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Unusual antique eyeglasses rescued from landfill sell for $5,000

An unusual pair of eyeglasses dating from around 1760 were rescued from a New Zealand landfill and auctioned online for more than $5,000. Photo by the Tip Shop/TradeMe.co.nz
An unusual pair of eyeglasses dating from around 1760 were rescued from a New Zealand landfill and auctioned online for more than $5,000. Photo by the Tip Shop/TradeMe.co.nz

June 15 (UPI) -- An unusual pair of eyeglasses believed to be nearly 300 years old were rescued from a New Zealand landfill and auctioned online for more than $5,000.

The Tip Shop, a store operated by the Wellington City Council for items that would have otherwise ended up in the Southern Landfill, said the glasses, a style known as Martin's Margins, were rescued from the trash and listed by the store on auction site Trade Me.

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A last-minute bidding war brought the final price to $5,282 just before the auction ended Sunday night.

Martin's Margins were designed by optician Benjamin Martin in 1756. The unusual thick-framed look of the glasses results from Martin's belief that exposure to sunlight would cause damage to eyeglass lenses.

The Tip Shop said no maker's mark could be identified on the frames, so it was unclear whether the glasses sold in Sunday's auction were made by Martin himself.

The winning bidder, Aaron Smylie, said he bought the glasses as a tribute to his partner, Helen Hammond, who died May 28 after a fight with cancer.

Smylie said he and Hammond would often use FaceTime to video chat, and the glasses reminded him of a screenshot he kept showing Hammond using a filter that gave her round glasses and whiskers.

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"I like quirky stuff anyway, and that appealed to me, but it was more the emotional side. I guess I just got carried away with the auction," Smylie told Stuff.co.nz.

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