Compasses have been the tools at the heart of some incredible discovering, conflicts, and feats of discovery. Aesthetic in appearance, while many devices now automatically incorporate some form of compass or GPS, the humble compass is still heralded for its design. Smaller compasses make for a great memento or gift, while larger pieces can be used for striking decor and design details. Each compass will have its own story and history, from those used in times of war to those used on commercial ships or even by a boy scout in days gone by, and by purchasing an antique compass you keep a little piece of that history alive.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best examples of antique compass currently for sale online.
Table of Contents
Different Types of Compass
There are a variety of different compass types which reflect the variety of uses compasses have had throughout history. Knowing the different types of compasses can help you to narrow down your search when looking for the perfect antique compass.
- Liquid Compass: Uses a magnetized needle or a card immersed in a fluid.
- Marine Compass: Also known as a card compass this type of compass features a needle with a fixed compass card that is mounted in a fluid. As you may have guessed by the name, this type of compass was most commonly used on boats.
- Prismatic Compass: This type of compass uses a glass prism or a lens.
- Base-plate Compass: This form of compass is most commonly used for orienteering and often includes a magnifying lens and ruler for map reading.
- Thumb Compass: A smaller version of the Base-plate compass that can be attached to the thumb.
- Solid State Compass: These are found in electronic devices.
- Qibla Compass: Used by Muslims to show the direction of Mecca
List of 50 Antique Compasses for Sale
We’ve scoured the internet to find an exciting list of antique compasses currently available for sale online. We’ve organized our list into convenient categories, to help you find what you’re looking for more easily.
I) Authentic Antique Compass
Features: Dual Concentric scaled dial. The upper part marked “Compensated,” the lower “A&N.C.O.S.L.”.
Material: Silver, Brass, and Card
Features: Curved crystal held within a silver-plated drum form case with two transit lock pins to a silver-plated brass base.
Material: Card, Glass, Brass
Features: Floating dry card, Suspended on red gemstone, Sealed with sealing wax.
Material: Silver, Blue Steel, Glass
Features: The meteorological headings “Rain”, “Change” and “Fair” are displayed within its glass well kept frame
Material: Brass with a shellac finish
Features: The compass is a small boat with the compass itself being displayed at the tip
6. Heavy Antique New York T.S & J.D Negus Pelorus Nautical Maritime Navigational Aid Brass Instrument Dumb Compass Wood Dovetail Box Ref 20660
Material: Wood, Brass, Metal
Features: Compass is featured in its original New York Wood Dovetail box.
Material: Nickel Plated
Features: A standard compass shell, with a blue directional pointer.
II) Antique Nautical/Maritime Compass
Material: Wood, Card, Glass, Brass
Features: Original Box and large compass face
Material: Brass, Wood
Features: Large compass face, homemade from the 1940s
Material: Wood, Brass
Features: Dark wooden box with E, Mclain carved into the base of the lid.
4. Silver Nautical Sundial Compass with Wooden Box, Nautical Compass, Maritime Compass, Nautical Sundial, Maritime Gifts, Nautical Desk Decor
Material: Inox Metal, Glass, Wood
Features: Features a triangular design with an orange original wooden box.
A triangular compass dating back to the 1990s , dimensions of the compass are itself are height: 5cm, width: 12cm, depth: 12cm, length: 11cm. Dimensions of the box are height: 6cm, width: 17cm, depth: 17cm.
III) Vintage Pocket Compass
Material: Wood, Brass, Glass
Features: Two Compasses and Compass Box
Material: Brass, Glass, Leather
Features: Compass is brass base with “Boy Scouts of America Compass” displayed on the lid front.
3. Antique Maritime Compasses, Japanese Ship compass, Maritime Compasses, WW2, NAVY compass, Made in Japan
Material: Metal, wood, glass
Features: Original Box and fitted compass.
IV) Antique Ship Compass
Material: Polished Brass, Glass
Features: The compass features an almost coffee flask design with orbs.
2. Vintage antique Sundial Nautical Compass, Home gift, Gift for Him, Nautical Christmas, Brass Sundial Compass
Material: Rosewood and Brass
Features: Multiple intricate features with clip box.
