An elderly man who inherited a pair of glasses stuffed them into an envelope and put them into the letterbox of East Bristol Auctions in Bristol, England, with a note to throw them out if they were “no good.” The round glasses with sprung gold plated arms and prescription lenses had been sitting in a drawer for more than 50 years. The owner said that his uncle had received the glasses as gift from Gandhi between 1920 and 1930. Mahatma Ghandi was known for giving away his possessions. 

East Bristol Auctions realized how valuable the glasses could be and researched their provenance.  The history checked out.  The uncle was working with British Petroleum in South Africa, where Gandhi spent years before returning to India to launch the freedom struggle. These gold-plated circular glasses were worn by  Gandhi during this time.  The auction company realized this could be the most important find they ever had as a company. What was the final selling price?  They  sold for a surprising $340,000 to an unnamed collector in the United States. The final sale price was more than 17 times the sale estimate.  The sale attracted worldwide interest, including bids from the United States, India, Qatar, America, Russia and Canada.  

gandhi eyeglasses

Photo: East Bristol Auctions

4 responses to “Pair of Eyeglasses Bring $340,000”

  1. JSpytek says:

    @Collettore66 what article did you read (or skim)? You truly are a warrior for the cancel culture! How is this company not worthy of praise? They researched the item, found and documented the provenance, and eventually received top dollar for their client. You realize that if Kovel’s writes an article claiming that a company is behaving unethically, that they themselves could become subject to a libel lawsuit right? If you want to read a full story, pick up a nice long novel. If you don’t want short email blasts sent to encourage a company’s patronage, click unsubscribe.

  2. auntyem says:

    Yes, I was thinking the same as the other two commenters. I think the gentelman who submitted the glasses thought they may have been worth something, but just didn’t know how to get an appraisal. Those glasses would have disappeared and no one would have known about them.

  3. Collettore66 says:

    I agree with the last person who sent a comment regarding this article. I think it’s very important to state whether the elderly man received his fair share and portion of that sale. I have been an auction manager for over eight years and unfortunately there are many companies who would never do the right thing and believe it may be perfectly fine not to have to give the man anything because of his comment regarding not knowing if they are Worth anything. I believe it is important for Kovels to provide a full story to each of their “advertising“ blasts in order to provide your subscribers with examples of which companies in this competitive market are worthy of praise. And yes, that means if a company did not follow thru in an ethical manner, then that needs to be stated. If you feel you would rather not give the full story then quit sending out an email blasts of such sales.

  4. ashes01 says:

    I hope they forwarded the money to the little man who dropped off the pair of no good glasses !!! Simply amazing, sometimes we just don’t know what we may be holding on our hands.

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