Proof that it always pays to hunt around.
I’ve seen many pairs of antique binoculars at flea markets and antiques shops over the years, but while most were pretty reasonably priced, they were often in horrible condition. Covered in scratches, dents, cracked, scratched or chipped lenses, and jammed or faulty focusing mechanisms which left them impossible to operate.
But not these:
These are typical of binoculars produced in the late Victorian era, around 1870-1900. They were spectacular, and in fully functioning condition. I found them in a little antiques shop a few blocks from my house and I just had to have them. I know the shopkeeper fairly well and he let me have them for a discount to boot. I think they’re the most amazing and beautiful set of antique binoculars I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen quite a few! The brass body shines in the sun and the lenses are just amazingly perfect – not something that you often get with antique binoculars.
The sliding glare-shields had to be disassembled and cleaned and the felt linings inside had to be replaced (which was an easy fix), but other than that, they were in almost perfect condition.
They were made in Paris by Mohrson. That’s literally all I know about them. At one time they would’ve come with a strap, and most likely a case as well, but they’re long gone. Straps for binoculars like these are pretty simple, so getting a new one is unlikely to be a problem. I think they’re fantastic, and just had to share them.
They fold up pretty compact. Fully extended, they’re about six inches long, and they’re not so bulky that they’re difficult to operate, hold or use. All in all, a lovely pair of Victorian-era field glasses.
They also make a great photography prop! See?