Mahatma Gandhi's last will, blood samples, sandals up for auction

Mahatma Gandhi's last will, blood samples, sandals up for auction
London:  Mahatma Gandhi's last will and testament is expected to be the most sought after lot as part of an auction of rare items and documents being held in a small English town on Tuesday.

Described as a "highly important document", the two-page handwritten will on folio paper is priced between 30,000 pounds and 40,000 pounds and will compete with a fragment of Mahatma Gandhi's blood on a microscopic slide, priced between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds.

"While the blood sample may be sacred for some, the will is an extremely important historical document. It is hand-written in Gujarati and signed by Gandhi," Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical documents expert for Mullock's auctioneers, told PTI from the auction site at Ludlow Racecourse in Shropshire.

The slide of Mahatma Gandhi's blood dates back to 1924 when the leader of India's freedom movement was in convalescence from an appendectomy near Mumbai. He is believed to have donated the blood to the family he was staying with at the time.

"It is an important and rare artifact but we also have Gandhi's shawl and sandals, which are expected to attract a lot of attention," Westwood-Brookes added in reference to other key items that will go under the hammer today.

The hand-woven linen shawl, made from material spun by Mahatma Gandhi himself, is estimated to fetch up to 20,000 pounds.

His leather chappals, heavily worn and in fairly poor condition, are likely to attract up to 15,000 pounds, same as his wooden prayers beads.

Another important signed document includes Mahatma Gandhi's power of attorney to his son dating back to November 1920, with various stamps of the Bank of Baroda and Bank of India. It is also expected to attract some fierce bidding and could fetch as much as 40,000 pounds.

Among some of the other rare personal items up for auction include Mahatma Gandhi's personal copy of the Ramayana, a metal bowl and flask which he used as well as an iconic linen 'topi' (cap).

Mullock's has become associated with Mahatma Gandhi's memorabilia since it set a world record in February with a letter written by Mahatma Gandhi while in detention in 1943, which beat its estimate of 10,000 pounds to fetch a whopping 115,000 pounds.

In the past, the auctioneers have also sold soil samples and blades of bloody grass believed to be from the spot where the father of the nation was assassinated in 1948, for 10,000 pounds last year.

Their latest sale includes a vast range of historical documents and items associated with historical figures such as Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill and Florence Nightingale.

Story First Published: May 21, 2013 17:09 IST

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