Six bottles of wine recovered from a ship that sank in 1735 have raised a total of more than $12,700 at an auction in Belgium.
Bidders from Germany, Scandinavia, Holland and Italy competed for the rare wines, which were brought to the surface after the wreck of the Vliegend Hert was discovered in 1982.
Two lots each raised 3,100 euros ($4,065) and the third went under the hammer for 3,500 euros ($4,589) – taking the total for the six bottles to $12,719. It was expected that each pair would fetch between 2,000 and 4,000 euros ($2,607–$5,214).
The prices could have gone even higher, but the auction house warned buyers in the U.S. and the Far East that the bottles were too fragile to be shipped over long distances.
Before the auction, Joris Scott, director of Veiling Sylvies, told Wine-Searcher that several hundred bottles of wine were recovered from the wreck but most were broken. The intact bottles have been given a new seal. According to Scott, only a few bottles are privately owned, with the majority on display in museums.
The wine at Friday's auction was being sold by a collector of antiques and rarities with "a huge wine collection in a near-perfect cellar in a 19th-century house," Scott said.
The Vliegend Hert sank on February 3, 1735, soon after she left the port of Rammekens in Zeeland en route to Batavia (now Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies.
The ship is said to to have been blown off course during a gale before running aground on sandbanks. The crew managed to get her refloated and take her into deeper waters, but the hull was badly damaged and the Vliegend Hert sank with the loss of 256 lives.