A royal state coach, which was once used by Krishna Raja Wadiyar III, Maharaja of Mysore for nearly 70 years from 1799 to 1868, is set to be the centrepiece of an auction in England on Saturday, November 24.
“Although the coach was built in England in about 1825, it has been restored and is in fine working order,” said Stewart Banks, who will conduct the auction. The state coach, which has a reserve price of £70,000-£80,000 (approx Rs 70,07,438.84), is being sold by Historics, an auction house linked to Brooklands motor museum in Surrey. Surrey is a county in the South East of England. According to Banks, the seller of the state coach wishes to remain anonymous.
One can imagine the Maharaja (also known as Mummadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar) looking magnificent as he drove past in his state coach. He was succeeded by his grandson, Chamarajendra Wadiyar X, (1868-1894); Vani Vilas Sannidhana, who was Regent from 1894-1902; and Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (1894-1940). It is likely all of them used the coach.
Historics, which specializes in selling classic and sports cars and motoring memorabilia, is also auctioning a Land Rover car that was once commissioned by the Queen on the same day. Interestingly, Land Rover is now a Tata-owned company. Also going under the hammer is a Pierce Arrow car. It was made by Pierce-Arrow, an American automobile manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York, and active from 1901 to 1938. It was best known for its expensive luxury cars. Historics normally offers such renowned marquees as Bentley, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, Porsche and Jaguar but this time, it is the Mysore state coach that is attracting the attention.
Among Indians in the UK, there are two opposing but equally valid views on the morality of Indian treasures appearing in the UK. One is that these treasures should not have been looted or taken out illegally by the British because they were diminishing India’s heritage. The second response is, “Thank God, they did. Had they been left to the Indians they would have long since disappeared or, more likely, they would have disintegrated years ago. At least, India’s heritage is safe with the British, otherwise these objects would have fallen apart and been lost forever.”
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