Sellers at the British auction house Mullock’s, in Ludlow, England thought people would pay big bucks to be a little more “Gandhi-like” by owning a small part of the great leader of India’s independence movement’s DNA.
Buyers had their chance to buy two microscopic slides bearing the blood of Mahatma Gandhi–with an expected price tag of $15,000-$23,000, but the slides failed to meet the bidding $15,155 reserve price, said spokesman Richard Westwood-Brookes.
Other auction items included a handwritten will, a handwoven linen shawl “made from thread which Gandhi spun himself,” according to the auction house, a pair of worn leather sandals, bed linen, a rice bowl, and photographs, paintings and audio recordings; all said to come from the house in India where Gandhi lived from 1917 to 1934.
The slides were obtained in 1924 after Gandhi had an appendectomy near Mumbai. He was thought to have donated the blood to the family he was staying with at the time.
“To Gandhi devotees, it has the same status as a sacred relic to a Christian,” said Richard Westwood-Brookes, a historical documents expert at Mullock’s auctioneers which is selling the item.
“It is an artefact which is revered by disciples of Gandhi, particularly in India and therefore that is the sort of person who would go for it,” he added.