3. Antique Marine Ships Brass Binnacle ~ Gimbal Compass by C.Plath Hamberg with Lamp ~ Nautical Man Cave Display Piece ~ Sailing Yacht Boat
Material: Brass, Glass
Features: Brass body with glass and card compass
Material: Brass, Wood, Glass
Features: Features a wooden bass with glass-covered compass made from brass
5. Antique replica brass & wooden gimbal compass 10″ ships binnacle gimballed compass father’s day gift, mother’s day gift
Material: Brass, Wood, Glass
Features: A tall compass, base made of wood, glass compass with brass fittings.
Material: Wooden Compass Navigation Equipment
Features: Very tall compass with wooden bass, brass cap, and glass screen for compass
Features: Tall steampunk looking compass with front-facing compass
Features: A very large brass vintage Japanese compass.
9. Brass Ship Sextant Compass with Tripod Vintage Solid Antique Nautical Sailing Maritime Marine Navy Functional Decoration Gift
Features: Tall standing compass with 3 legs
10. Military marine Soviet compass vintage 80s solid binnacle KM100-3 for boat yacht with a kerosene lanterns w / original wooden box
Features: Double chimney compass from the Soviet Miltary
V) Antique military compass
Material: Plastic, Brass, and Card
Features: Black center, yellow Headings, and Brass casing.
Material: Glass, Brass, Card
Features: Blue north pointing hand, glass cover, and brass fittings
3. Map and compass Working compass Soviet Compass Military compass Compass with leather Made in USSR Old compass USSR compass Antique compass
Material: Metal, Plastic, Leather
Features: Leather strap, Metal Case, Plastic Cover
4. Rare Aviation magnetic compass KI-11, Soviet military compass, motorboat compass, antique compass, military compass
Material: Metal, Glass
Features: Black metal with yellow heading markers.
Material: Brass, Plastic, Glass, Metal, and Leather
Features: Leather strap with glass cover, plastic features, and metal headings pointer
Material: Leather, glass, brass, card
Features: Leather strap, Glass cover, Brass Fittings, Card Face
Material: Metal, Glass
Features: Black Steel compass with yellow readings
Features: Nickel-Plated body with steel heading pointer, and card background.
VI) Vintage Miniature/Novelty Compass
Material: Polish Brass Frame, Glass, and Plastic
Features: Cream body with red and green plastic ball handles.
Features: Small brass compass with the black directional center card.
Material: Glass, Sterling Silver
Features: Silver frame in the shape of a ship steering wheel with a tiny heading display.
Material: Steel, and Silver, Gold plated
Features: Silver outer case, and miniature compass in the middle
Features: A miniature compass in the shape of a lantern
6. Antique Victorian Compass Fob Pendant & Gold Chain – Bamboo Design, Engagement Present, Anniversary Gift or Wife, Bride Birthday Surprise
Features: Antique Victorian compass fob pendant & gold chain
Features: A small gold horseshoe pendant
VII) Vintage Compass
Material: “Potential Bone” with lacquer
Features: A small compass face in the center of a well-designed coin.
Material: Wood, Plastic and Card
Features: A almost wooden wallet with the compass on the left side
3. Nautical Maritime Sailors Compass – Brass and glass form with spinning dial style compass as opposed to spinning needle above the compass
Material: Brass, Metal, Paper, Mixed Glass
Features: A brass bass with multiple colored compass face with center brass fitting.
4. Vintage Brass Compass, Nautical Compass, Compass with Wooden Box, Sun Compass, Nautical Gifts, Maritime Gifts, Nautical Decor, Desk Gifts
Material: Brass, Wood, Glass
Features: A small miniature compass, with a brass case, and a wooden “Sun Compass” box.
Material: Brass, steel
Features: 2.125 inches by 0.5 inches thick. Felt covering on the underside.
Material: Metal, Cornish Serpentine Glass
Features: A almost marble look to the base of a compass at the very top.
Material: Metal Agate
Features: A small Moss Gree Agate with a compass on top.
8. Antique Brass Push Button Sundial Compass with Leather Case and Chain – Push Open Compass – Steampunk Accessory – Antiquated Finish
Material: Brass, Leather, Glass
Features: A small compass in a case in brass with a sundial on top
Material: Brass, Metal
Features: Clear heading face with plastic black hands and brass casing.
Material: Nickel Silver, Brass and Glass
Features: Nickle Silver case with brass fittings, glass covering, and cream/white headings on the face.
Compasses are fantastic decor pieces and can add a touch of nautical aesthetic to a space. Making for great conversation pieces, and with each item having its own fascinating history, compasses are more than just a simple object and can make great gifts too.