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BNPS.co.uk (01202) 558833<br />
Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS<br />
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'Once in a lifetime find' Auctioneer Anthony Cribb with the Tiger of Mysore's ornate gold encrusted sword.<br />
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Stunning artefacts from Indian hero Tipu Sultan's fateful last stand have been rediscovered by the family of an East India Company Major who took part in the famous battle that ended his reign.<br />
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And now Major Thomas Hart's lucky descendents are likely to become overnight millionaires after retrieving the historic items from their dusty attic.<br />
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The fascinating treasures were taken from Tipu's captured fortress of Seringapatam in the wake of his defeat by British forces led by a young Duke of Wellington in 1799.<br />
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The cache of ornate gold arms and personal effects even include's the battle damaged musket the Sultan used in his fatal last stand against the expanding British Empire in India.<br />
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Tipu was last seen on the battlements of the fortress firing his hunting musket at the advancing British and after the fierce encounter his body was found bearing many wounds, including a musket ball shot above his right eye.<br />
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The rediscovered musket, complete with battle damaged bayonet, has the distinctive tiger stripe pattern unique to the self styled Tiger of Mysore own weapons - and tellingly there is also shot damage to the lock and stock that may have been caused by the musket ball that finished him off.<br />
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Also included in the sale are four ornate gold-encrusted sword's bearing the mark of Haider Ali Khan, Tipu's father and the previous ruler of independent Mysore, along with a solid gold ‘betel casket’ complete with three 220 year old nuts still inside.<br />
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The war booty was brought back to Britain by Major Thomas Hart of the British East India Company following the fourth and final Anglo-Mysore war.<br />
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They have been passed down through the family ever since and now belong to a couple who have kept them wrapped in newspaper in the dusty attic of their semi-detached home for years.