On 16 July 1972, two Swedish sports divers,
Bengt-Olof Gustafsson and Stefan Persson were diving off the bird island
Runde along with Eystein Kroh-Dalen from Norway. In a bay southeast of
Kvalneset, the northernmost point of the island, they entered the water
from Mercur II, a boat belonging to a diving club in Ålesund.
the Akerendam, the
Shipwreck, Salvage 1725, Overview,
In a clearing in the three-foot high kelp,
Stefan Persson discovered a quantity of even-sized, small, round stones.
On picking them up, he realised they were coins and that he had stumbled
onto a treasure. He alerted the other two, who in the meantime had found
one of the 40 canons that had been on board the Akerendam. They kept their
discovery secret from the other divers on board Mercur II and the following
day the group of three returned alone with equipment which enabled them
to retrieve the coins. Over a period of three weeks the divers, working
under police protection, were able to salvage close to half a ton of coins.
following year, Bergen Shipping Museum re-examined the site, covering a
somewhat larger area. This investigation resulted in the discovery of approximately
135 kg of coins. After registration at the Coin Cabinet, the treasure was
divided; the finders were allotted 67.7%, the Norwegian state 25.4% and
the Dutch state 7%. Most of the coins that became the property of the Norwegian
state are deposited at the Oslo University Coin Cabinet, but some coins
were distributed to other museums, one of these being the Shipping Museum
in Bergen. The finders' share of the treasure was deposited at the Central
Bank of Norway for several years before it was transported to Switzerland
in 1978 to be auctioned.