More than a decade ago, a pair of sunglasses worn by actor Steve McQueen sold at auction for more than $70,000. If you are among the millions who lost out on that auction, we have some good news: various pairs of McQueen sunglasses go on sale from time to time. In early March, GWS auctions was selling a pair of Persol 714s made famous by the iconic actor in his 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair.
Bidding on the Persols started at a mere $500. At the time of this writing, which was just a few days after the auction began, the sunglasses and already received 21 bids that had driven the price up to over $5000. Could they approach the $70,000 mark? Nobody knows, but time will tell.
A bigger question is this: what’s the appeal? If you are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a pair of Steve McQueen sunglasses because you’re a big fan of the actor, that’s one thing. But there doesn’t seem to be much appeal beyond that. Then again, collectors are unique in their own right. What one collector finds extremely valuable might be considered trash to another collector.
All we can say is that sunglasses owned by Steve McQueen never go cheaply. That may be because the actor owes quite a bit of his professional image to good-looking shades. Without the Persol 714s he wore in The Thomas Crown Affair, would the image of his character still be burned in the minds of so many filmgoers? Probably not.
Other Celebrity Sunglasses of Interest
Steve McQueen is not the only celebrity whose image has been solidified by a killer pair shades. In fact, we know of quite a few other celebs who shades would probably fetch a pretty penny at auction. Below are a few suggestions compliments of Utah-based Olympic Eyewear, a designer and distributor of wholesale fashion sunglasses:
The Shades from Risky Business
Tom Cruise was a relatively young actor when he made a name for himself in Risky Business. We all remember images of those incredible looking wayfarers that made him appear way ahead of his time. And even though Cruise donned a pretty impressive pair of aviators in Top Gun, they pale in comparison to his Risky Business shades.
The Terminator’s Mirrors
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is still most remembered for his breakout role in The Terminator. In that role, he did for mirrored aviators what Cruise did for wayfarers. Millions of Schwarzenegger fans rushed out to buy their own aviators right after seeing the film.
Peter Fonda’s Easy Riders
Peter Fonda, the son of legendary actor Henry Fonda, got his big break in the 1968 film Easy Rider. In that film, Fonda’s character wore a pair of tinted teardrops that are still part of his image today. Any pair of teardrops worn by this actor would probably fetch a decent price at auction. If you could get the original pair from Easy Rider, you would have an expensive collector’s item.
Corey Hart’s Evening Eyewear
Singer Corey Hart may not have reached the iconic level of celebrity enjoyed by the Beatles and Rolling Stones, but he has still sold more than 16 million records worldwide. His breakout hit was ‘Sunglasses at Night’, released in 1984.
The video behind that song created a virtual cult following that had people wearing sunglasses to nightclubs, bars, and even just walking down the street after the sun went down. It would be something to get your hands on the original pair worn by Hart in his video.