The first de Wijs viewer was
manufactured in Holland in 1997 by the de Wijs Company. It was made from
aluminium and had an impressive 8.2x magnification and also inter-ocular
adjustment, allowing the user to alter the distance between the
focusable lenses. The diffusers were made from glass and the viewer also
featured a tripod stand. All de Wijs viewers had a unique serial number
engraved into their body, the blue example shown below is number 60.
A total of 50 viewers were
manufactured in the initial production run in 1997. Of that run, numbers
1 to 5 were gold in colour and the remaining 45 were silver. The second
and final production run occurred in 1999 when 63 viewers were produced
in red(29), blue(18), black(12), green(2) and silver(2). The rarest
colour is green, of which only two were ever produced.
Hugo de Wijs' viewers are
generally accepted by most collectors to be the best View-Master style
viewers ever made and on the extremely rare occasions when one is
offered for sale, it always achieves a high price.