‘Merry Christmas’: World’s First Text Message Sold for $121,000

The world’s first text message was auctioned off for £90,000 ($121,000) yesterday.

Sent in December 1992 and saying ‘Merry Christmas’, the text was sold by Vodafone.

Engineer Neil Papworth sent the SMS from his computer to colleague Richard Jarvis, who received it on his Orbitel cordless telephone.

‘They were in the middle of end-of-year events so he sent him the message “Merry Christmas,”’ said Maximilien Aguttes of the Aguttes auction house in Paris.

A year later Nokia introduced the SMS system on its handset.

The text was sold as a non-fungible token – a type of digital asset.

Each NFT is unique and can include images, video and text.

The buyer, who asked to remain anonymous, will receive a replica of the protocol that transmitted the SMS.

Proceeds will go to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

The selling of intangible goods is not legal in France and so the auction house has packaged the text message in a digital frame, displaying the code and communication protocol, Aguttes said.

Among those in the auction hall was 18-year-old blockchain entrepreneur Luigi Caradonna, who bowed out of bidding when the price rose above £63,000.

‘I thought it would be interesting to have this piece of history to hold it as an asset until next year and to sell it next Christmas,’ he told AFP.

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