Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BBC bargain hunt tips - What is the Nanking Cargo?

The mysteriously named “Nanking Cargo” is often mentioned on “Bargain hunt” the BBC TV antiques show. The Nanking cargo name on a porcelain object can make a profit winning item for the Bargain Hunt teams (or at least wipe it should wipe its face!)

So, what is the “Nanking Cargo?”

Well fine bone China had to be imported from the Far East in the 16th century and this trip although long and often dangerous was well worth it for those brave enough to undertake the voyage

The Dutch East Indiaman, Geldermalsen was one of those ships barely 5 years old when she ran aground and sank on January 3, 1752 at Admiral Stellingwerf Reef.

The reef which hides just below the surface 12 miles from the island of Bintan in the South China Sea claimed the ship and crew and deposited the cargo at the bottom of the sea where it was thought it would forever remain.

However in 1986 Michael Hatcher discovered the sunken ship and her treasure.  The Geldermalsen held over 150,000 pieces of porcelain and 147 bars of gold (125 were recovered). 

Never before had such a complete cargo of porcelain been recovered from a VOC (Dutch East India Company) wreck.  The porcelain and gold cargo was sold at Christie's Auction House in Amsterdam as under the name "Nanking Cargo".