The Americans have certainly not lost their enthusiasm for such items either. Bradbury Ketelhut of Alpen Art & Antiques in Vail, Colorado, has a selection costing from $10,000 to $80,000. “We have had steady sales in the past few months for pairs in the $25,000 to $35,000 range,” he says, and attributes the increase in price over the past six months to a lack of supply combined with a growing demand. He has an outstanding pair of second world war 20x120 Toko naval binoculars ($32,000), originally used on either a carrier or destroyer.
One of Ketelhut’s clients is Mike Rushmore, an engineer and technology entrepreneur, who likes to watch wildlife from his home in the mountains of the western US. He neatly focuses on the appeal of these statuesque binoculars: “The elegant design leaps out at you when you first see them, but it is the awesome functional value of the optics that keeps your attention over time.”