Tek Sing Treasures

The Tek Sing or "True Star" was a large ship for its time. It was made famous by the legendary modern salvager of today Captain Mike Hatcher born 1940 who found the now famous ship with the aid of his ship "The Restless M" and great historian partner Nigel Pickford who himself is as much a factor for finding the great ship as is the captain. The Tek Sing was 50 meters long and 10 meters wide and weight around 1,000 tons made out of wood she sank in the South China Sea in 1822 after hitting a reef with around 1,600 souls on board aged between 6 and 70 years old, 200 of which were the crew, taking even more lives than the Titanic 90 years later. The Tek Sing was carrying around 350,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain that were sold at the Nagel Auction. The cargo varied from plates and wine cups to statues of animals etc which had graced the tables of 19th century Europe, and are now gracing the tables of the 20th century as most of the cargo came up as clean as the day the Tek Sing sunk. 

The story behind this fascinating wreck has captured the hearts of people all over the world mine included as I first purchase a little bowl in Singapore when visiting relatives. I have now amassed a small collection of various pieces from the Tek Sing which I treasure deeply and would never part with.
The Tek Sing auction was held at Nagel Auction House in Stuttgart, Germany.

What made the Tek sing such a special find was the amount of porcelain which was laden in her hull and the fantastic condition that it was found in. This is the largest quantity of porcelain every found to date and salvaged. There was a large variety of ware most of which is blue and white porcelain such as plates, bowls and cups. There was also a small part of the cargo which was dated much later than the ship and the rest of the cargo itself. These pieces come in the form of a little seated boy with a blue circled front and some still have the red lines leading up to the shoulders these little boys were thought to be fertility symbols, with black colored hair. There were around 500 of these little boys on the Tek Sing when she sank and are of much better quality than what was found on the Cau Mai (Which was another shipwreck found by Capt. M Hatcher and team) and are of a much higher quality and details to that found on the Cau Mai. Other rare pieces from the cargo were the hexagonal boxes which were also found in small numbers and are quite a usual shape but look fantastic. The interesting and one of a king pieces was the captains watch and the sexton that the ships captain would have use to navigate which was being sold by the Pineapple Group (www.pineappledirect.org.uk) which has a large stock of Tek Sing.

Many of the animal statues are much harder to find, such things as the cockerel which comes in two different sizes but normally suffers from chips to the golden glaze but apart from this is still quite beautiful in its own right and the other being a boy in a straw hat who seats on top of a buffalo. This is a fragile piece as are many of the Tek Sing pieces and should be handle with care as the legs on the buffalo boy are normally broken off and poorly restored, this will obviously effect the market value.

If you look hard enough you might be lucky and land yourself a very rare gem like the blue and white reclined dog which is pictured in the Tek Sing book called "The Legacy of the Tek Sing" authored by Mike Hatcher and Nigel Pickford and published in Oct 2000 these treasures were never sold at auction and rumor has it these were only given to the divers who help salvage the Tek Sing treasures. These dogs have a small whole in the bottom and through the mouth on both sides what they were actually used for is any ones guess but are a great find for any collector.

The larger pieces from the Tek sing cargo were things likes a remarkable set of Buddhist Lions which at a height of about 1,29 meters - 1,37 meters and made of granite are a stunning sight and weight, to items that have all been sitting on the sea bed for years. 

 Famous shipwrecks found by  Cpt. Mike Hatcher:-

   K17 Submarine 
   Cau Mai
   Nanking Cargo
   Diana Cargo
   Hatcher Cargo 
   The Geldermalsen Gold
   Tek Sing 

Details of the Auction:-
Actually auction sale dates were:- 17th November 2000 - 25th November 2000
Number of lots sold at the Nagel Auction was 1 to 16,100 lots
Viewing dates for the auction was 14th October 2000 - 15th October 2000 daily 11am - 6pm (incl Saturday, Sunday,holidays)
Viewing location:- Exhibition-Junk, Main Hall Railway Station Stuttgart, Germany.