Elli Buk's scientific instruments to auction in Massachusetts

The scientific instruments collection of Elli Buk (1949-2012) will auction on April 25 in Massachusetts, with an early example of the Marconi Magnetic Detector expected to see the highest bids.

Elli buk collection auction
Buk was a legendary collector, renowned for a selection that spans almost every genre in his field

The experimental model will sell with a $25,000-30,000 valuation. It was one of the first machines capable of making radio signals audible, favoured for maritime use due to its reliability.

The test model at auction was made circa 1900, two years before Guglielmo Marconi patented his final example. It is fashioned from the winding spring of a telegraph inker.  

Marconi magnetic detector
This early prototype is unique, paving the way for Marconi's later development

Elli Buk was a legendary collector in his field. Over a period of 40 years, he amassed a stunning collection that spans almost every genre, from microscopes and telescopes to medical devices and telegraphy.

Also starring in the collection are two Riker motors, manufactured by the Riker Electric Motor Co of Brooklyn under an 1891 patent, one of which is valued at up to $10,000. The Riker Electric Motor Co was the first to pioneer the use of electric motors in transportation.

The two engines will be joined by early examples from Frank Perret and the Crocker-Wheeler Electronic Co.

Some of the more unusual lots of the sale include an assortment of prosthetic devices, a skeleton of a dog and a barrister's wig. Grogan and Company hope to cash in on the recent "steampunk" fashion craze, with a fantastic selection of industrial contraptions perfect for designers and enthusiasts.

Scientific items are very popular at auction, as collectors strive to preserve the memory of mankind's greatest achievements. On April 11, Heritage Auctions will sell the Nobel Prize awarded to Francis Crick for his discovery of the structure of DNA, with a $500,000+ estimate.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a signed letter from the great inventor Thomas Edison, as well as an early autographed photo of Margaret Thatcher at work in a chemistry lab.

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