A remarkable archive of letters from Mahatma Gandhi is to lead Heritage Auctions' April 3 Historical Manuscripts Signature Auction in New York.
The archive contains 24 handwritten letters in Gujarati from 1928-1933, most written by Gandhi himself with some dictated. It is estimated to sell for more than $100,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles is offering Gandhi's personal food bowl, fork and spoons - a remarkable collection from Gandhi's incarceration at Aga Khan Palace jail in Pune with exceptional provenance.
Many of the letters are written to Gandhi's female correspondents, whose favour he had won for championing women's rights in India.
They date to his time in Yerwada Central Jail, where he was interned as part of his protest against British rule.
While in Yerwada, Gandhi embarked on a fast in protest of the rights of Dalits - the lowest class of the Indian caste system. One of the letters sees him discussing his newspaper for the Dalits, Harijan Weekly, which discussed social and economic issues and was published from his jail.
The newspaper, printed in three languages, continued to run until Gandhi's death in 1948.
Also of note is a letter in which Gandhi discusses spinning yarn to produce hand-woven cloth, called khadi, which he began as a movement to illustrate the independence of Indians from British rule. He produced the cloth daily and even stressed he would not preside over the Indian National Congress until all congressmen wore home-spun cloth.
In November, the spinning wheel or charka that Gandhi used to produce the cloth sold for $175,500.
The estimate given to the archive, as well as past auction prices, show the importance and rarity of Gandhi memorabilia on the collectibles market. Values have been rising fast, as India's growing economy leaves its collectors with more wealth to spend on repatriating the nation's greatest cultural treasures.
Such is the importance of Gandhi to India, the government paid $1m in a private deal to return a similar archive to India's historians in 2012.
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