A microscope slide with traces of Mahatma Gandhi’s blood, preserved for nearly 90 years, sold for well below the guide price set by a British auctioneer on Tuesday – a year after a similar sale stirred a row.
The glass slide with the smear of dry blood – taken by doctors when Gandhi was recovering from an appendix operation in Mumbai in 1924 – sold for £7,000 at Mullock’s in Shropshire. The auction house had set a guide price of £10,000 to 15,000.
Mullock’s, which in Apr 2012 sold a clump of blood-spotted soil taken from the spot where Mahatma Gandhi fell, fended off criticism that it was dealing with the macabre. Last year’s sale was described by Gandhi biographer Bhikhu Parikh as a “sacrilege.”
“It’s just a smear of blood on two microscope slides – not a bottle of it,” Mullock’s expert Richard Westwood-Brookes told HT. “People wanted to keep it like sacred relics.
“A lot of people have criticised us, but I’d say this is no different from the Christian Catholic position, where bits and piece of bodies of saints are kept in shrines.”
The soil-and-grass, which sold for £10,000 pounds, was resold to a foundation, and is on an exhibition tour of India, he said. “It has gone back to the right place, and is being made available to the Indian public.”
The blood sample was among a clutch of Gandhi memorabilia, including his sandals, lantern and shawl, that went for £300,000. His will, written in Gujarati, fetched £40,000.