Mahatma Gandhi glasses head to auction with £30,000 estimate

A pair of Mahatma Gandhi's gold plated circular rimmed spectacles are up for grabs at East Bristol Auctions with a £30,000 - £50,000 estimate.

Mahatma Gandhi glasses at auction with £30,000 estimate.
Image: East Bristol Auctions


East Bristol famously sold another pair of Gandhi's glasses for £260,000 in August 2020, after they had been left in the Auctioneers letterbox by the vendor, with a note saying "These glasses belonged to Gandhi, give me a call".   

The current glasses have an opening bid of £28,000 at the auction on 24th March, and are described as having sprung gold plated arms, and a solder repair to the gold plated nose bar, and are sold with their original Curry & Paxton Ltd glasses case.

The provenance states that the spectacles were gifted by Gandhi to the British MP Samuel Silverman at a meeting in Poona, India in 1946.

Silverman, who is best remembered as the Member of Parliament who introduced the Private Member's Bill to abolish hanging in 1965, then gifted to the glasses to an antique dealer friend in London.

Silverman was also the recipient of the famous 1942 Riegner telegram and a founding member of the British Organisation CND; the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmamant. 

It was their shared belief in pacifism that led to the meeting with Gandhi in Poona. The meeting between the two men is well documented, and transcripts of their conversations are held in collections at Princeton University and The Smithsonian, in Washington DC. 

A number of pairs of Gandhi's specs have appeared at auction over the years including a pair offered by William George Auctioneers in December 2021 that were engraved '1/20 10 MK Gandhi', which had an estimate of £10,000.

The most valuable pair were wrapped up in a Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia lot combining Gandhi's leather sandals, watch and a brass bowl, which sold for $1.8m in 2009 at Antiquorum in New York. 

The East Bristol sale also includes a collection of Gandhi's food bowls with an estimate of £6,000 - £8,000.

Mahatma Ghandi food bowls to sell at auction
Image: East Bristol Auctions.


Comprising two small rice bowls, a large brass rice bowl, and a bronze platter, and two traditional stoneware dishes, the provenance states the items originate from the collection of Satish Chandra Roy, the Indian Politician, with whom Gandhi stayed when in Narsingdi Gram, now Bangladesh.

About your Author:

Adrian Roose has over 30 years’ experience covering all aspects of the rare stamp & memorabilia industry during which he has sold over £50m of unique items, helping build collections for Royalty, household name celebrities and 1,000s of collectors around the world.

Adrian was previously a Director at Stanley Gibbons, a Board Member of Stampex, and Executive Director of Paul Fraser Collectibles, PFC Auctions and JustCollecting, prior to founding The Memorabilia Club.


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