A German woman chanced upon a message in a bottle while holidaying on an island and earned the one-shilling reward promised in the 108-year-old message. But the bigger reward for her was the recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records that her find was the world's oldest message in a bottle.
A recent blog on the recovery of the message in the bottle posted on the Marine Biological Association's (MBA) website said the bottle was recovered on Amrum Island, one of the North Frisian Islands on the German North Sea coast.
The post further said that bottles containing similar postcards were thrown into the southern North Sea "in the early years of the 20th Century as part of the MBA's research into ocean currents and the behaviour of commercial fish".
The initiative was taken by marine biologist George Parker Bidder, whom the association termed as "a significant figure in the development of the MBA (and therefore of marine biology in the UK) in the first part of the 20th Century" in its blog.
"P. Bidder had devised what today we would call a 'citizen science' project. Bidder released over 1,000 'bottom-trailer' bottles into the North Sea between 1904 and 1906 and reported a return rate from fishermen (encouraged by a one shilling reward) of around 55%," the blog read.
The post further said the most significant finding of Bidder's experiments "was that in the southern North Sea many of his bottom-trailers got cast on the English shore, whereas floating bottles would, for the most part, move across the North Sea towards the continent. He deduced from this that river outflow causes a shoreward flow of denser salt water."
Guinness World Records has confirmed that the message in the bottle was the oldest message found in a bottle ever, the association said in the blog.
"The oldest message in a bottle spent 108 years and 138 days at sea after being released by the Marine Biological Association (UK) in the North Sea (52° 4.8' N; 003° 37' E), on 30 November 1906. The message was found at Amrum Island, Germany, on 17 April 2015.
"The message took the form of a postcard asking the finder to send the card back to the Marine Biological Association, stating where it was found, in return for a one shilling reward. The message was found by Marianne Winkler (Germany), who duly returned the card to sender. It is not known how Marianne plans to spend her shilling," a report on the Guinness World Records's website read.
The previous such record was held by a 99 years and 43 days old bottle found in Shetland in 2013, according to the Guardian.
The association confirmed that they "honoured the promise on the postcard" by sending a reward of one shilling to the finder of the bottle.