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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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Prada Yellow Oversized Sunglasses & Case, Italy
Apr 17, 10:00 AM EDT
Prada Yellow Oversized Sunglasses & Case, Italy
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $200
$408 Bids
A Collection of Sunglasses, Some with Boxes
Apr 23, 2:00 PM AEST
A Collection of Sunglasses, Some with Boxes
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD607 Bids
Louis Vuitton Ladies Sunglasses Unauthenticated
Apr 20, 7:00 AM PDT
Louis Vuitton Ladies Sunglasses Unauthenticated
by California Auction Company LLC
Est: $0- $0
$457 Bids
Celine Tortoise Marbled Sunglasses & Case, Italy
Apr 17, 10:00 AM EDT
Celine Tortoise Marbled Sunglasses & Case, Italy
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $200
$405 Bids
Black & White Gucci Sunglasses Made in Japan
Apr 20, 7:00 AM PDT
Black & White Gucci Sunglasses Made in Japan
by California Auction Company LLC
Est: $0- $0
$302 Bids
Chanel Sunglasses Made in Italy
Apr 20, 7:00 AM PDT
Chanel Sunglasses Made in Italy
by California Auction Company LLC
Est: $0- $0
$302 Bids
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Dior Two pairs of Sunglasses, Cat's Eye
Apr 18, 2:00 PM AEST
Dior Two pairs of Sunglasses, Cat's Eye
by Shapiro Auctioneers
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD602 Bids
Marni, Italy: Deep Green Cat-Eye Sunglasses, Dark Green Graduated Lenses, Model no. MA 298 01
Apr 18, 11:00 AM AEST
Marni, Italy: Deep Green Cat-Eye Sunglasses, Dark Green Graduated Lenses, Model no. MA 298 01
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD200- AUD400
AUD801 Bid
Courreges, Paris: Blue/Green & Multi-Colour Stripe Resin Framed Sunglasses, Dark Grey Lenses, Black Arms, Model No. 8646A 6
Apr 18, 11:00 AM AEST
Courreges, Paris: Blue/Green & Multi-Colour Stripe Resin Framed Sunglasses, Dark Grey Lenses, Black Arms, Model No. 8646A 6
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD200- AUD400
AUD1001 Bid
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Cartier Scala Rimless Sunglasses with Case
Apr 30, 2:00 PM EDT
Cartier Scala Rimless Sunglasses with Case
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $800- $2,000
$801 Bid
CARTIER FRANCE SUNGLASSES
Apr 17, 7:00 PM CEST
CARTIER FRANCE SUNGLASSES
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €100- €200
€1001 Bid
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EXOTIC WOOD BLUE-LENS SUNGLASSES
Apr 24, 10:00 AM EDT
EXOTIC WOOD BLUE-LENS SUNGLASSES
by Gallery 63
Est: $400- $600
$1001 Bid
Calvin Klein, USA: Pewtertone Metal Framed Sunglasses, Black Resin Shades, Model No. 1014 31
Apr 18, 11:00 AM AEST
Calvin Klein, USA: Pewtertone Metal Framed Sunglasses, Black Resin Shades, Model No. 1014 31
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD501 Bid
Tory Burch, NYC: Luxottia, Milan: Dark Brown Ocelot Resin Framed Sunglasses, Model No. 50 21-145043
Apr 18, 11:00 AM AEST
Tory Burch, NYC: Luxottia, Milan: Dark Brown Ocelot Resin Framed Sunglasses, Model No. 50 21-145043
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD200- AUD400
AUD1001 Bid
Chanel Sunglasses Made in Italy
Apr 20, 7:00 AM PDT
Chanel Sunglasses Made in Italy
by California Auction Company LLC
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Gucci Sunglasses Made in Japan
Apr 20, 7:00 AM PDT
Gucci Sunglasses Made in Japan
by California Auction Company LLC
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
PRADA LINEA ROSSA MENS AVIATOR SUNGLASSES IOB
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
PRADA LINEA ROSSA MENS AVIATOR SUNGLASSES IOB
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
Cutler and Gross of London: Vintage Brown Solbriller Dame Sunglasses, Brown Lenses, model 0246, 1980s
Apr 18, 11:00 AM AEST
Cutler and Gross of London: Vintage Brown Solbriller Dame Sunglasses, Brown Lenses, model 0246, 1980s
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD200- AUD400
AUD801 Bid
Dior DiorSoReal White and Silver Metal Sunglasses W/Case
Apr 20, 7:00 AM PDT
Dior DiorSoReal White and Silver Metal Sunglasses W/Case
by GWS Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Stylish 1970's Brevet Polarised Sunglasses with original Leather Satchel
Apr 21, 12:00 PM AEST
Stylish 1970's Brevet Polarised Sunglasses with original Leather Satchel
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD300- AUD400
AUD2500 Bids
Sonnenbrille von Cartier
May 04, 10:30 AM CEST
Sonnenbrille von Cartier
by Kunstauktionshaus Schloss Ahlden
Est: €140- €280
€1400 Bids
NEW! EMMANUEL KATSAROS DESIGNER SUNGLASSES | PALME
Apr 29, 5:00 PM EDT
NEW! EMMANUEL KATSAROS DESIGNER SUNGLASSES | PALME
by DejaVu Estate Sales & Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
Tom Ford Sunglasses
Apr 20, 11:00 AM PST
Tom Ford Sunglasses
by Leon Gallery
Est: ₱5,000- ₱6,500
₱5,0000 Bids
Christian Dior "DiorClan2" Sunglasses
May 14, 11:00 AM EDT
Christian Dior "DiorClan2" Sunglasses
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Sunglasses


Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers

Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers

GWS Auctions

GWS Auctions

Gallery 63

Gallery 63

California Auction Company LLC

California Auction Company LLC