Is This the World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle?

Photo: Courtesy
George Parker Bidder (right), found bottle (left). Photo: MBA Archive.

George Parker Bidder (right), found bottle (left).
Photo: MBA Archive.

A message in a bottle thrown to sea 108 years ago has been found on a beach in Germany and returned home, according to the Associated Press.

The bottle was one of 1,020 launched between 1904 and 1906 by marine biologist George Parker Bidder as part of a scientific experiment for the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, England. Most bottles were recovered within months, but the one found by Marianne Winkler, a retired post office worker, has been at sea for more than a century.

Marianne and Horst Winkler. Photo: via the Daily Mail/.

Marianne and Horst Winkler.
Photo: via the Daily Mail.

Winckler found the bottle while on vacation on the German North Sea coast, on the island of Amrum, according to the Daily Mail. Within the bottle, Winckler found an old postcard that stated a “one shilling reward” in English, German, and Dutch for the return of the bottle to Plymouth upon discovery.

It also asks the sender to return it with a details of where and when it was found, if it was caught by a trawler net, and the depth of the water it was found in at the time.

The Marine Biological Association is currently attempting to verify whether the bottle is the oldest to be found in the world. “We certainly weren’t expecting to receive any more of the postcards,” Guy Baker, a spokesman for the association, told the AP.

Post card found in the bottel. Photo: AP.

Post card found in the bottle.
Photo: AP.

Although Winckler may have set a world record, she needs to find five more messages in bottles (or MIBs, in collector parlance) to reach Sean Smyth’s personal best. Smyth, a helicopter pilot, who gave tips on how to find MIBs in a New York Times Magazine column said, “A good debris beach is like a secret fishing spot. Once you find it, you keep going back, and you don’t tell anyone else.”

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