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A pair of spectacles belonging to Mahatma Gandhi are expected to fetch thousands at auction, after the owner mailed them in an envelope to the auctioneers, hoping to get a few bucks.
The gold-colored glasses were gifted to the current owner’s uncle by the famous leader during a trip to South Africa in the 1920s.
The rare item was then passed down through generations before ending up in the mailbox of an auction house in Bristol, England.
A sale price has now been set at between £10,000 and £15,000 for the spectacles—although it is thought that they could eventually go for much more.
Gandhi, named ‘Man of the Year’ by Time magazine in 1930, was a lawyer and activist whose non-violent campaign successfully freed India from British rule.
Much like John Lennon, he developed a distinctive look in later life, which always included the iconic glasses.
Andrew Stowe, from East Bristol Auctions, said, “We came in one morning, and there, poking rather precariously out of our letter box, was a small envelope.
“In the envelope was the pair of spectacles, along with note which read, ‘These were Gandhi’s glasses,’ and a phone number for the owner.
“It was the most bizarre five minutes of my career! A telephone call later and we learned the full story and set about our research.
“Once we dug a little deeper, we realized these glasses were find of huge historical importance.
“Gandhi is an iconic figure in world history. When one thinks of him you conjure up the image of his shawl, his sandals and, of course, his glasses.”
Andrew added that Gandhi was known to give away his personal possessions to those who helped him.
“The uncle in question worked for British Petroleum at the time, and the family legend was that he had helped Gandhi in some way during his visit and in return for the favor, he was gifted these glasses.
“It’s just the most incredible story, because the owner had no idea of their value, and would’ve been quite happy to receive fifty pounds for them I’m sure!
“When I told him of the valuation, the line went quiet for a moment—he was rather surprised.
“It’s one of those moments we all dream of—discovering something we’ve owned for years is worth thousands of pounds.
“It’s always a complete joy to make these discoveries.”
Lots relating to Gandhi have fetched a lot of money at auction, with a small shawl worn by him selling in 2013 for £40,000. A pair of well-worn sandals sold in the same year for £13,000.
The glasses are due to go under the hammer during the East Bristol Auctions’ specialist ‘Military & History Auction’ taking place online at 10am on August 21.