The sword was estimated to fetch 50,000 to 70,000 pounds. In 2003, the 200-year-old sword was bought with much fanfare by liquor baron Vijay Mallya. It has now been sold for a record price.
Sotheby’s described the item as, “A Very Rare Sword with Tiger-Form Hilt, from the Palace Armoury of Tipu Sultan, India, circa 1782-99, with 19th century silver-mounted Scabbard”.
Sotheby’s said there were a very small number of sword hilts, such as Tipu Sultan’s auctioned sword, which have a pronounced tiger theme that was a mark of Tipu’s ownership.
Another highlight of the auction was a rare Indian bronze cannon cast at the Mysore king’s royal foundry.
This artefact from around 1790 AD was bought by an anonymous buyer at 313,250 pounds.
The Tipu Sultan collection, comprising of seven lots, included weaponry and other rarities captured after the British stormed the erstwhile ruler of Mysore’s palace in Srirangapatnam in May 1799.
An applique and gilt metal-thread embroidered shamiana, from the cloth of gold suite of fabric used by Tipu Sultan in the royal toshkhana, which was estimated to sell for 30,000 to 40,000 pounds went for 21,250.
The auction fetched 15.4 million pounds, compared to the 1.2 million pounds earned at the first part of the Tipu Sultan auction in 2005.