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All were back at auction almost exactly a decade after they were bought by the same bidder at Sotheby's £1m sale of items from Robin Wigington's collection in 2005. The market welcomed their return.

Highly educated and a successful ruler, Tipu Sultan (1750-99) is something of a hero for the southern Indian peoples, governing the state of Mysore from 1782 until his glorious death at the siege of his capital Seringapatam.

Several days of looting in the city followed with the treasures of his palace divided among the British soldiers. Today these rare artefacts carry a particular resonance and cut across cultural boundaries.

Bidding on April 21 was no less intense than it was in 2005 and the prices substantially higher.

All of the lots sold, many for multiples of their estimates. There were four principal bidders, three of them on the phone and one in the room - the British-Malaysian entrepreneur Sir Mogan Lourdenadin who was buying for his private collection.

Sultan's Sword

Topping the bill was a 15th century double-bladed sword from Tipu's treasury which had been mounted with an 18th century pommel formed as a gem-set tiger's head. It was taken from the Sultan's regalia of office and matched the tiger's head finials on his gold throne.

The tiger is very much seen as Tipu's emblem and this evocative trophy piece sparked a particularly long bidding battle featuring an online bidder, Sir Mogan and two of the phone bidders, one of whom finally secured it at £1.85m.

Back in 2005 the sword had realised just £50,000 and Bonhams had estimated it this time around at £60,000-80,000.

A late 18th century three-pounder bronze cannon and field carriage from the Seringapatam manufactory created a similarly lengthy contest between three of the main bidders taking it to £1.2m, with the hammer falling to Sir Mogan.

A silver-mounted flintlock sporting gun with the butt carved as a crouching tiger that had come from Tipu's personal armoury and was dated 1222 (1793-94), sold for £600,000 to one of the phones.

In 2005 these had sold for £55,000 and £100,000 respectively.

Mr Wigington, a dealer and collector in Stratford-upon-Avon, spent 30 years putting together a private museum of Indian arms and armour from which his Tipu collection was dispersed in 2005.