Porcelain bowl from 200-year shipwreck up for auction in Wooler

Porcelain bowl from sunken Chinese ship to be auctioned in Northumberland

Jim Railton The porcelain bowl from the 1822 wreck of the Chinese vessel Tek Sing which is to be auctioned in Northumberland
The porcelain bowl from the 1822 wreck of the Chinese vessel Tek Sing which is to be auctioned in Northumberland

A porcelain bowl from a Chinese vessel which sank almost 200 years ago has surfaced in Northumberland - where it will be auctioned tomorrow.

The three-masted, ocean-going junk Tek Shing at 1,000 tons was a huge ship for her time when in 1822 she sailed from the Chinese port of Amoy for Jakarta in Indonesia.

She carried 1,600 Chinese emigrants, 200 crew and was packed with a cargo of porcelain, silks and spices.

But the ship, whose name means True Star, hit a reef and sank, with only around 200 people being rescued.

In 1999, British explorer and salvor Mike Hatcher located the wreck after several weeks of searching.

Jim Railton Stacks of porcelain brought to the surface in the salvage operation on the Tek Sing
Stacks of porcelain brought to the surface in the salvage operation on the Tek Sing
 

Divers found large iron hoops around a metre wide at regularly-spaced intervals. It was realised that these rings were used to strengthen the wooden mast of a sailing ship – and this mast must have been around 100ft in length.

The divers followed the rings to the site of the wreck. Out of the gloom emerged a shiny blue and white porcelain bowl.

Divers then found stacks of porcelain bowls up to two metres high on the sea bed.

Because they had been so tightly packed, many of the bowls were still in good condition.

Tomorrow auctioneer Jim Railton will sell one of the bowls at his Northern Auction Centre in Wooler, together with a signed book by Mike Hatcher titled Treasures of the Deep which describes the salvage operation.

Jim Railton The book of autograpghs of Sixties stars, including the original Roling Stones line up, collected by a North East fan which is to be sold
The book of autograpghs of Sixties stars, including the original Roling Stones line up, collected by a North East fan which is to be sold
 

The price estimate is £70-£90.

Mr Railton said: “The bowl is in relatively good condition considering that it has been under the water for so long. The salvage operation was a case of archaeology meeting antiques.

“This is an opportunity to acquire an object which is part of the mystery of the wreck and the bravery of the salvage operational.”

Also in the sale is an a book of autographs of many of the groups behind the sounds of the Sixties.

It is being sold by a woman from Chester-le-Street in County Durham who collected the signatures in the Sixties, and is priced at £500-£700.

It includes the autographs of the original Rolling Stones line up, Alan Price, Manfred Mann, Wayne Fontana and the Fourmost.

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