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”.

VALUABLE LOCAL HISTORY

“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.

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