Glasses Worn By Gandhi In 1947 Expected To Reel In $12,000 At Auction

A pair of glasses worn by Mahatma Gandhi are expected to sell for more than $12,000 at auction. Gandhi — whose non-violent opposition to British colonial rule paved the way for Indian independence — wore the spectacles during a visit to the Indian city of Kolkata in 1947.


The glasses are estimated to reel in anywhere between $6,000-$12,000 when they go up at auction later this month at Auctioneum Ltd.

“Spectacles formed an important and iconic part of Gandhi’s overall appearance,” Auctioneum writes in the description lot. “It was well known that he would often give away his old or unwanted pairs to those in need or those who had helped him, or cared for him in some way. An abundance of spectacles were always on hand for him – opticians would readily make Gandhi spectacles whenever required, very often without charge. A rare and historically important lot.

The small Windsor-style glasses feature gold-plated rims and mock tortoiseshell-covered arms and come with their original case from the Calcutta Optical Company.

“Not only have these spectacles been used by Gandhi himself, but they were likely worn during the events around India’s Independence,” says Andrew Stowe, auctioneer at Auctioneum. “They are probably some of the most important spectacles in world history.”

Gandhi visited Kolkata in 1947 days before India gained independence from British rule.

With the aim of bringing peace to the fractious community, he took part in a three-day fast and later held the last prayer meeting in British-ruled India.

During his time in the city, he met with other freedom-fighters, one of whom, called Satish Chandra Roy, came into possession of Gandhi’s glasses.

Now, a relative of Satish’s is putting them up for sale.

“Gandhi wore a range of spectacles in his lifetime. Photographs from his time in Kolkata show him wearing this style of dark-rimmed spectacles,” explains Stowe. “The fact that the original case with the all-important maker’s address stamped upon it, still survives, makes these very special indeed. We can only assume that Gandhi arrived in Kolkata, required some additional spectacles and so visited the local opticians, who swiftly made him this pair.”

The auction house has previously sold another pair of Gandhi’s gold-rimmed spectacles as well as a hand-made loin cloth and a pair of his sandals.

The spectacles, along with other items relating to Gandhi, go up for auction on Friday, June 21 at Auctioneum Ltd in England.

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SWNS reporter George Mathias contributed to this report.

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