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Gandhi Blood Sample Up For Auction In London

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LONDON (Reuters) - Two microscope slides bearing the blood of former Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi are to go on sale in London on Tuesday and are expected to fetch from 10,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds ($15,200-$22,800).

The slides were obtained in 1924 when the father of the Indian independence movement was recovering from 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"To Gandhi devotees, it has the same status as a sacred relic to a Christian," said Richard Westwood-Brookes, a historical documents expert at Mullock's auctioneers which is selling the item.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.

The slides are part of a larger collection of items obtained by Mullock's, which include the former leader's sandals, shawl and bed linen.

Demand for Gandhi memorabilia has been steadily growing since Mullock's sold soil samples and blades of bloody grass purportedly from the spot where Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, for 10,000 pounds ($15,200) last year.

($1 = 0.6582 British pounds)

(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang, editing by Paul Casciato)

UPDATE: AP is reporting that Gandhi's blood did not sell at auction as it did not reach the 10,000 pound minimum.

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