Vintage Legos from ’97 ‘shipwreck’ still washing up along coast of Cornwall


Some wrecks at sea produce gold bullion. Arrggh. Others ancient swords and jewels from the east. Avast. As luck would have it, the latest treasures from the deep are vintage Legos, thousands of them, maybe millions, the flotsam of a 1997 voyage.

They’re washing up on the beaches of Cornwall in England, according to the West Briton – and reportedly in Devon, Wales and Ireland too.

Specifically, it’s a “toy armada” of miniature, nautical themed Legos, the loot from the ship Tokio Express, which was hit by a “once in a hundred-year” wave about 20 miles off Land’s End en route to Connecticut in 1997, according to the paper. Teensy Lego scuba gear for a teensy Lego divers. Teensy plastic spear guns. Teensy flippers. Itsy-bitsy octopuses and dragons. Some pictures are here.

Says the paper:

The impact tilted the ship 60 degrees, then 40 degrees back the other way – sending 62 steel containers overboard, including the crate full of Lego. The ship’s manifest revealed 4,756,940 pieces fell into the sea including 3,178,807 light enough to float. They included various nautical packs, including pirates and deep sea divers, as well as policemen, outback adventurers and plastic flowers. Nobody has ever established what happened to the remaining containers but the Lego has been washing up ever since.

The paper quotes Tracey Williams, who has a Facebook page going so people can report in their findings: “The most profound lesson I’ve learned from the Lego story is that things that go to the bottom of the sea don’t always stay there.” That’s why they call it flotsam.

Williams tells the BBC: “These days the holy grail is an octopus or a dragon. I only know of three octopuses being found, and one was by me, in a cave in Challaborough, Devon. It’s quite competitive. If you heard that your neighbor had found a green dragon, you’d want to go out and find one yourself.”

 

 

Fred Barbash, the editor of Morning Mix, is a former National Editor and London Bureau Chief for the Washington Post.
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