John Lennon’s glasses sold at auction for over $150,000


(CBS) — A pair of John Lennon’s sunglasses has sold at auction for £137,500 ($152,900).

The former Beatle left his shades on the back seat of a car driven by former chauffeur Alan Herring, who then sold them at auction at Sotheby’s London.

Herring’s letter of provenance said he was given them by the Beatles star, after driving him and fellow Beatles, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, in Starr’s Mercedes to the Beatles’ office in the summer of 1968.

“When John got out of the car I noticed that he’d left these sunglasses on the back seat and one lens and one arm had become disconnected,” said Herring’s letter.

“I asked John if he’d like me to get them fixed for him. He told me not to worry they were just for the look! He said he’d send out for some that fit.”

“I never did get them mended I just kept them as they were as John had left them”, wrote Herring.

Herring, who started out as Harrison’s landscape contractor, went to work for Starr instead, after the office said Harrison “might not return from India for some time”, according to the letter.

Beatles Harrison and Lennon went on a course of mountain-top meditation with Indian mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in February 1968.

Lennon was known for wearing round-framed glasses. According to Sotheby’s website: “In 1966, John Lennon was given a pair of round glasses to prepare for his role in Richard Lester’s film ‘How I Won the War’. Quickly they became synonymous with his image and later his name.”

The current auctioned pair was “gold tone wire-framed sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith, round green tinted lenses, with “Oliver Goldsmith” engraved on each inner temple, non-prescription, lacking screw on one side resulting in loose temple, and lens, minor scratching to lenses”, according to Sotheby’s.

This is not the first time a pair of Lennon glasses has come up for auction, with spectacles selling in 2014, 2007 and 1996.

Lennon was gunned down by a crazed fan outside his New York apartment on December 8, 1980. The assassin, Mark Chapman, said 10 years later that by killing the ex-Beatle he had murdered an age of innocence.

Lennon, along with Paul McCartney, is considered one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the 20th century. He was voted the greatest rock ‘n’ roll icon of all time in a poll conducted by Q music magazine in 2004.

Born in Liverpool, England, on October 9, 1940, Lennon formed his first band, The Quarrymen, in 1957, which went on to become The Beatles the next year with the addition of McCartney and George Harrison. The Beatles, which disbanded in 1970, were estimated to have sold more than a billion records worldwide in 2010.

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