Shyam Bhatia in London
The gold ‘mohur’ was minted in the last 10 years of Ranjit Singh’s reign
An unknown Indian bought it for over £10,000 (Rs 8 lakh)
The Indian buyer had made his interest known via an open telephone line to the auctioneers
A mystery buyer from India has paid more than £10,000 (Rs 8 lakh) for the gold coin from Ranjit Singh’s reign that was auctioned in the UK earlier in the week.
The buyer read of the coin’s forthcoming sale in The Tribune and immediately contacted the auctioneers, Mullock’s, in the English county town of Ludlow.
The provenance of the coin is not known, but there is speculation in the UK that it comes from the estate of the late Dr John Login, a Scottish doctor who was appointed by the East India Company as Maharaja Dalip Singh’s guardian in the mid-19th century.
As Dalip Singh’s guardian, Login had total responsibility of looking after the young Maharaja and access to all his assets. Dalip Singh, in turn, was known to be very fond of both Login and his wife and showered them with gifts of all kinds running into lakhs of rupees.
Precisely how much Login gained from Dalip Singh’s generosity is not known, but when the doctor died, Dalip Singh paid for the headstone above his grave.
Bidding for the gold coin started last Thursday at $6,500 (Rs 5.3 lakh), but soon started to go up in £500 increments. This was because of the bidding from an Indian buyer who made his interest known via an open telephone line to the auctioneers.
Mullock’s refuse to disclose who the buyer is, but they say readers of The Tribune should be pleased that the coin has returned to its country of origin.
Tribune India, Saturday, November 19, 2011, Chandigarh, India