The first-ever Postal Order sells for almost £5k
The first-ever Postal Order sells for almost 5k
Over a century on, a shrewd investor's hunch has been proved right
Arthur Bull waited for hours to be the first in line for the new way of sending money through the post.
It was New Year's Day, 1881 and Britain was the first country in the world to issue postal orders - a method of sending money through the post which was intended to make it more difficult for thieves to get their hands on it.
Lombard Street Money Order Office duly offered him a postal order - with serial number 000001 - for one shilling. But Bull never had any intention of cashing it.
First Postal Order
He guessed that as the item was completely unique, someday someone would want it as a piece of history. Yesterday his grandson's widow, now grandmother to five herself, proved him right.
Much interest was stoked up in the valuable 129-year-old item at Warwick & Warwick auctions and bidders pushed past the 2,500 estimate to 4,485.
It's perhaps misleading to say that as a shilling was worth five new pence, it sold for nearly 100,000 times what was paid for it, but it would be an understatement to say that it was worth waiting in line for a few cold hours.
With many collectibles, including rare stamps, excellent pieces are often gained by those who are first in the queue to buy, whether entirely by design, as in Bull's case, or with some luck, as with William T Robey who bought the only known sheet of Inverted Jenny stamps.
Image: Warwick& Warwick