Weekend Finds: Antique Apothecary Scale

I often get asked what the most interesting thing I’ve ever found is. After a few decades of finding, that’s a tough question to answer, but this weekend I think I may have found something that’s definitely a contender.

ScaleOk, this 19th century Henry Troemner apothecary balance scale might not be the most interesting thing I’ve ever found in a universal sense—but it’s definitely one of the most interesting I’ve ever found in the $10 price range. There are those moments when you do a double take at a price tag—you saw $35, the tag says $350. I thought this was one of those moments. I spied it at a younger couple’s garage sale and when I saw the price I was dumbfounded. How could something so cool only be $10? How was nobody else running down the street with it tucked under their arm, nervously laughing all the way? Wait, is it old? Is this a trap? Am I on TV?


Yes it’s old. No I wasn’t on TV—that I know of. The cabinet of the scale has been refinished and that threw me off because the design looked old but the finish clearly wasn’t. Once I unloaded this beast from the car, I removed the marble top, exposing a mark that reads: “Pat. Aug. 7, 66,” as in 1866. It’s an oldie, and it still works.


This isn't much easier to read in person.

This isn’t much easier to read in person.

A little research revealed a few things—mine is missing a few parts and it isn’t really all that valuable. I knew it should have brass pans for the balancing arms as well as a set of brass weights, and images of identical specimens revealed at some point its finely-cut marble top was replaced with a generic slab of white marble. While people are asking a wide range of big prices for these scales, similar examples usually sell in the $50-100 range. Why? I’m guessing its rather large size (about two feet long) and heavy weight make it more of an albatross to collectors with limited space.

Now I'm on the hunt for a set of weights like these

Now I’m on the hunt for a set of weights like these


This example shows what the pans and original top should look like

I still think its cool factor far outweighs the negatives and it’s for sure one of my most interesting $10 finds ever.

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One Comment

  1. Meaghan
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Be honest… you found it at Pottery Barn 😉

    (All I can think of whenever I hear apothecary is in Friends when Rachel buys an apothecary table from Pottery Barn and convinces Phoebe that it’s an antique. I may have a problem.)

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