"we were inundated with requests for items"
A “worn and broken” pocket watch which was owned by Mahatma Gandhi has fetched £12,000 at an auction.
The silver-plated Swiss watch was given to the owner’s grandfather by Gandhi in 1944 “as a thank-you for his devotion”.
It was estimated to sell for around £10,000, however, it beat that price at East Bristol Auctions on November 20, 2020.
Auctioneer Andrew Stowe revealed that the buyer was a private collector based in the United States.
The sale follows the auction of a pair of glasses worn by Gandhi which sold for £260,000 in August 2020.
They were discovered hanging halfway out of East Bristol Auctions and they estimated that the spectacles would sell for approximately £15,000.
The seller had inherited them from an uncle who worked in South Africa around the same time Gandhi was there, between 1910 and 1930.
The gold-coloured glasses were given to him by the famous civil rights leader.
They were passed down from generation to generation before ending up in the letterbox of East Bristol Auctions. The rare item was left in an envelope, with a note inside saying:
“These glasses belonged to Gandhi, give me a call.”
A sale price was set between £10,000 and £15,000, however, they ended up fetching £260,000, 26 times the guide price.
Mr Stowe stated at the time that Mahatma Gandhi was known to give away his personal possessions to those who helped him.
Following the sale of the pocket watch, Mr Stowe said it had been a “whirlwind few months” and the watch sale was “another wonderful result”.
He said: “After our incredible sale of Gandhi’s Glasses back in August, we were inundated with requests for items relating to him.
“Many of those items were coins, photographs or pictures, but then this one came through and we just thought ‘wow’.”
The watch was once owned by Mohanlal Sharma, a carpenter and follower of the civil rights leader.
In 1936, he travelled to meet Gandhi and volunteer his services.
As a thank-you for his devotion, Gandhi gave him the pocket watch in 1944. It was eventually passed to his grandson in 1975.
Mr Stowe explained: “It’s an incredible piece of history and the fact it is so worn and broken adds to its charm.
“To think this was used by Gandhi for many years, and then passed over to a trusted friend who then also treasured it, is just wonderful.”