Bonhams will be auctioning a stunning and finely restored Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost which used to be owned by the Maharaja of Mysore at its annual Collectors Motor Cars and Automobilia auction on September 16.
Of all the buyers of the Silver Ghost model, the Indian princes were among the most numerous as they prized the quality of the Rolls-Royce and its ability to withstand the difficult road conditions in their country.
This example was ordered for the Delhi Durbar celebration of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in December 1911. The event included spectacular displays of Indian pageantry, and many cars were purchased to provide transport for the honoured guests and the rulers themselves. The Silver Ghost was emblazoned with the coat of arms of the Maharaja of Mysore, to whom it passed after the Delhi Durbar.
The Maharaja, Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV (1884-1940), was one of the most celebrated rulers of the Indian states and he was also one of the world’s wealthiest men – he died with a personal fortune estimated at $400 million. He was a popular and spiritual leader who Mahatma Ghandi referred to as Rajarshi, or “saintly king”.