'Oldest message in bottle' nets German woman shilling reward
A message in a bottle which washed up more than 108 years after it was thrown into the sea has been confirmed as the world's oldest.
The bottle was released into the North Sea in 1906 and found by a woman on a beach on the German island of Amrum last year.
Inside was a postcard asking that it be sent to the Marine Biological Association of the UK - and promising the sender a shilling if they returned the bottle.
The association in Plymouth said the bottle was one of some 1,000 released as part of marine research carried out by expert George Parker Bidder.
After 108 years, four months and 18 days retired postal worker Marianne Winkler found the bottle in April last year during her holiday on Amrum, about 310 miles (500km) from the UK.
She sent it back to the UK and received an old English shilling (5p) in return.
Guinness World Records has confirmed the message in a bottle as the world's oldest.
Guy Baker, from the Marine Biological Association, said: "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.
"Mr Bidder was a president at the Marine Biological Association from 1939 to 1945, so our receptionist was somewhat confused.
"Bidder released a total of 1,020 bottles between 1904 and 1906 and he reported that his bottles were trawled up by the fishermen at the rate of 55% per annum.
"Some bottles were never returned, assumed to be lost in the open ocean forever. The bottle discovered in Germany was from a set released on November 30 1906."
The previous record for a message in a bottle was 99 years and 43 days . It was found west of the Shetland Islands in July 2013.