World's first text message which read 'Merry Christmas' set to fetch £170,000 at auction

THE world’s first text message will make history again as it is sold at auction nearly 30 years later.

The words “Merry Christmas” were sent to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis in December 1992.


Now the phone giant is selling a virtual replica of the SMS in a world-first auction. It has to be paid for in cryptocurrency and is expected to fetch £170,000.

The winning bidder will receive a digital file containing information, such as the phone number used and the message itself, and will own exclusive rights to it.

Auctioneer Maximilian Aguttes compared it to the first book, phone call or email. He added: “This first text message is a historic testament to human and technological progress.”

Mr Jarvis received the text on his Orbitel 901 handset from Vodafone engineer Neil Papworth.

Mr Papworth, then 22, helped develop the company’s short message service in Newbury, Berks, and sent the seasonal greeting from a computer.

It will become the first text to be sold when the auction is held in Paris on Tuesday.

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The Aguttes Auction House sale is expected to attract tech-savvy bidders from across the world.

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