Collectors look to plunder $140,000 Tipu Sultan hoard at Bonhams

An Ottoman gilt bridle, breast-plate and crupper taken from the residential quarters of Tipu Sultan (1750-99), Sultan of Mysore, in the 18th century is for sale at Bonhams' Indian Islamic sale on April 5 in London.

The items, which have a high end estimate of £90,000, were brought to England by Field Marshall Sir Stapleton Cotton, first Viscount Combermere (1773-1865).

The bridle was part of a substantial collection of booty taken from Tipu's stronghold by Cotton, and together with a breast-plate, was specifically recorded as being Tipu's personal property. The greater part of Colonel Cotton's Seringapatam booty, including both the bridle and the breast-plate, was given by him to his friend Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, MP (1796-1850). Williams Wynn was a distinguished collector and benefactor of antiquities and the arts.

Will Vijay Mallya add this Tipu Sultan breastplate to his collection?

The bridle is mentioned in the privately published biography of Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, written by his grandson: "There is also a collection of armour… including several swords, and the richly-decorated red morocco bridle and breastplate of Tipoo Sahib, being trophies from Seringapatam in 1799."

It is likely this parade bridle was part of a princely or ambassadorial gift to Tipu Sultan from the Ottoman Sultan Selim III (1761-1808).

The items could well interest noted Indian collectibles investor Vijay Mallya, who owns Tipu Sultan's £175,000 sword.

Mallya is also the owner of a number of Gandhi's items, including his iconic circular glasses.

Collectors are well versed with Bonhams' expertise in Indian artefacts. In one of its most notable auctions of last year, the company sold a rare 18th century Mughal hookah base for £234,000, achieving 20 times its estimate.


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