The King of Good Times sure put his money where his mouth is yesterday when he spent a cool 9 crore ($1.8 million) Mahatma Gandhi’s belongings, including a pair of his iconic glasses, have been auctioned off and the buyer is India’s liquor and airline baron Vijay Mallya.
His representative, Tony Bedi, bid for the items. The items went under the hammer amid last minute high drama as James Otis, the man who owned the items, said he wanted to call off the auction. But the auction house Antiquorum went ahead with the auction as planned. Indian officials had maintained that the auction was illegal, but also that they were continuing to negotiate with the owner, James Otis, over a possible resolution. Ultimately, the government and Otis were not successful in halting the auction.
The bidders included a dozen people in the room, 30 people on the phone, and about two dozen people who submitted written bids. The auction house said it would keep possession of the items for two weeks in order to make sure there were no legal claims over ownership. The second highest bid was a $1.75 million bid submitted online from Britain.
As soon as Lot Number 364, the Gandhi items, came up for sale shortly after 3 pm, a hush settled across the room and a slide show of Gandhi was displayed, with a recording of piano music. on Bapu’s legacy.
Last I recal the hotelier (and I think the notorious Vikram Chatwal’s daddy) Mr. Sant Chatwal (representing a consortium of 9 welathy friends) was confident of acquiring the items on auction and “bringing them home.”