UK family finds treasure belonging to Tipu Sultan in their attic
Published : Sunday, 10 March, 2019 at 6:43 PM Count : 992
A family are set to become overnight millionaires after finding a bounty of Indian treasure in their attic.
The artefacts were taken by their ancestor, a British army officer, from the palace of Tipu Sultan in the wake of the famous Indian freedom fighter’s defeat to the Duke of Wellington in 1799. The cache of Indian arms is believed to include the very gun the ‘Tiger of Mysore’ used in his last stand against the British, reports UK based Metro newspaper.
It has a tiger stripe pattern unique to Tipu and there is also damage caused by a musket ball that is believed to have killed him. They also discovered a gold-encrusted firangi sword that bears the mark of Haider Ali Khan, Tipu’s father and the previous ruler of Mysore.
The weapons were brought back to Britain by Major Thomas Hart of the British East India Company following the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war. They were passed down through his family and now belong to a couple who have kept them wrapped in newspaper in the dusty attic of their semi-detached home in Berkshire for years.
The items are expected to fetch millions of pounds at auction. In 2016 a sale of other items that belonged to Tipu were sold for £6 million. Auctioneer Anthony Cribb said this latest collection is said to be more significant. He said: ‘It is impossible to put a price on these items but I would say this collection is more important than the previous one that sold.
‘That one was put together over 40 years and came from lots of different places. ‘But these weapons were picked up at the battlement by a military officer who was there and have been in the same family for 220 years. ‘When I first saw the gun I nearly fainted. It is a once in a lifetime find. ‘The owners are just an ordinary family who live in a Victorian semi-detached house.
‘You could describe this find as like a lottery win for them.’ The British waged war against the ruler of Mysore Tipu Sultan after a spy intercepted a letter from French dictator Napoleon proposing an alliance with him against the British. Arthur Wellesley, who later became the Duke of Wellington, led the British army into his stronghold of Seringapatam, the capital of Mysore. The British soldiers breached the walls of its fortress and Tipu fired longarm muskets at them handed to him by his servants.
He was killed when a musket ball deflected off his gun and struck him above the right eye. In the wake of the victory, British soldiers pillaged the city and Tipu’s palace, treasury and armoury, helping themselves to the wealthy sultan’s bejewelled possessions and impressive arms. In the following weeks several auctions were held where soldiers were able to get their hands on gold, jewellery, arms and armour, clothing and even Tipu’s grand throne plundered from the palace.
The marquee lot in the Berkshire collection is the 21-shot repeating flintlock musket gun used by Tipu in battle. There are two identical weapons in near-perfect condition at Windsor Castle after they were brought back and gifted to King George III. The collection also features Tipu’s solid gold snack box with three 220-year-old nuts still inside.