For most people the term “maritime” refers to anything related to the sea. Maritime history is full of fascinating events involving ships, shipping, navigation and seafarers. There is even history surrounding the various sciences related to maritime such as oceanography, cartography and hydrography. As a result of this cornucopia of information, collecting maritime antiques has proven to be a fun hobby for many people.

Know Where To Look
The first step for collecting antiques is to know where to find those items falling into this category. As would be expected, many of these antiques can be found in the towns and cities that have a maritime history. Annapolis, Maryland, home of the naval academy, is a great place to start. This city has an abundance of maritime antique stores with much of the merchandise shown on their websites along with the prices. Most of the stores have shipping capability so even if there is a great distance involved, the purchase can be done.

Another good city for maritime antiques is Charleston, South Carolina. It is home to a wonderful maritime museum as well as great art auctions. The auctions provide many items considered maritime antiques. Collectors have found pieces such as candle powered navigation lights that were on 19th century ships at these auctions.

Types of Collector's Items
Another collector’s item is the marine chronometer which is a precise clock used to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation. The best quality chronometer was made in early Great Britain and the chronometer can be located at auctions throughout the United States.

The antique compass has become another collector’s item favored by many. It can originate from countries all over the world. This navigational instrument shows direction from a stationery reference point. The invention of the compass occurred in ancient China and it was used for maritime navigation in the 12th Century. Adaptations to the compass kept it necessary for navigation well into the 1900’s. There are many different types for collectors to pursue.



Another collector’s item is the sextant which is an instrument used to measure the angle between two visible objects which is important to early celestial navigation. The angle along with the time when measured can be used to calculate a position on the nautical chart.

Displaying Your Antiques
These collector’s items are only a few that come to mind for maritime antiques. There are some collectors who will buy anchors of ships, brass plaques from old Navy ships as well as a great number of ship bells. Besides being displayed as collector items only, many of these pieces can be used as decorating pieces on outside property where they will definitely act as conversation pieces for most visitors.

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