ATLANTA, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Martin Luther King Jr.'s Bible and Nobel medal will remain in a safety deposit box until a judge rules in a dispute among the civil rights leader's children.
Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who holds the key to the box, heard arguments Tuesday in Atlanta. Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King want to sell the heirlooms, while their sister, Bernice King, does not.
McBurney said he will rule in the case before the end of February.
The siblings, who make up the board of the King estate, voted 2-1 last year to sell the Bible, which King took with him on the road, and the medal he received when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. The brothers say Bernice refused to hand them over.
"While I love my brothers dearly, this latest decision by them is extremely troubling. Not only am I appalled and utterly ashamed, I am frankly disappointed that they would even entertain the thought of selling these precious items. It reveals a desperation beyond comprehension," Bernice King said in a statement last year.
The hearing was held days before the annual holiday honoring their father's birthday. King has also been in the news with the release of the movie Selma, which opens with King receiving the Nobel.
The three have been involved in litigation before. Bernice and Martin sued Dexter two years ago, charging he had taken "substantial funds" from the estate account, but the three reached a settlement before the case went to court.
In 2006, the estate sold a large collection of King's private papers and books for an undisclosed sum. The collection, which includes drafts of the "I have a dream" speech that King delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, is now at his alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta, which has said more than $30 million was paid to the estate.
The Nobel medal awarded James Watson for his work on the structure of DNA sold at Christie's in New York last year for more than $4 million. The buyer said he intended to return the medal to Watson, the only living Nobel laureate to sell his medal.
King's Bible made its most recent public appearance in 2013, when President Obama used it to take the oath of office at his second inauguration.