Mandela’s belongings are up for auction – including his ID book for R1.4 million

 ·20 Jan 2024

Approximately 70 items belonging to the late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, will go to auction in February after the Gauteng High Court gave the sale the green light following an attempt to stop the auction by the SA Heritage Resource Agency at the end of 2021.

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria overturned an interdict sought by the SA Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA) against Madiba’s daughter, Makaziwe Mandela.

In court papers, the SAHRA said it learned of the planned sale of the items in December 2021 and argued that 29 of the items had been declared heritage items and should not have been taken out of the country.

However, Makaziwe made the case that the items were not heritage objects, and the court dismissed SAHRA’s application for an interdict, saying there was little evidence to support the allegation the items were heritage objects as envisaged in the Heritage Act.

Auction house Guernsey’s has advertised the auction for 22 February 2024 after the end of a legal battle cleared the way for the objects to be sold.

The items up for auction include Madiba’s “personal and only identification book (ID)”, starting at $75,000 (roughly R1.4 million). The New York Times also reports that a key to the Robben Island prison cell where Mandela was imprisoned could be one of the items.

Source: LiveAuctioneers

According to Guernsey, other items for sale include a Madiba shirt, gifts from statesmen and institutions, his walking stick, his Bible, handwritten letters, and his hearing aids.

The auction house estimated that the 70 items have a collective value ranging between $2 million (R38 million) and $3 million (R56 million). Proceeds from the auction will go towards financing a memorial garden that honors Mandela.

“Importantly, proceeds from the event will be used for the building of the Mandela Memorial Garden surrounding President Mandela’s Qunu, South Africa, final resting place. For those who lived through Nelson Mandela’s remarkable struggle for freedom, and for future generations, the garden will serve as an inspirational reminder of a man whose life impacted us all.”

Some of the items for sale and their starting price are listed below, with images sourced from LiveAuctioneers.

Hearing aids – starting at $7,500 (roughly R142,000)

The Obamas’ gift to Madiba – starting at $50,000 (roughly R948,500)

Cream and Black Print “Madiba” Shirt – starting at $24,000 (roughly R455,000)

Nelson Mandela’s Illustrated Jerusalem Bible – starting at $20,000 (roughly R380,000)

Harvard University’s Gift to Nelson Mandela – starting at $20,000 (roughly R380,000)

Read: Ramaphosa’s advisors flag major problems in South Africa that need urgent attention

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter