An album of rare photographs of Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, was auctioned in Britain for a very high price of 22,000 pounds, after it was originally valued 22 times less than what it fetched at an auction. The leather album containing 240 photos, including four rare photographs of Maharaja Duleep Singh, belonged to Sir John Spencer Login, who once worked for the East India Company and was appointed Duleep Singh’s tutor when he was aged five. The album was discovered almost accidently during a house clearing operation.
C&T Auctioneers in Rochester, Kent had put up the "Personal Photograph Albums of Sir John Spencer Login (1809-1863) and the Login Family". In the auction, the final purchaser, a British buyer of Indian-descent, reportedly went head to head with another buyer at the auction in Englands Kent.
This album opens with the original picture of the Maharaja, when he was aged 17, which were probably taken while he was a guest of Queen Victoria at Obsorne House 1854. It is believed that the photographer was perhaps the Queens husband Prince Albert, who was also a close friend of the Indian royal. The Maharaja's first drawing from 1853 was also part of the collection. The album also contains images of a young King Edward VII, when he was Prince of Wales.
Importantly, the Maharaja Duleep Singh is regarded as a cult figure in the Sikh History. He is also known as Dalip Singh and later was also nicknamed as the Black Prince of Perthshire, was the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire. Duleep Singh was proclaimed Maharaja of the Sikh Empire in 1843, when he was aged five. When the British won the first Anglo-Sikh War in 1849 and annexed Punjab, the prince was put into the care of Sir John and later exiled to England. He was provided money by the East India Company on condition that he complied with the will of the British government. In the 1880's, the Maharaja probably made a final bid to return to India against the wishes of the British, resulting in his detention in Aden and then returning back to Europe. He died in Paris in 1893, aged 55.