Gandhi signed letter auction makes stunning $178,500 in UK

An important typewritten signed Gandhi letter, written during his detention in India by the British government, has sold today (February 14) for £115,000 ($178,431) at a UK auction.

In doing so it beat its £15,000 ($23,600) high estimate by 666.6%, a testament to its fascinating contents and strong provenance; it was consigned by one of Gandhi's fellow freedom fighters in India.

Gandhi signed letter
The letter's value was boosted by its strong provenance

Written in 1943 to the additional secretary of the Indian government, the letter details Gandhi's ongoing belief in seeking independence for India via peaceful means, as well as his hopes for release.

Richard Westwood-Brookes, the auctioneer's historical documents expert, explained prior to the sale that the letter "signifies Gandhi's desire to achieve a diplomatic strategical struggle for independence and eventual successful establishment of the state of India."

In addition to the signature, the letter contains two of Gandhi's handwritten annotations - further adding to its value.

Had the letter been wholly handwritten, however, it would have achieved significantly higher than its final sum, such is the added attraction to collectors of handwritten documents.

A handwritten signed letter from Gandhi, written from prison in 1922 in the days preceding his famous trail, made £49,250 ($79,489) at Sotheby's in December, beating its £7,000 high valuation by 603.5%.

The market for Gandhi memorabilia is hot, especially among Indian collectors, many of who are determined to repatriate his heritage. Blood-soaked soil from the site of Gandhi's 1948 assassination site achieved £10,000 ($15,750) in April.

Today's auction also featured the sale of a 1939 "Jubilee edition" of Mein Kampf, signed by Hitler just months before his death in 1945. It sold for £42,000, beating its £5,000 ($65,078) high estimate by 740%.

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