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Francis Barker M-72 Presentation Compass (1972)

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An extremely rare limited edition Francis Barker M-72 presentation compass, made in England by Francis Barker & Son Ltd of Edenbridge, Kent in 1972. This was Barker's top of the range, polished and lacquered, solid brass version of the M-72 Military Prismatic model, intended to be a very special gift or presentation item. The compass comes complete with its original fitted leather case.

The Francis Barker M-72 Prismatic Marching compass was a direct descendant of the legendary MK III that was in use throughout the second world war. Produced in the UK in 1972, it was a development of the M-71 which was introduced in 1971 and was one of the last Barker compasses to feature a mother of pearl card. The M-72 was only made during 1972, in very limited quantities, before being replaced by the M-73 in 1973. The M-73 remains in production today, is still regarded as the world's finest liquid prismatic compass, and is standard military issue with many armed forces.The M-72 was very similar to the M-71, with a brass case and lid. The most distinctive difference between the M-72 and the M-73 are the lid protection bars - the M-72 has the same old-style bars as the M-71, while the M-73 featured a new bar design. The prism guard and the thumb loop are also slightly different. Most of the M-71 and M-72 compasses were totally unmarked, or in rare cases, had the wording 'Pat. Appd. For’ or a NATO stock number engraved on the base. Only the presentation version has the maker’s name - 'F. Barker & Son Ltd, Edenbridge, Kent' - engraved on the base. Almost all of the M-72 compasses were exported to Australia.

Francis Barker: The Barker name is now owned by Pyser Optics, Edenbridge, Kent, who continue to manufacture the M-88 and M-73 compasses. This is the manufacturer’s description for the current M-73: "The M-73 Brass Presentation model is built to full military specifications. It will operate with precision accuracy to within half a degree, in temperatures from 55°C (131°F) down to -30°C (-22°F).  It is shock resistant, and built to withstand the roughest and toughest conditions you are likely to encounter anywhere in the world”. Further details of the M-72 and other M-series compasses can be found at Paul Crespel’s excellent website:


The compass is in very good condition, full working order, and finds North very well. There are no bubbles in the fluid. There is some minor wear to the lacquered finish of the brass case. The brass case, prism, glass, and mother of pearl compass card are in very good condition. The compass is calibrated in degrees. The original luminous night lights have now expired and no longer 'glow in the dark'. The leather case is in very good condition. There is an engraved inscription on the base: 'Standfast: Jameeleh'.

Dimensions : 85mm x 60mm x 34mm