Mahatma Gandhi's handmade sandals expected to sell for £8,000

A paid of wooden sandals described as being handmade by Mahatma Gandhi are to be sold by Lyon & Turnbull Auctions, Edinburgh in their 8th February Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps and Photographs auction with an £8,000 estimate.

Mahatma Gandhi sandals to sell at Lyon & Turnbull Auctions
Image: Lyon & Turnbull


The sandals are believed to have been made in the 1940's from hardwood with woven fabric straps fastened with simple chrome locks.

It's generally accepted that Gandhi made his own clothes and shoes in his pursuit of a simple life.

The provenance states that the sandals were made at the Tolstoy farm near Johannesburg in South Africa, and originate from the collection of Gandhi's long term doctor, Dr Balavantrai N, Kanuga.

Tolstoy farm served as the headquarters for the movement against the discrimination of Indians in Transvaal, and was named after the Russian writer who greatly influenced Gandhi's philosophy of 'satyagraha' - central to which was self-reliance.

Correspondence shows that Gandhi made sandals in the workshops at Tolstoy Farm - writing to his cousin Maganlal, telling him that he had made 14 pairs in February 1911.

Several items from Dr Kanuga's collection have appeared at separate auctions in recent years, inluding the last known photograph of Gandhi, one of Gandhi's famous loin cloths, other pairs of sandals, the ink well from his desk and pairs of his spectacles.

The most famous recent sale of Gandhi memorabilia was conducted by East Bristol Auctions, United Kingdom.

The auction house discovered a pair of glasses in a white envelope in their letterbox, accompanied by a note from the vendor stating they had once belonged to Mahatma Gandhi, but to ‘throw them away’ if they weren’t of interest.

The spectacles, which the auctioneers gave an estimate of £10,000 - £15,000, eventually sold for £260,000.

However the highest price for a piece of Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia remains the $1.8m paid for Ghandi's spectacles, a pair of sandals, a watch and a brass bowl at Antiquorum Auctions in New York in 2009.

According to the Celebrity Memorabilia Index, Gandhi is the 7th most valuable autograaph in the world, with signed photos valued at up to £12,500 a piece.

As with everything at this level, provenance is the key to value.

About your Author:

Adrian Roose has over 30 years’ experience covering all aspects of the rare stamp & memorabilia industry during which he has sold over £50m of unique items, helping build collections for Royalty, household name celebrities and 1,000s of collectors around the world.

Adrian was previously a Director at Stanley Gibbons, a Board Member of Stampex, and Executive Director of Paul Fraser Collectibles, PFC Auctions and JustCollecting, prior to founding The Memorabilia Club.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

1 of 3

Selling your memorabilia?

If you have interesting items we'd love to hear from you. We will either buy directly, offer on your behalf, or introduce you to one of our partner auction houses to ensure you achieve the highest price possible, with the lowest commission.