A "rare and important" pair of iconic glasses worn by Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi look set to sell for tens of thousands of pounds after a British auction house put them up for

sale on Monday (Aug 10).

The gold-plated spectacles were stuffed through the letterbox of East Bristol Auctions in southwest England last Friday, with a letter attached saying, "these glasses belonged to Gandhi, give me a call," auctioneer Andrew Stowe told Sky News.

"The spectacles formed an important and somewhat iconic part of Gandhi's overall appearance,...a rare and important pair of spectacles," the auction house's website said of the lot.

"It can be presumed that these were gifted by way of thanks from Gandhi for some good deed," it added.

Gandhi was known for giving out old or unwanted pairs to those in need or those who had helped him.

The talismanic non-violent protester gave the glasses to the vendor's uncle while he was working for British Petroleum in South Africa during the 1920s or 30s, said the auction house.

An auctioneer found them last Monday when he reopened for business after the weekend.
"A few hours later, we were digging around and doing some research and we discovered that they are a very important historical find," Stowe told Sky News.

"I phoned the gentleman back ... his exact words were 'if they're no good, just throw them away'," he added.

"I told him I thought they were worth £15,000 (US$19,500, 17,000 euros), and I think he nearly fell off his chair."

The item is due to go under the hammer on August 21, but has smashed expectations with online bidding already up to £50,000.AFP