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Original Miami Beach Antiques Show Video Profile: PMC Binoculars

by Gregory Watkins (02/14/12).


One of the great benefits of attending an event like the 51th annual Original Miami Beach Antiques Show is wandering around the great halls and meeting the people who are working the show—the dealers. They are all interesting in their own ways, as each has a unique background and interest, but there are some who rise above the rest. Such is the case with Paul Manning of PMC Binoculars.

Manning has a distinctive booth at the show, set up right at the entrance, where his gleaming brass, bronze and aluminum wares are sure to catch the eye of every show attendee as they walk through the front doors. His stock in trade? Restored World War Two binoculars that not only function but are works of art in themselves.

These huge binoculars offer rare optics with amazing clarity and long range vision. These are not hand-held field glasses; these are heavy, bulky sets that were mounted to German and Japanese warships—battleships and submarines and alike— designed to make a tiny speck on the horizon some 10 miles away look like it was 100 feet away. Devices like these are just not made any longer.

Manufactured by Zeiss, this binocular that once cruised the North Atlantic on a German battleship is exceptionally rare and has all the optical qualities you would expect from a binocular made by Zeiss for the German Fleet during World War Two.

Manning buys old WWII-era binoculars that were once fitted on warships and fortresses from government surplus and veterans’ families and restores these engineering marvels. When he first gets them, they are most often broken, covered in green or gray paint and in need of a lot of work. It can take months or even years of patient work to refurbish a single binocular, as broken lenses and prisms cannot be simply re-ordered. Often, the restoration process is set aside until another binocular with right working pieces can be acquired.

When restored, these binoculars no longer have military value, but they make unique wonderful functional decorative pieces. Standing almost six feet tall on a gleaming chrome pedestal or wood-and-brass tripod, they are great conversation pieces that fill a room with atmosphere and are perfect for use at a beach house, a mountain cabin or a city penthouse.

Prices range from $6,000 for the most basic model up to $40,000 and $60,000 for the rarest and most intricate examples, these binoculars are truly unique.

To contact Paul Manning, call 845.626.4039 or 845.430.3956, e-mail him at paul@pmcbinoculars.com or visit the PMC Binoculars website.

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