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Gandhi Artifacts Could Fetch Steep Prices At Auction

A picture of Gandhi taken on  July 24, 1931 in New Delhi.
AFP/Getty Images
A picture of Gandhi taken on July 24, 1931 in New Delhi.

Artifacts that once belonged to Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Indian independence leader who took a vow of poverty, could fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.

A pair of sandals, a shawl, a drinking cup, Gandhi's will and various other documents associated with the leader are all up for auction. Guide prices range from £200 for "a rare British Parliament paper declaring Gandhi a terrorist" dating from 1932, to £40,000 for his will. A sample of Gandhi's blood is also on the auction block at Britain's Ludlow Racecourse in Shropshire.

This is not the first time that objects belonging to Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1948 less than a year after India gained independence from British rule, have gone up for auction. It's at least the sixth such auction since 1998, according to the BBC.

The BBC says:

"At numerous Gandhi auctions around the world over the past decade, the Indian government has insisted it should have the right of first refusal because the artifacts are a national treasure."

At a 2009 auction, Gandhi items, including a watch, spectacles and sandals, went for $1.8 million to industrialist Vijay Mallya.

Last year, another pair of Gandhi's glasses, a spinning wheel used by the leader, and blades of grass from the scene of his 1948 assassination were sold.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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