Collecting antiques can be fun and informative. Whether you collect binoculars for aesthetic pleasure or for profit, it's always helpful to do some research beforehand. With a few simple resource tools, you can quickly get a variety of information about past and present values. With these data, you can make a general comparative analysis to estimate current values and maybe identify a trend in the marketplace.
Inspect the binoculars for any marks, engravings or labels that may be present, using a magnifying glass if necessary. Examine the overall condition of the outer shell, the mechanical movements and the lenses. Write down on a piece of paper everything you observe.
Take measurements of the binoculars. Include the length, width and diameters of the lenses. Add these measurements to your notes.
Evaluate any accessories like a case or lens caps in the same manner as the binoculars. Write down any information and condition issues. Determine whether the accessories are original to the binoculars or not.
Visit your local library or bookstore and browse its collection of antique price guides. Search by brand name, using the information you gathered about the piece earlier. Browse pictures if your initial observations didn't produce a make or model. Write down each value you find, along with the descriptions given, and most importantly, the date of the book edition your are looking in.
Search online auctions, forums, articles and antique web sites by typing the make and model of the binoculars into various search engines. Examine the results, and make adjustments to your description if necessary to bring up more applicable results. Include results of any closed auctions from the last month. Jot down notes as before, including the value and condition of binoculars as well as the date that the web site, auction or post was last updated, closed or written.
Attend local antique fairs or gatherings, and inquire about dealers who have expertise in your type of item. Solicit a free general estimate from the dealers, or pay for a complete appraisal with documentation.
Determination of Current Estimated Value
Gather all of your information, and list on a separate sheet of paper only the items most similar to yours in terms of age, make, model, optical power and accessories, if applicable.
Analyse the overall conditions and features of your binoculars and compare them with the condition and features of the binoculars you have on your list.
Determine which binoculars with the most current values best represent the item you are evaluating. If more than one item is similar, take the average of their combined values. Understand that the value you arrived at is only as accurate as the data collected and that it doesn't reflect future value.
This process is meant to provide a general estimate of value for personal knowledge and should not be used for professional services.