In a historic auction held at the renowned Bonhams auction house in London, the bedchamber sword of Tipu Sultan, the former ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, sold for an astounding £14 million. This remarkable sale set a new record for both an Indian object and a historic artifact from the region, according to a press release by Bonhams.
The sword, which carries an extraordinary history and unrivaled craftsmanship, was one of the weapons taken by British troops from Tipu Sultan’s palace in Seringapatam on May 4, 1799, following his defeat. This significant historical piece was fiercely contested between two phone bidders and a bidder present in the auction room, resulting in an outcome that delighted Nima Sagharchi, Group Head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams.
“We are delighted with the result,” stated Sagharchi. “The sword has an extraordinary history, an astonishing provenance, and unrivaled craftsmanship. It was hotly contested between two phone bidders and a bidder in the room. We are delighted with the result.”
The identity of the buyer has not been disclosed by Bonhams to the media at this time.
Olver While, Bonhams Head of Islamic and Indian Art, emphasized the exceptional nature of the sword, stating, “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.”
According to a report by The Wire, the British presented the sword as a trophy to Major General David Baird. An inscription on the steel blade declares that the sword is a token of high esteem for Baird’s courage and conduct during the assault in which he commanded and where Tipu Sultan met his demise.