A pair of glasses that belonged to Mahatma Gandhi, a freedom fighter from India, got sold at an auction in the UK for $340,000.
According to reports, the glasses were found hanging halfway out of the East Bristol Auctions’ letterbox.
They were initially thought to get only $19,000.
Andrew Stowe, an Auctioneer, said that it was a new record for them.
Stowe said that the owner of the glasses is an elderly man from Mangotsfield, South Gloucestershire, who inherited the glasses from his uncle.
The glasses were handed down from generation to generation in the family of the owner after the relative met the revered civil rights leader in South Africa in the 1920s.
In an unusual turn of events, they ended up being in a envelope and were left in the auction house’s letterbox.
There was a note and it said:
These glasses belonged to Gandhi, give me a call.
Upon checking the letterbox, Stowe got curious, so he gave the man a call.
I read the note, carried on with the morning duties, and then around lunchtime I thought, ‘Well let’s give this gentleman a call, let’s see what the story is’. A few hours later, we were digging around and doing some research and we discovered that they are a very important historical find. I phoned the gentleman back… his exact words were ‘if they’re no good, just throw them away’. I told him I thought they were worth £15,000, and I think he nearly fell off his chair. These are probably the most famous pair of spectacles we’ve ever had, and the most important historical item we’ve found.
Despite all that, the glasses were dropped off and were not checked for some time.
The owner did not know that the glasses were quite a fortune.
Stowe said that the glasses could have gotten stole in the letterbox or they could have been thrown in the bin.
Luckily that did not happen.
Stowe said that the glasses that got sold sat in a drawer for 50 years before it got sold.
Wow, imagine the history with those pair of glasses.
Talking about the vendor, Stowe said:
The vendor literally told me to throw them away if they were ‘no good’. Now he gets a life-changing sum of money.
The pair of glasses that we are talking about right now were given to the uncle of the seller during a visit to South Africa in the 1920s.
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 favour, he was gifted these glasses. It’s just the most incredible story. 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.
For those who do not know who Mahatma Gandhi is, he is one of the many Indians that fought against the British Empire to attain freedom.
Mahatma Gandhi was a lawyer who was known for the nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British rule, which ruled India for around 200 years.