When a plain white envelope with a postmark from the island of St.
Lucia arrived at the city museum of Padstow in Cornwall, England, it
was not an ordinary piece of mail. Museum curator John Buckingham’s
initial bewilderment as to who would be writing him from the Caribbean
quickly turned to shock when he looked inside. It held a £1 bank note
issued by the private Padstow Bank in 1817. When Buckingham checked
the museum’s records he found that the same note had been stolen from
the museum in June 1984.
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The Padstow Bank was founded and owned by a local merchant named
Thomas Rawlings. Buckingham told several English news sources “It’s
not hugely valuable, 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 fight against the paper dollar has been
renewed: Inside Coin World:
Newly introduced legislation on Capitol Hill is not the first
attack on the paper dollar. Calls for its elimination have been
voiced since the 1970s.
The envelope had no return address and no other content besides the
note itself. The best explanation for its return may well be thief’s remorse.
A similar note graded Very Good and called rare was sold by Spink in
October 2012 for £390, or $490 at current exchange rates.