Treasure Auction Flops

Cirebon Treasures


By Ulma Haryanto - Jakarta Globe


Going once, going twice, fail.

The highly anticipated — at least locally — auction of a 10th-century treasure trove valued at around $80 million flopped on Wednesday when not a single bidder bothered to show up.

Embarrassingly for local officials, the auctioneer was forced to abandon the auction at the Ministry of Fisheries in Central Jakarta just five minutes after it opened.

Adi Agung Tirtamarta, chief executive officer of PT Paradigma Putra Sejathera, the local partner of Belgian treasurer hunter Luc Heymans, said the failure indicated that it was clearly time for the government to revise its regulation requiring potential bidders to first pay a hefty deposit of $16 million, or 20 percent of the reserve price of $80 million.

Adi said the deposit requirement was unique to Indonesia.

The gems, crystal ware, gold and porcelain were salvaged from an unidentified wreck off Cirebon, West Java, in 2004.



West Java Jakarta Cirebon Luc Heymans Cosmix Underwater Research Ltd