Indian liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya is very pleased with his purchase of a set of Mahatma Gandhi's personal belongings including his iconic round-rimmed spectacles as he is bringing the national heritage home.
Tony Bedi, the representative of Mallya who bought the items for $1.8 million at an auction in New York, said his client is "really pleased with the purchase" as "he is bringing the heritage of the items back to India".
The circumstances of the auction were unusual, Bedi was quoted as saying by the New York Times.
Los Angeles collector, James Otis "had a double mind at the last moment," Bedi said, adding that he did not think Otis's change of heart would prevent the sale from being finalised.
Inside the auction room was a mix between elite Indian-born businessmen and diehard watch collectors. One of the potential bidder was Sant Singh Chatwal, an Indian-American businessman who is close to former president Bill Clinton.
"I made up my mind to go up to maybe half a million," Chatwal, told the Times in a phone interview before the auction. "We'll see how it goes."
"Anything when it comes to Gandhi is emotional, sentimental and patriotic when it comes to Indians," said Shyan Gulati, chief executive of the Infopeople Corp, an information technology company based on Wall Street.
Describing the scene at the auction house as a Who's Who of New York's Indian elite, Gulati said: "In the last ten years, Indian professionals are doing extremely well all over the world and they'd like to contribute."