A historian made a cracking find at an auction and bought the world’s two oldest EASTER EGGS—including one that dates back to the 19th Century.
Mark Lawrence, 31, believes his two eggs—a chocolate egg from 1912, and a painted duck egg from 1899—smash the current record for oldest Easter treat, from 94.
The chocolate ‘Piet Van Klinkenberg’ egg was made in Germany and sold in the UK, possibly as a gift to a relative who passed away before they had the chance to eat it.
Mark runs Reading-based charity History Portal, who promote history across Berkshire, and bought the egg last year at an auction.
He said: “Normally when I spot something at an auction like that I get a real gut feeling, and I’d seen another old egg but it was nowhere near as old as these two.
“There’s no central registry about the age of Easter eggs but we’re hoping to get ours verified by Guinness World Records.
“At the moment, the oldest egg is 94 years old and it’s in Canada.
“We bought the eggs at auction and are hoping to display them at Easter at Reading Museum.”
Mark named the chocolate egg after his late friend Pieter van Klinkenberg, who died aged 71 in December.
The painted ‘Sallie Maxwell Bennett’ egg is named after its original owner and likely creator.
Sallie was the wealthy widow of Louis Bennett, Speaker of the House of Delegates in the US Congress, and the Mother of WWI fighter pilot hero, Louis Bennett Jr.
Mark spotted the painted duck egg in an auction in October 2017, and said he was able to spot that it was a record holder because of the knowledge he’d built since buying the chocolate egg.
He bought the eggs at Bellman’s Auctioneers in Billingshurst, West Sussex.
Mark added: “This wonderful chocolate Easter egg was made in 1912, most likely in Germany and supplied to a UK retailer.
“Chocolate eggs were expensive luxury items in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, made exclusively for adults.
“It is not known why this luxury item was not consumed but it is possible that the sweet treat was a gift for an individual that passed away before having the opportunity to enjoy it.
“Items related to deceased people were often retained by grieving relatives, so that might be why they kept it.
“In terms of the painted egg, during the Victorian era, it was a common pastime to decorate real eggs, from hen to ostrich eggs.
“One detail that makes these eggs extra special is that they are both dated.
“The Klinkenberg egg is engraved with the date 1912 and the Bennett egg has the inscription ‘Easter Greetings 1899’ on the back.”
The chocolate egg is probably edible, as it is not perishable, although Mark said he has no plans to crack it open.