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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Daggers drawn!

Though he managed to bag Tipu Sultan’s sword, this time the tycoon failed to bring home Shah Jahan’s khanjar.

The dagger of Emperor Shah Jahan, (who built the Taj Mahal) was sold at the Bonhams auction on April 10 in London for £1,700,000 (approx Rs13.4 cr).

Reports suggest that a representative of liquor baron Vijay Mallaya was one among the few in the auction room bidding fiercely for the dagger or the khanjar always carried by Shah Jahan.

A source revealed, “Mallya’s agent stopped his bidding at £1,300,000 (approx Rs 10.25 cr). However, an anonymous bidder over the phone outbid him to take the dagger home.”

Mallya had earlier acquired Tipu Sultan’s sword in 2004. Two years ago he had also bought a silver-mounted flintlock sporting gun from the personal armoury of the Tiger of Mysore for £120,000 pounds from a Sotheby sale.

Mallya has plans to construct a museum in Mysore where he can stock the historic treasures speaking of India’s glorious past. But unfortunately, he was beaten this time.

Julian Roup, a representative from Bonhams said, “Six to seven people in the room and about three people over the phone were bidding for this dagger till it reached the million mark.”

He added, “Usually, when an auction reaches the million mark, the bidding room turns silent. But this time it was different. A bidder in the room and two on the phone continued bidding for the dagger.

Lastly, it was a bidder on the phone and one in the room who were left fighting for the relic. Ultimately, the bidder on the phone managed to take the sword away.”

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