A collection of Tipu Sultan’s, the last king of Mysore, arms and armour were auctioned for over six million pounds (about Rs.567 million) at an Islamic and Indian art auction in London.
The 30 items, which went under the hammer at Bonhams on Tuesday, came from a single collection. The identity of the buyers, from around the world, has been kept confidential.
Tipu Sultan’s personal motif was the tiger. Images of the animal, the tiger-stripe design adorned his both objects of art and instruments of war.
The top lot in the auction was a rare gem-set sword with the tiger’s head pommel from Tipu Sultan’s royal regalia, estimated at around 60,000-80,000 pounds, but was sold for a staggering 2,154,500 pounds.
A three-pounder cannon, with field carriage, was sold for 1,426,500 pounds against an estimated value of between 40,000-60,000 pounds.
A magnificent two-shot flintlock sporting gun from Tipu Sultan’s personal armoury was sold for 722,500 pounds, more than seven times its estimated value.
The other items in the collection included sabres, gem-set trophy swords, embroidered arrow quivers, exquisite quilted helmets, blunderbusses, fowling pieces, sporting guns, pistols and a three-pounder bronze cannon, each a work of art in its own right, said Claire Penhallurick, a spokesperson for Bonhams auction house.
Renowned as the Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan’s famous personal sword was bought in April 2004, by Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya in an auction in London and brought back to India.
It was lost in 1789 during the battle of Nedumkotta, Travancore, and later wound its way to Britain, where it was displayed by the Wallace Collection till Mallya successfully bid for it.
In 2013, another sword owned by Tipu Sultan, decorated with the tiger stripe motif, surfaced and was auctioned by Sotheby’s to telephonic bidder for 98,500 pounds.