A night at the opera, anyone? Attending an opera in the 1600s meant bringing along your monocular telescope so that you could see everything there was to see on the stage. Binocular opera glasses were invented in 1823, and since then these two types of opera glasses have been making it possible for theatre-goers to enjoy the show from as far away as the balcony. If you were a theatre-goer in the second half of the 19th century, you wouldn’t be caught dead without your stylish fashion accessory – a pair of opera glasses.
Collectors of fine antiques and vintage jewellery have been eyeing these beautiful pieces from around the world, and adding them to their collections. However, collecting opera glasses isn’t cheap. It’s a serious hobby, and a major investment. When shopping for opera glasses, make sure to visit a reputable antique dealer or auction house. Consider the year the glasses were made, the brand, and the country. If you want high-quality pieces, make sure your investment comes complete with a case or box.
These are several types of opera glasses, many of which come with a hefty price tag. For example, a pair of rare collapsible antique binoculars with mother of pearl handle can be found for around $1295. A pair of opera glasses featuring metal work and enamel made in France is on the market for around $400. It’s also easy to find opera glasses with beautiful designs, such as a opera glasses from the 1930s with jeweled enamel panels – going for about $900.
Collecting Opera Glasses