Gandhi’s autograph: India on the rise

On August 15, 1947, India became independent.

All across the new nation, people celebrated the end of British colonial rule.

The people chanted one name.

But Mahatma Gandhi was not among them.

He was fasting – a protest against the violence that had broken out between Hindus and Muslims following partition. 

It’s that quiet determination and sense of duty that makes him such an inspiration - not just in India but around the world.  

Demand for Gandhi’s autograph has exploded over the past two years.

Here’s why.

India’s economy is bigger than ever

In 2014, India became the world’s fastest growing economy.

It has topped the tables every year since (bar 2017).

Gandhi autograph

Gandhi struggled against the British Raj for decades (Image: Wikimedia Commons) 

That, in turn, has boosted the purchasing power of individuals.

And in much the same way as American buyers covet George Washington’s autograph, Indian buyers look to their own emancipator.

Gandhi’s spinning wheel sold for £110,000 ($140,692) in 2013. A collection of his artefacts made £250,000 ($319,756) that same year. The competition is noticeably fiercer. 

It’s 70 years since independence

Demand for autographs often rises around major anniversaries.

In 2017, India marked 70 years since independence.

Gandhi autograph

The Indian flag was first hoisted above Delhi's Red Fort on Independence Day in 1947 (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

It’s no coincidence that some of the biggest results we’ve tracked date to this time. Signed photographs are the most sought after items.

In June 2017, a signed photograph realised $15,139. The following year, another signed photo (taken outside the 1931 India Round Table Conference in London) sold for $41,806.

If you think those numbers are big, just you wait until the centenary.


Gandhi was a profoundly modest person.

Gandhi autograph

Gandhi worked as a lawyer in South Africa, where he experienced horrifying prejudice from British colonialists (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

He wasn’t the type to sign anything placed under his nose.

Typically the only examples you’ll find on the market are letters. He also occasionally signed photographs and the like for friends.

All these factors - rarity, demand and sentiment - have pushed prices sky high. 

And this may well be only the beginning. 

Paul Fraser.

PS. Do you have a Mahatma Gandhi autograph you’re looking to sell? I may be able to help. get in touch today at

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