An 18th-century sword belonging to the legendary Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan has created a new auction record after it was sold for a whopping £14.2 million at a London auction. The sword, which was up for grabs at an auction by Tames Auctioneer, was bought by an unnamed collector from the world’s largest antique and fine art auction house Sotheby’s.
The two-foot-long double-edged steel blade is decorated with gold and jewels and was made for Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, in 1790. The sword was part of a collection of 182 historic objects dating from 11th century to the 19th century belonging to Tipu Sultan that were up for auction.
The sword is believed to have been a gift from Tipu Sultan to senior members of his court, as part of a tradition that involved handing out unique items to commemorate battles won or, in this case, his coronation. It is also believed to have been used by Tipu Sultan as a state symbol when attending ceremonial events such as receptions.
This auction has broken the previous record for the most expensive piece of Indian history sold at auction, which was a gem-studded gold throne that was bought by an anonymous collector at £ 12 million in 2009. The sword was sold for nearly twice its pre-sale estimate of £7-8 million, making it the most expensive Indian artifact sold in the world.