Gandhi memorabilia fetches over Rs 23 lakh

New Delhi: Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia, including signed notes, letters and a khadi cloth, fetched over Rs 23 lakh at an auction in the US.

The Bonhams sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts on February 13 in California also saw an autograph letter and a photograph of Rabindranath Tagore fetching USD 5,856.

Bonhams said the 10 lots of Gandhi items realised USD 50,752.

Sources in the London-based auction house told reporters that buyers were from India, the US, Canada, South America and Europe.

Auction houses do not reveal the identity of the buyers.

An autograph letter by Gandhi (dated October 3, 1933) to an unnamed correspondent, in which he discusses his thoughts on Catholic faith and world religions in general, went under the hammer for USD 15,860, more than double of its pre-sale estimate.

"I have some very good friends among Roman Catholics and I have read some literature about the Roman Catholic belief... On the whole, however, I have been confirmed in my belief that one can grow fully in one`s own inherited faith. I have in mind only the principal religions of the world," he wrote.

Gandhi`s blood report, signed by director B L Taneja of Irwin Hospital`s pathology department, New Delhi, sold for USD 10,370, much more than the estimate of USD 5,000-7,000.

A white cotton khadi cloth, with a period note indicating it was hand woven in Gandhi`s ashram went under the hammer for USD 4,270.

"It is the product advocated by him under his program of `cottage industries`, and has come to replace the material made by Manchester, England, and other manufacturers of the continent altogether under the nationalist movement," the note said.

A collection of nearly 60 photographs and gelatin silver prints sold for USD 4,880. The images depicted Gandhi with Congress leaders in London, on a bicycle and with other world leaders such as the Mountbattens and Lord Pethick-Lawrence.

Five autograph notes fetched USD 9,516 while a signed photograph of Gandhi seated outdoors with followers in Ahmedabad on September 13, 1931 sold for USD 5,856.

The auction house said the lots were acquired over several decades by a Los Angeles collector interested in the history of non-violent movements.


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