Gandhi relics to be auctioned in Britain

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) Over 60 rare items belonging to Mahatma Gandhi, including the spinning wheel he used when lodged at Pune's Yerwada Jail during India's freedom struggle, would be auctioned Nov 5 in the United Kingdom, officials said Monday.

Expected to sell for approximately $97,003 (60,000 pounds) to $129,311 (80,000 pounds), the charkha or spinning wheel was presented to American missionary Floyd A. Puffer-- a pioneer in Indian educational and industrial cooperatives, said a statement issued by the auction house mullocksauctions.co.uk.

"Puffer invented a bamboo plow which was adopted by Gandhi and in return for his contribution to Indian life, Gandhi presented him with the spinning wheel which he used in prison," said the statement.

The traditional charkha was bulky and difficult to move, so Gandhi devised this particular spinning wheel in jail, which was lighter, could be folded and had a handle for carrying, said the auction house.

"This would have been one of Gandhi's most prized possessions as he devised the workings of it himself, it has impeccable provenance and is unquestionably the most important Gandhi artifact we ever had for sale," said Mullock's specialist Richard Westwood Brookes.

The auction would be 'the largest sale ever' to be held, with over 60 artifacts, including important documents, photographs and books belonging to Gandhi, said Mullocks.

The sale also includes a number of historical items related to the Sikh and Mysore kingdoms, including a 19th century painting of Tipu Sultan, an early account dating to 1805 of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a rare miniature Koran printed for the Muslim soldiers who fought alongside allied forces in First World War etc.

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