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Nguyen-Era Mandarin Cap Purchased at Auction in Spain for EUR600,000

You could buy approximately 35,000 modern baseball caps for the same price.

Viet Nam Plus reports that a mandarin hat, believed to date back to the Nguyen Dynasty, recently sold for EUR600,000 (VND15.6 billion) at an auction in Barcelona, Spain.

The Balclis Auction House opened the auction with the hat priced under EUR600, but intense bidding drove the price to 1,200 times this figure, and ultimately went to an anonymous Vietnamese collector. The bidder is reportedly a businessman infatuated with Hue, who plans to eventually donate the historical cap to the city. 

Few details related to the hat are available, with Balclis' listing simply describing the item as a "Vietnamese Mandarin cap from the Nguyen Dynasty, late 19th century-early 20th century."

It came with a lacquered, gilded box, and also has some minor defects. 

According to the news source, the hat has drawn great interest from Vietnamese historians and researchers impressed by the largely intact nature of the object, and by the fact that it denotes a first-rank mandarin, which is exceptionally rare even among restored hats of this type. 

In 2014, the Hue Monuments Conservation Center was authorized to take part in the auction of a Nguyen Dynasty-era rickshaw taking place in France, an object they eventually won at a cost of EUR55,800. 

The rickshaw, which had been in France for a century, was transported to Vietnam in 2015 and is now displayed at the Dien Tho Palace in the Hue Citadel. 

[Images via Balclis Auction House]

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