London: India is likely to lose out an exquisite collection of the rare Indian books of pre-independence era to a European collector. An antiquarian book collector in Britain had announced his plan to put the collection of 125 books, assembled over three decades, on sale.
Surprisingly, neither Indian government nor collectors in India have shown interest in this collection of books, which cover 250 years of India's printing history.
John Randall, the antiquarian told TOI that a few individuals and only one institution in India have shown interest in this collection.
“The problem is I think that those who authorize funds don't understand its value. The individual prices of books total £600,000. The whole collection is available at £500,000," he said.
An individual who wants around half is a European collector. Although no firm offer has been made we are discussing around £300,000," Randall, who will be in Mumbai from April 4-7 to look for buyers, added.
However, a European collector has taken keen interest in the collection and willing to buy half of the collection. Although no firm offer has been made as they haven't settled on a price.
Randall will be in Mumbai from April 4-7 to look for potential buyers.
Randall's collection of books dates back to early 1700s. It includes 50 copies of the 'Harijan', Mahatma's Gandhi's weekly, first Biblical translation printed with an Indian font (1715), the first dictionary of Urdu (1787), the Indian Gazette of 1783 — 65 issues of the longest running and most successful Indian newspaper of the 18th century, the first Indian newspaper for women and first to be edited by a woman (1853) and more.