1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Message in a bottle beats world record

April 21, 2016

A message in a bottle discovered by a German tourist has achieved a world record. The discovery also came with a monetary reward, albeit one of symbolic value after a century of inflation.

Oldest message in a bottle
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Guinness World Records

Marianne Winkler found the bottle in April 2015 while vacationing on Amrum, one of the North Frisian Islands on the German North Sea coast.

The bottle contained not a love letter, but rather a postcard addressed to British marine biologist George Parker Bidder, who was involved in the development of Britain's Marine Biological Association (MBA). Initially part of an experiment in which the MBA released bottles containing postcards into the ocean as a way to measure the currents and fish behavior, the bottle had been adrift at sea for 108 years and 138 days before Winkler discovered it. The previous Guinness World Records entry stood at 99 years and 43 days.

"The postcard asked the finder to fill out information about where the bottle was found, if it was trawled up, what the boat's name was, and asked once the postcard was completed for it to be returned to a George Parker Bidder in Plymouth for a reward of one shilling," said Guy Baker of the MBA.

The organization said it was thrilled to receive the bottle and postcard, and rewarded Winkler with the one shilling originally promised to whomever returned the found bottles. In old British money, one shilling was worth one-twentieth of a pound, or 12 old pence.

Guiness World Records lauded the discovery, saying it was the oldest message in a bottle to have ever been found.

"It is not known how Marianne plans to spend her shilling," the website adds.

blc/msh (AFP)