Paper Money

Post from St. Lucia returns bank note stolen 33 years ago

A museum in England received a £1 bank note in the mail recently — 33 years after the note was stolen from the museum. Screenshot from the BBC website.

Image from BBC website.

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.”

One dollar Federal Reserve noteThe 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.

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