The bedchamber word of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysuru, has sold for 14 million pounds ($17.4 million or Rs 140 crore)) at an auction in London. Auction house Bonhams, which organised the sale, said the price on Tuesday was seven times the estimate. Bonhams further said that the sword was the most important of the weapons with proven personal association with the ruler. Tipu Sultan won fame in wars of the late 18th century. He fought against the Marathas on several occasions between 1175 and 1779.
“This spectacular sword is the greatest of all the weapons linked to Tipu Sultan still in private hands. Its close personal association with the Sultan, its impeccable provenance traceable to the very day it was captured, and the outstanding craftsmanship that went into its manufacture make it unique and highly desirable,” said Oliver White, Bonhams Head of Islamic and Indian Art and auctioneer.
The sword was found in the private quarters of Tipu Sultan’s palace.
“The sword has an extraordinary history, an astonishing provenance and unrivalled craftsmanship. It was no surprise it was so hotly contested between two phone bidders and a bidder in the room. We are delighted with the result,” Nima Sagharchi, group head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams, said in a statement.
Tipu Sultan was given the nickname “Tiger of Mysore” for the ferocity with which he defended his kingdom.
He pioneered the use of rocket artillery in wars and transformed Mysore into the most dynamic economy in India, Bonhams said on its website.
After Tipu Sultan was killed, his sword was presented to British Major General David Baird as a token of his courage, according to the auction house.