Collectors exist to collect the newest and the best items, but many collectors spend a lot of money just to own something equally valuable. These can be
rare items, and they’re commonly found at auctions though some are found in antique or charity stores.
Antique and modern binoculars are wanted by all collectors, but those made in the 18th and 19th centuries are the most favored by the more serious
What Collectors Look For
Used by soldier and explorer alike, binoculars have been around for many centuries. Indeed, vintage binoculars used by soldiers in the First and Second
World Wars are prized by collectors. Whilst naturalists and birdwatchers go for binoculars made by credited manufacturers like Bushnell and Carl Zeiss.
Buyers and collectors also look for vintage opera glasses. In the 18th century, aristocratic men and women took to using lenses connected to a handle to
better enjoy theatres. In the 19th century, this technology improved enough to allow viewers to focus on the same point of the stage.
Serious collectors are experts of detecting markings on antique binoculars. First world war binoculars made in Paris, for instance, are marked on one side
to show where the pair was made. On the other side, the French war ministry was stamped.
The British government would stamp in S1, meaning first class lenses. The broad arrow symbol of the pair being used by the military shows they would be
used in wartime.
Collectors look for;
- Condition – lenses
- Whether the pair used prismatic lenses
- Who manufactured the pair
- If any parts are missing
Overall, serious collectors are able to identify the different types of binoculars from Stroud to Galilean. Collectors also know when to bargain with
Where You Can Find Binoculars
It’s amazing where people can find antique binoculars. Antique fairs, car-boot sales, shops and markets are good places to find binoculars.
Other collectors can find vintage pairs on online sites like eBay. There are magazines written about antiques, containing the latest information about
pairs and auctions.
Identifying Antique Binoculars
- Research the types of binoculars before beginning your collection. There are books and pictures you can look up that detail where binoculars were made.
They will also help you to learn what to look for when you buy a pair.
- Check if the pair is made of leather or brass. Look for jewels or precious metals. These were found in unique pairs of binoculars.
- Look for unique features that can help you research antique binoculars.
- Talk to dealers specializing in optics; they’ll have valuable information about the pair you wish to know about.
- Check to see if the parts are original and still work properly.
Finding The Value in Antique Binoculars
It’s a good idea to know what you’re buying for a collection.
- Inspect the pair for marks or dents.
- Make measurements.
- Look at the cap and case the pair came in.
- Write down on a pad its condition.
- Visit a library or online forum for information before you buy anything.