A pair of spectacles with arched nose piece, reverse painted glass blue eyes and frames highlighted by twenty-seven working electric bulbs, the present lot would have hung outside an optician's shop, perpendicular to the sidewalk and visible to passerbys from either direction. One of only a handful of electrified examples of this form known to exist, this lot is part of a long American tradition of trade signs in the form of oversized replicas of an actual object symbolizing goods or services offered by a proprietor.
For other examples of optician's trade signs, see Cecil A. Meadows, Trade Signs and Their Origins (London, 1957) and David Park Curry et al, An American Sampler: Folk Art from the Shelburne Museum (Washington, 1987), pp. 62-63, cat. no. 9.