Businessman buys ‘world’s oldest postcard’

Joseph Bulmer

Landkey postcard puzzle could herald new postal milestone

A NORTH Devon businessman believes he may have acquired what could prove to be the world’s oldest known postcard.

Hotelier and financial advisor Philip Milton said he bought the 240-year-old postcard to put on display at his Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel, near Knowle.

The handwritten card was discovered in a scrapbook by a London stamp collector and put up for sale on Ebay.

It has no postal markings but is thought to have been hand delivered to an address in Landkey in 1771.

It is addressed from “Barum” to “Mrs Ackland” and says: “Mr and Mrs Baker present their compliments to Mrs Ackland and if it is agreeable will do themselves the pleasure of waiting on her to drink a dish of tea tomorrow afternoon. Barum Monday even June 10th 1771.”

Mr Milton said the Acklands were a famous local family and Mrs Baker could have been the wife of Dr Sir George Baker, an eminent physician.

“While the card is not in especially good condition, never-the-less it is very attractive with a delightful contemporary scene around the outside edge.

“In very tiny letters at the top, held by a cherub, it says ‘invitation’ no doubt being printed originally for party purposes.

“Presently the oldest known picture postcard is from 1840 and sold in 2002 for �31,750 so if correctly attributed now, this find could be rather valuable.”

“The definition of a ‘post card’ is not clear but this card, measuring 93mm by 63mm, was written to convey a message, passed for delivery and seems to fit the bill. If so, it predates the earliest known post card in the world by 77 years, 69 years from use.”

Mr Milton said that he was investigating the postcard’s provenance and importance.