University Archives

Lot 262

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Andy Warhol's Personally Owned Wire Rim's, by T.T. Johnson. W. Superb Provenance

Pair of vintage gold toned wire rim eye glasses and their original case, by T.T. Johnson Optical Works, Salisbury. The case is lined with deep blue velvet and is 4.75" in length. The top has a gilt stamp " T.T. Johnson/ Optical Works/Salisbury". The glasses are in near fine condition. Accompanied by a letter of provenance which came with the 3 pieces we received, all of which were previously owned by Warhol and then gifted to Baird Jones, an associate and friend of Andy's. A friendship that began in the 1970s and continued until Warhol's death in 1987. The set of 3 pieces were later purchased directly from Baird Jones by Stephen Waldman on December 2, 2006, and then hence to our consignor. The original letter signed by Baird Jones identifying the chain of custody and ownership will accompany this item along with the original signed letter from Stephen Waldman who purchased the pieces directly from Jones. The originals of both will accompany the "Big Shot" Polaroid camera also offered in this auction.

The world famous artist made highly praised works of art, hung out with celebrities in his Factory studio and wore classic style glasses before streets became filled with them. Andy had a very peculiar personal style. He had a flock of white hair and was usually seen wearing a lot of black, leather jackets and glasses or sunglasses. Warhol's wardrobe was a fairly low-key affair; he often stuck to preppy accented with an occasional burst of eccentricity.  "Fashion wasn't what you wore someplace," Warhol once said. "It was the whole reason for going."

Warhol was heavily identified with his glasses, from the harsh black angular shapes he wore in the 60s to the clear Perspex rectangular ones of the 70s. But Warhol was also a serious collector. By the time of his death he amassed many objects which he accomplished by bidding and collecting throughout his life, spanning all different styles, from various cultures and periods of history. But his love of fashion was always at the forefront. These glasses represent his intrigue of style, fashion and history and are accompanied by impeccable provenance. Shown below is a transcript of the letter of authenticity signed by Baird Jones, followed by the transcript of the letter from Stephen Waldman.

"My name is Baird Jones. I've been collecting art and various items owned by famous people since the mid 1970's. Many of the items in my personal collection has been given to me personally. Andy Warhol is one example. Andy was a dear friend of mine; we attended many parties in New York together from the 70's to his death in 1987. During that time, we also began working together. Besides artwork, the only items I have left that belonged to Andy, which he gave me personally, are the "Big Shot" Polaroid camera, the antique glasses and the tie."

"I, Stephen Waldman, confirm that I purchased three Andy Warhol owned items from Baird Jones in 2006
-Big Shot Polaroid Camera
-T.T. Johnson glasses
-Rubinacci tie"

Baird Jones Biography in his years with Warhol (1953-2006):

Warhol met Jones in the 1970's NYC party circuit, where Jones was a renowned nightlife promoter. Warhol wrote in his diaries of Jones, noting the lavish parties he threw for "all the rich preppies" at Studio 54 and Jones' privileged position as the son of People Magazine founder, Cranston Jones. Warhol and Jones began working together promoting events and gallery shows during the 1980s in the up-and-coming East Village arts scene.

A superb piece of Warhol memorabilia with fantastic provenance.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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June 24, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Wilton, CT, US

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000