s objectivesDavid Peston’s objectives

Mike Samworth still had a few Zeiss objectives from the estate of Steve Edgar.

Mike Samworth’s objectivesMike Samworth’s objectives

Mark Shephard, who organised the event, was selling several sets of slides, a few books and a grey Beck 47 monocular microscope.

Mark Shephard’s sales tableMark Shephard’s sales table

Mark Shephard’s slidesSome of Mark Shephard’s slides

Desmond Squire was offering some interesting old catalogues, brochures and books.

Desmond Squire’s sales tableDesmond Squire’s sales table

David Stell was offering probably the most expensive and heaviest item ever seen at Microscopium, a trinocular Leica DMRX with PL Fluotar objectives, transmitted and reflected DIC, reflected dark ground and a digital camera, complete with manuals and software. He also had a trinocular Leica MZ8 stereomicroscope on a transmitted-light base, with a separate fibre-optic illuminator.

David Stell with his wife and David DixonDavid Stell (left) with his wife and David Dixon

Chris Thomas brought the Quekett shop, with books, binders, ties, leaflets and the Journal on a USB flash drive.

Spike Walker only had one item for sale this time, a binocular Zeiss Standard stand.

Spike Walker’s Zeiss Standard microscopeSpike Walker’s Zeiss Standard microscope

Paul Wheatley had several microscopes for sale, including a binocular Olympus KHC, a monocular Wild M11, 2 Swift Stereo Eighty with cases, a Zeiss Standard and a Nikon stereomicroscope. He also had 2 Olympus PM-LSD Trans-Illuminators with TGHM transformers and a box of other items.

Paul WheatleyPaul Wheatley (left)


Our thanks to Mark Shephard for successfully organising his first Microscopium, with some very happy buyers and sellers, to the volunteers who provided much-needed tea, coffee and biscuits, and to those who put out and packed away the tables and chairs.

Report and photographs by Alan Wood

↑ Top of page