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Glasses Owned by John Lennon, Joan Didion Fetch Tidy Sums at Auction

The winning bids for the pairs of iconic celebrity eyewear far exceeded expectations at recent New York events.

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Glasses Owned by John Lennon, Joan Didion Fetch Tidy Sums at Auction
A pair of John Lennon-owned eyeglasses were up for bid during Julien’s Auctions’ “Icons and Idols: Rock N Roll” sale Nov. 11-13, 2022. (Courtesy Julien’s Auctions)

Some people spare no expense when it comes to owning a piece of rock n roll lore or pop culture history.

Take, for instance, Julien’s Auctions’ recent “Icons and Idols: Rock N Roll” sale. The event took place Nov. 11-13 online and live at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City’s Times Square.

We reported before the auction that a pair of John Lennon eyeglasses were up for bid. The frames originally were expected to go for $60,000. Our article mentioned that number had increased to $80,000.

Those expectations were way off. Like, Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber way off.

The specs went for an astounding $162,500! (Kudos to one of our co-workers for suggesting they wouldn’t have paid more than $162K for ‘em. Well played.)

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Lennon’s wire-rimmed glasses on bid were photo matched to the specs he donned for the cover of the 1988 biography The Lives of John Lennon by Albert Goldman. Apparently, that was enough documentation to warrant a bidding war.

However, it wasn’t the only item to outperform expectations.

A guitar once owned by Kurt Cobain was estimated to go $200,000. The final bid came in at double that amount: $486,400.

Mind you, this guitar was smashed during a Nirvana performance in 1989. It can’t be played. But it does have an inscription on it written by Cobain himself. And it did come from a time before the band broke out with 1991’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, the opening track on the bands’ seminal alt-rock album Nevermind.

Other six-figure items included:

  • Elvis Presley 18k gold diamond wristwatch ($256K)
  • Prince electric guitar ($192K)
  • Tupac Shakur signed and handprinted photo ($128K)
  • Bob Dylan piano ($217K)
  • Bob Dylan abstract nude painting ($100K)
  • Steve Jobs Birkenstocks ($218K)

You can check out the complete results of the auction here.

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Glasses Owned by John Lennon, Joan Didion Fetch Tidy Sums at Auction

Author Joan Didion’s sunglasses went to auction Nov. 16, 2022.

Joan Didion Auction

Another pair of pair of iconic specs went to the highest bidder recently in a different auction.

The estate sale for the late Joan Didion featured the writer’s personal effects, including art, furniture and eyewear.

Stair Galleries in New York held the live auction on Nov. 16 titled “An American Icon: Property From the Collection of Joan Didion.”

Among the items up for bid was a pair of sunglasses made by Celine. Large frames were a staple of Didion’s look. She even was featured in an ad campaign by the luxury French brand.

The pair in the auction sold for $27,000. Many of the items in this auction also went to winning bids that far exceeded expectations.

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Didion is known for titles such as The Year of Magical Thinking and Play it as it Lays. She died in December 2021 at age 87.

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