198-year-old banknote stolen from museum in 1984 returned by airmail

A 198-year-old banknote stolen from a British museum in 1984 was mysteriously returned via airmail from the Caribbean earlier this year.

According to a story published by BBC News, the 1819 £1 note was stolen from Padstow Museum in Cornwall, which is located in south-west peninsula of Great Britain, more than three decades ago.

In a tale “worthy of a TV drama,” museum chair John Buckingham told BBC News the note was returned to the museum without any explanation or return address; however, there’s one clue—the airmail postage was paid for using stamps from Saint Lucia, an Eastern Caribbean island nation.

“I was very surprised,” he told Cornwall Live, in another interview. “When I saw the envelope and the postmark I first thought, ‘Who is writing to me from Saint Lucia?’ I just opened it and there was no covering letter or anything. There was a plastic sleeve, like the type a collector might use, and inside was this £1 note.”

According to the BBC News story, the 1984 museum ledger lists the banknote as “stolen”.


“It’s not hugely valuable,” Buckingham told BBC, “but it’s valuable from a local history point of view. I’m just very pleased that the note is back at the museum.”

The note was issued by the Padstow Bank, which was established by a wealthy merchant named Thomas Rawlings in the early 1800s. It will be available to view when Padstow Museum re-opens this Easter.

Leave a Reply

Canadian Coin News


Canadian Coin News is Canada's premier source of information about coins, notes and medals.

Although we cover the entire world of numismatics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Coin News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $59.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier coin publication. Canadian Coin News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.