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Among the items allocated to Major Thomas Hart of the East India Company was an extraordinary magazine-fed, self-charging flintlock and bayonet which will be included in the Antony Cribb sale at the Milton House Hotel near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, on March 26.

A weapon of this complexity and sophistication would be a prize in itself, but the fact that it belonged to Tipu Sultan himself, who died on the battlements fiercely defending the city to the last, makes it even more special.

Auctioneer Tony Cribb admits that he nearly blacked out when he began to unwrap the consignment and immediately spotted the tell-tale gilt tiger stripes which denote the personal possessions of the sultan.

Used in action

The gun has a musket-ball hole in the stock and the trigger guard has been carried away, suggesting that it may have been used in the battle.

It is just one of a group of items from Hart’s allocation which has been kept together by his descendants for over 200 years.

See also our News story this week.