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Sunglasses

First known to be used by the Chinese in the 13th century to protect eyes from the sun, sunglasses have long been associated with an air of coolness. Now a staple of modern style, sunglasses are often in demand at auction.

In the early 1930s, the U.S. Army Air Corps commissioned Bausch & Lomb to create an antiglare lens for pilots. The result was a lens that filtered out 95 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays. By the late 1930s, ads for Bausch & Lomb’s new sunglasses touted “real scientific glare protection” for golfers and fishermen, and during World War II, Ray-Ban aviators became standard issue for pilots and the preferred eyewear of American military men.

With an aviation appeal, designer sunglasses have had an aura of adventure and jet-set mystique. Sunglasses at auction are popular among bidders ranging from everyday people seeking practical sun protection to Hollywood types attempting to dim the glare of the spotlight.


Quick Facts

  • Many historians attribute the discovery of sunglasses to Alessandro della Spina, a Dominican monk. He created reading glasses at the end of the 13th century in northern Italy
  • A pair vintage sunglasses in the style of crossed tennis racquets sold in a lot with two other pairs of shades for £360 at a 2007 London Christie's auction. The sunglasses were made by Oliver Goldsmith, the designer who created the white frames worn by Audrey Hepburn in "How to Steal a Million”
  • In 2013 at Julien's, a pair of German made, gold toned Neostyle shades owned by Elvis Presley sold for a remarkable $28,125, easily topping their $8,000 to $10,000 estimate. The sunglasses were accidentally left behind at a 1973 recording session

Recommended Items at Auction

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CARTIER Giverny Sunglasses, Bubinga Wood Line
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
CARTIER Giverny Sunglasses, Bubinga Wood Line
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $100- $300
$1506 Bids
CARTIER Sunglasses & Case
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
CARTIER Sunglasses & Case
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $100- $300
$1506 Bids
CARTIER Sunglasses & Case, France
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
CARTIER Sunglasses & Case, France
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $100- $300
$505 Bids
Maui Jim Sport Sunglasses w/ Case
Oct 01, 10:00 AM MST
Maui Jim Sport Sunglasses w/ Case
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$254 Bids
CARTIER Sunglasses, Paris
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
CARTIER Sunglasses, Paris
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $200- $500
$304 Bids
(2) Pairs Prada Designer Reading Glasses
Oct 01, 10:00 AM MST
(2) Pairs Prada Designer Reading Glasses
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$254 Bids
MUSTANG EYEWEAR Gold tone brown rectangular sunglasses MACH 0404-03 59-130
Sep 27, 7:00 PM EDT
MUSTANG EYEWEAR Gold tone brown rectangular sunglasses MACH 0404-03 59-130
by Omni Auction Corp
Est: $30- $45
$253 Bids
Emilio Pucci Pink Women's Sunglasses
Sep 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Emilio Pucci Pink Women's Sunglasses
by C Biddle Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$302 Bids
(2) Pair Prada Designer Reading Glasses
Oct 01, 10:00 AM MST
(2) Pair Prada Designer Reading Glasses
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
Ladies Coach Sunglasses& Case
Oct 01, 9:00 AM PDT
Ladies Coach Sunglasses& Case
by California Auction Company LLC
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Cartier Santos Dumont Aviator sunglasses.
Oct 11, 10:00 AM CEST
Cartier Santos Dumont Aviator sunglasses.
by Veilinghuis de Ruiter
Est: €450- €750
€4400 Bids
4 GLASSES
Sep 28, 7:00 PM CEST
4 GLASSES
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €30- €60
€300 Bids
Set of Two Holders
Sep 25, 1:00 PM EDT
Set of Two Holders
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $25- $250
$250 Bids
BLUE BAY: Vintage silver tone oval frames sunglasses V81 49-22-140 FUMO 75
Sep 27, 7:00 PM EDT
BLUE BAY: Vintage silver tone oval frames sunglasses V81 49-22-140 FUMO 75
by Omni Auction Corp
Est: $60- $90
$300 Bids
Vintage French Designer Jean Patou Sunglasses
Nov 05, 2:00 PM EDT
Vintage French Designer Jean Patou Sunglasses
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
MCM 606SA 001 round shiny black frames gold tone details and dark grey lens Sunglasses
Sep 27, 7:00 PM EDT
MCM 606SA 001 round shiny black frames gold tone details and dark grey lens Sunglasses
by Omni Auction Corp
Est: $140- $210
$700 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Sunglasses


William Bunch Auctions & Appraisals

William Bunch Auctions & Appraisals

Omni Auction Corp

Omni Auction Corp

The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.

The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.