A pinch of soil and blood-stained blades of grass from the place where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 was sold on Tuesday for £10,000 at an auction here.
The auction also saw many other Gandhi memorabilia going under the hammer including his iconic round-rimmed glasses that fetched far more than the estimated price.
In all, the Gandhiji-related items fetched over £100,000 pounds in the auction by the Shropshire-based auctioneer, Mullock’s.
The memorabilia included a pair of Gandhiji’s round-rimmed glasses, charkha, a 10 inch 78 rpm Columbia disc of Gandhiji giving his spiritual message signed by him, and original photographs of Gandhiji visiting London in 1931.
Also in the collection sold were letters in English by Gandhiji to Raghavan, Sgt. N.E.R. Poduwal in Rangoon, letters by Gandhiji in Gujarati and a prayer book in Gujarati.
The pair of Gandhiji’s glasses had a guide price of £10,000 but sold for £34,000.
Kevin Bland, financial controller at Mullock’s, said the unnamed telephone bidder who bought the spectacles also spent £26,500 on a wooden charkha. The same bidder bought his prayer book for £10,500 pounds.
“We are not surprised that the collection sold. We were confident because there was a lot of interest in the items, but it is always a pleasure, on behalf of the vendor, to exceed the guide prices,” Mr. Bland said.
He said that after adding fees and VAT, the collection went for a total of £1,28,000.
The soil and blades of grass were reported to have been collected by one P.P. Nambiar.
The description of the item says: “The casket comes with a letter of provenance by P.P. Nambiar dated September 24th 1996, saying that the recipient: ...has today received the most sacred of all relics a fraction of the pinch of soil I collected on 30 January 1948 from the spot where the Father of our nation M.K. Gandhi fell to the bullets of his assassin...”
Gandhiji’s glasses were bought in London around 1890 when he studied Law. The item is described as “corroded with age”, and comes with the original felt bearing the name of H Cannam Optician 23 St Aldate Street Gloucester.