Earlier this month, a family in Perth, their car bogged near a beach, discovered a rare find. As Tonya Illman and Grace Ricciardo walked through the dunes, she spotted a bottle sticking out of the sand.

She then proceeded to pick up the vintage-looking bottle and decided that it would make an excellent addition to her bookcase back home. She then gave it to her son’s girlfriend who then dumped out the sand.

But the sand was not the only thing to fall out of this old beached bottle. Out came a note; damp from the sand, rolled tightly and wrapped in string. Curious, the family took the bottle and the note home and dried it in the oven.

It was then they discovered that they found something more than just a piece of home decor. The note was a form printed in German, with very faint German writing.

After some research on her husband’s part, they found out that the bottle and the note and bottle was part of an official drift bottle experiment by the German Naval Observatory, then called the Deutsche Seewarte between 1864-1933.

message in a bottle
image source: geekologie.com

The experiment consisted of thousands of bottles with messages on them, being thrown overboard. Each bottle contained a form that stated where and when the bottle was thrown from and also has instructions for the finder which said that they must return the bottle and its contents to the German Naval Observatory or the nearest German Consulate.

After finding out that their beached bottle of gin may have been part of a big historical experiment, the Illmans contacted the Western Australia Museum where experts got in touch with professionals from Germany and the Netherlands who confirmed the legitimacy of their find.

They even went on to say that the paper inside was luckily preserved and that it may have originally carried a cork which most likely dried up and disintegrated over the years. The sand inside the bottle played a critical role in preserving the paper inside.

As of today, the Illmans have lent the 132-year-old bottle to the Western Australia Museum for the next two years so that others may learn more about it.

If the Illman’s can find something as extraordinary by accident, just imagine what spoils await you. Rent a car from Alpha Car Hire today and go on an epic adventure in search of treasures and more.

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