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Tortoise shell eyeglass frames

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I'm hoping to get some advice as I don't know where else to turn to.

 

I have a pair of genuine tortoise shell eyeglass frames (blonde) that were purchased by my late grandfather back in the late 70s.

 

I have been desperately searching how to sell them or who would be interested in them. I google searched and noticed this forum has a few threads (some going back 10 years) on tortoise shell eyeglass frames.

 

Would anyone know who would be interested in such an item? I tried Christie's but because of export/import issues they can't take them off me.

 

Would you say tortoise shell frames are more popular in Asia? Europe? America? Maybe that will help me narrow down where I should focus. Or is it such a niche style? 

 

Thank you!

post #2 of 4
Are you absolutely certain that they're truly tortoise shell?

I only ask, as I believe the use of genuine tortoise shell was banned by CITES, back in 1973. Thus, if your grandfather purchased the frames in the late '70s, it may well be that they're made from stained horn, plastic, resin, etc., and not tortoise (really, usually hawksbill sea turtle) shell.

If you know that they're genuine because your grandfather told you so, might it be that your grandfather was simply mistaken? Or perhaps even spinning a bit of a yarn about them? I mean, has an expert whose opinion in such matters can be relied upon, confirmed for you, in writing, that they're genuine?

If they are genuine, I can tell you that the legal aspects of their sale can get quite complex, and really beyond the scope of a SF post. This is true even regarding sales within a single US state. If you're seriously considering international sale... don't even get me started.

Of course, you've neglected to give any indication as to your location.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 


​I'm in Singapore :)

 

Yes they are genuine, he bought them for about 10k Singapore Dollars around 1978- 79 from a reputable Japanese eye frames retailer (Paris Miki). I know for sure he didn't procure them illegally.

 

They haven't been appraised, I'm having difficulty even understanding how I'd go about doing this.

 

Anyways assuming they are real, since this is a style forum; is this something that is considered a desirable item? Or is it too niche?

I'm hoping to ascertain a value to them since I have no use for these frames.

post #4 of 4
Find an appraiser with experience in this area. I'm not familiar with Singapore, but you could likely find one through a major auction house (Christie's isn't the only one), or maybe an antiques operation, or perhaps a lawyer with experience in handling valuable estates could refer you to someone, or maybe even someone at a good bank could point you in the right direction.

Then you could, I suppose, either sell it through an auction house, or on your own. Letting the auction house handle it would mean they'd take a chunk of the money, but offsetting this is the likelihood that they could attract more serious buyers than you could by yourself. And if you sell it on your own, you'd likely have to pay a lawyer to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed - particularly if it's being sold internationally.

But understand, I'm just speaking off the top of my head. Since, as stated, I'm not familiar with Singapore.

Genuine tortoise shell has value, certainly. But the various legal obstacles involved in selling it may be significant, and are best discussed with a trusted lawyer, highly qualified in this specific area of the law.

Me? I'm satisfied with my $95 faux tortoise shell Warby Parkers.
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