It’s Old, But Not The Oldest!

On September 21, 2013 I wrote Message in a Bottle which described a 107 year old message-in-a-bottle find. Later on October 29, 2013 I wrote More Messges in Bottles which described more messages found in bottles. It seems that everybody loves to do it!

Today I found this story in The Local – Germany’s News in English dated March 07, 2014.

Fishermen find oldest message in a bottle

German fishermen made a surprising catch this week when they pulled the oldest recorded message in a bottle out of the sea. A man from Berlin scribbled the note 101 years ago. . . . more

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What initially looked like a normal, discarded beer bottle, nestled among fish in the Maria I’s nets, turned out to be a record-breaking find – as it contained a postcard dated May 17th, 1913 written by a man named Richard Platz.

A modest Danish postcard with two German stamps on it and a polite message asking the finder to send it on to his address in Berlin; it appears that Platz could have been trying to save on international postage fees.

But the card never arrived, instead landing in the hands of fishermen from Heikendorf in Schleswig Holstein, on Tuesday – over 100 years later.

“I had it in my hand, but then a colleague told me there was something in it,” skipper Konrad Fischer told regional newspaper the Kieler Nachrichten, explaining he was ready to throw it back into the Baltic.

“When I saw the date I got really excited,” he said.

Until now, the oldest message in a bottle listed in the Guinness Book of Records was 97 years old when found in 2012, making Fischer’s a potential record breaker.

“If the message is really this old, maybe a museum would be interested,” said Fischer, who will be taking his bottled post to experts for them to take a closer look.

Fischer has been a fisherman for 50 years and in that time has found mines, bombs, torpedoes and a corpse in the sea.

He told news agency DPA that he was not sure yet what he would do with the bottle but would “maybe auction it to the highest bidder”. [/private]

On April 08, 2014 The Local reported:
101_5‘World’s oldest’ message in a bottle arrives home
A fisherman pulled the beer bottle with the scribbled message out of the Baltic off the northern city of Kiel last month.

It contained a postcard dated May 17th, 1913 written by a man named Richard Platz.

The modest Danish postcard had two German stamps on it and a polite message asking the finder to send it on to his address in Berlin. . . . more

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Holger von Neuhoff of the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg said: “This is certainly the first time such an old message in a bottle was found, particularly with the bottle intact.”

Researchers then set to work identifying the author and managed to track down his 62-year-old granddaughter Angela Erdmann, who lives in Berlin.

“It was almost unbelievable,” Erdmann told news agency DPA. She was first able to hold the brown bottle last week at the Hamburg museum.

Inside was a message on a postcard requesting the finder to return it to his home address in Berlin. “That was a pretty moving moment,” Erdmann said. “Tears rolled down my cheeks.”

Von Neuhoff said researchers were able to determine based on the address that it was 20-year-old baker’s son Richard Platz who threw the bottle in the Baltic while on a hike with a nature appreciation group in 1913.

A Berlin-based genealogical researcher then located Erdmann, who never knew Platz, her mother’s father who died in 1946 at the age of 54.

Von Neuhoff said a handwriting comparison with letters penned by Platz later in life confirmed that he was “without a doubt” the author.

Erdmann told local newspapers that the surprise discovery had inspired her to look through family scrapbooks to learn more about her grandfather, a Social Democrat who liked to read.

Much of the ink on the postcard has been rendered illegible with time and dampness, von Neuhoff said.

The discovery will be on display at the museum until May 1, after which experts will set to work trying to decipher the rest of the message.

The Guinness World Records had previously identified the oldest message in a bottle as dating from 1914. It spent nearly 98 years at sea before being fished from the water. [/private]

 

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