I just bought an antique lens, so I'll offer some thoughts. I'm not a collector. I just like finely made old things, and especially like the mystery of using something very old. Last summer I started using a c.1959 Kodak Brownie Hawkeye. I liked it! I then bought a c.1937 Voigtlander Bessa, nearly mint condition. I still shoot about one 120 roll per week. I then bought a c.1914 Kodak Special No. 1 and had it fully restored. I will use it when it gets warmer outside (synthetic shutter could shatter in the below zero cold here now.) SO, last week I bought something even older, a c. 1870s Derogy 5.5" Petzval lens. I love its beautiful brass. I love the flowing engraved scripts. I love the sense of grace it gives my Shen Hao 4x5 field camera! I am not a collector, but really appreciate finely made cameras. More than that, I am entranced by the connection they give me to photographers of the distant past. The Derogy has no shutter of course, but I shoot at night a lot anyway. For the record, I have virtually NO interest in what I call the "second wave" of lens technology, that which came after about 1885. I have no interest in buying a lens from 1900. A 1930 Voigtlander Bergheil in dark green, maybe. I paid $650 for the Derogy from a collector. He seems to buy & sell all the time. I had bid on an 1842 Ross Petzval in December, but dropped off at $1,600. I really wish I had taken it to $2,000. For me, the history and connection to the past are very important. I might yet sell the Derogy for something significantly older, but until then I really am in love with it!
New NIkon lenses are costing over $2,000 now. To me it seems that $650 for something so historic, so beautiful, is almost obscenely low. The lens would have cost a small fortune in 1872! For me, the lens not only can make art: it is itself art!
Kent in SD