London, July 5: A 1,400-piece silver-gilt dinner set commissioned by the former Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh has fetched a whopping 1.96 million pounds, setting a world record for an English dinner service sold at auction.
The price paid for the Maharaja's banqueting service, used almost a century ago, is almost double its pre-sale estimate.
The set was purchased by an anonymous collector, Christie's auction house in London said.
The opening bid was pegged at 1.3 million pounds, and its estimated value was between 1 million to 1.5 million pounds.
The nearly 500-kg weighing George V dinner service cutlery was especially commissioned for a visit to Patiala by the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII in 1922 and Duke of Windsor.
During the same visit, the Maharaja entertained the Prince with polo matches, pig-sticking and shooting during the day, followed by small dinners and informal dances.
The dinner service was made by a London company 'Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Company'. Each piece of the service has a scroll and foliage border above cast and chased panels of animals, separated by cast daggers and variously engraved or cast with coat-of-arms, crown and initials.
The Maharaja's wealth and status was such that he was the first man in India to own an aircraft, for which the Patiala Aviation Club was founded, Christie's said in a statement.
The Maharaja was also an avid and early motorcar enthusiast, and a legend has it that he would travel in a motorcade of 20 Rolls Royces.