Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Gandhi letters, Constitution copy sell big at Sothebys


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New Delhi: An anonymous bidder bought the letter written by Mahatma Gandhi in 1922 to Rabindranath Tagore’s eldest brother Dwijendranath at seven times its pre-sale estimate along with another while a rare copy of the Indian Constitution sold for nearly eight times its offered price to a private collector at a Sotheby’s sale in London.

“The buyer of the Constitution copy is a private collector while an anonymous buyer bought the two letters related to Gandhi. Therefore, two separate buyers,” a Sotheby’s official told PTI.

The letter written by Gandhi from Sabarmati jail to Dwijendranath fetched 49,250 pounds at the Sotheby’s sale of English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations on Wednesday. It had an estimate of 5,000-7,000 pounds.

After being lodged in the jail in Ahmedabad, Gandhi wrote the autographed letter rejoicing that his incarceration has come at a time when he felt fully prepared and expressing joy that “India’s wonderful calm at this moment is significant of her strength”. He asked Dwijendranath to send messages of support to Young India journal in the two-page letter, written in pencil. The limited first edition of the Constitution on stiff Whatman paper and with an estimate 4,000-5,000 pounds sold for 39,650 pounds (hammer price with buyer’s premium). The copy is signed by President Rajendra Prasad in English and Devnagari on the authentication page and also by Jawaharlal Nehru and dated 1950 on the front free end papers. Another letter in which Gandhi sends condolences to an unknown friend in 1922 on hearing from Charlie (Andrews) of the death of his or her mother, but asking “should not birth and death be the same though” sold for 5,625 pounds. It had an estimate of 3,000-4,000 pounds. Last month, Gandhian author Giriraj Kishore approached UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to stop the auction of the two letters. (PTI)


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