An ex-Beatles chauffeur, Alan Herring, has recently sold a broken pair of John Lennon's sunglasses for $278,720 NZD at an auction.
One day in the summer of 1968, Herring had picked up Lennon's sunnies from the back of Ringo Starr's car, which he used to drive the members around. One lens had fallen out of the frame, and one leg was disconnected.
"I had picked John up with Ringo and George [Harrison] in Ringo's Mercedes, and driven the boys into the office," Herring wrote in a letter of proof. "When John got out of his car, I noticed that he'd left these sunglasses on the back seat and one lens and one arm had become disconnected."
[Lennon] told me not to worry … they were just for the look.
"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."
In the letter, Herring explained that he first started working with the band as a landscape contractor on Harrison's estate in 1967. He then expanded his role to being a chauffeur, handyman, and personal assistant. When Harrison left for India, Starr hired Herring.
"From March 1968 until the end of November 1969, I was employed as Ringo's chauffeur and then promoted to the role of Ringo's personal assistant," he recalled. "Whilst working for George and Ringo, I attended most of the Beatles' recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios for The Beatles White Album, Abbey Road and Let It Be. ... It was a very exciting time to be around."
Sotheby's describes the glasses as a 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 the loose temple, and lens, minor scratching to lenses."
In 1966, Lennon was given a pair of round glasses to prep his acting role in Richard Lester's film, How I Won the War. Lennon quickly adopted the iconic look for the years to come.