Deep-sea treasures of Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge - The information on antiques in the sea always attracts the attention of antiques collectors and traders, as well as fishermen. There were treasures worth of millions of USD found, making the hunt for antiques under the sea never end.

The mysterious treasures in Vietnam

shipwreck, antique, auction, treasure
Nearly $4 million from artifacts in the shipwreck in Ca Mau province.

76,000 items including bottles, kettles, cups, plates, spoons, statues ... made of ceramic were brought from Vietnam to auction in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2007. These are the artifacts that were excavated in 1998 and 1999 from an ancient sunken ship in Ca Mau waters. The antiques are defined to be produced in the Qing Dynasty, China, between 1662 - 1722.

Through the broker Unicom Corporation (USA), the auction of the huge number of antiques from the Ca Mau shipwreck was mandated to the Sotheby’s International Auction Company. After the 3-day auction, the entire antiques were sold. The number of antiques from Vietnam startled the world.

There were lots of antiques that were paid ten times more than expected: 69 plates and tea cups with the buffalo boy pattern were sold for 49,200 euros, 12 times higher than expected, or the set of 74 tea cups with the Chinese tent pattern was bought by a Russian for 31,200 euros, 10 times higher than the expected prize. However, in the end, the 76,000 antiques only grossed $3.9 million.

After deduction of income tax in the Netherlands, the sum was only $3.25 million. That amount continued to decrease by 20 percent of the remuneration for the company to stand up for the auction – the Sotheby’s and the cost of underwater archaeological excavations, preservation costs, etc. Finally, the real figure was just $1.3 million.

The VND54 billion treasure in Binh Chau, Quang Ngai

shipwreck, antique, auction, treasure

The Sea of Binh Chau in Binh Son District of Quang Ngai Province is located on the ancient route for trade from China to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. In these waters, ancient ceramics of the sunken ships have been discovered many times and were sold at very high prices.

In September 2012, in Binh Chau waters, fishermen discovered and picked up some ceramic antiquities and discovered a sunken ancient ship carrying numerous antiques. Many people and vessels appeared in the area to salvage the antiques. Antique traders were also available in this area to collect antiques. Some antiques were offered for sale for tens of thousands of USD.

According to experts, the antiques in the ship were produced in the Ming Dynasty of China in the fifteenth century. The undersea treasure in Binh Chau is determined to have about 40,000 artifacts, worth about VND54 billion ($2.7 million). The police and border guard forces now have to protect the ancient ship.

The legendary treasure of Cu Lao Cham

shipwreck, antique, auction, treasure

In Cu Lao Cham waters in Hoi An, Quang Nam province, 158 boats of the Japanese military were shot down by the aircrafts of the Allies in the World War 2, of which there were fie boats carrying treasures that were robed in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since the 60s, many Japanese have come here to find the treasure from the shipwrecks. Many Vietnamese have also conducted excavation with dreams to change their life if they find out the treasure.

After 1975, scientists discovered many pieces of Tang dynasty’s ceramics dating from the 7th-10th centuries, VII century – X and pieces of ceramics of Cham and Islam of the Middle East in the 9th-10th centuries. Since then they concluded that the island used to be located on the commercial route from Southeast Asia to the Middle East.

There was a time that Cu Lao Cham waters was a destination of transnational antiques traders. Because in the sea off the coast of Cu Lao Cham, before the national archaeological excavation was performed, local fishermen found an ancient sunken ship loaded with porcelains of Chu Dau, Hai Duong. In the early 90s, many fishermen dived to collect numerous ancient artifacts from the ship. So far, the legends about treasures in these waters have been still told.

Rumored pirate treasure in Hon Tre

shipwreck, antique, auction, treasure

The Islands of Hon Tre, in Tien Hai island commune, Kien Giang province, is formerly known as the Pirate Islands. People on the islands still have rumored that in the late 19th and early 20th, a powerful pirate fleet was formed, gathering bandits of the countries in the Gulf of Thailand. This bandit was named Black Sail, hanging a broom as its icon on the boat cap with a message: "Clean everything" that they saw. They also said that on the islands there is a treasure full of gold and silver buried by the pirates.

10,000 artifacts from the Hon Dam ancient ship

shipwreck, antique, auction, treasure

The Hon Dam ancient ship was discovered very early. Since the 70s, fishermen of An Thoi commune, Phu Quoc Island sometimes pulled up ancient ceramics with beautiful decorations from the sea of 5km from Hon Dam Island.

In 1990 and 1991, there was a movement of hunting for antiques in this area. Since then the shipwreck in this region has attracted the attention of public opinion.

As many antiques were picked up and sold by fishermen. In May 1991, Kien Giang Provincial People's Committee decided to seize these antiques and established the steering board for the excavations of the Hon Dam shipwreck.

At the time of excavation, the ship was at a depth of about 10m. The wooden ship was still intact, 30m long and 7m wide. Goods on board were mainly ceramics originating from Thailand, in the 15th century. A total of 10,000 items were collected.

Compiled by Le Ha
shipwreck, antique, auction, treasure