Have $34,000 to spare? A scrap of paper that helped bring about the Falklands War could be yours. On March 18, 1982, members of the British Antarctic Survey set out for whaling stations on the island of South Georgia, 1,400 miles east of the Falklands Islands. A day later, they found the Argentine flag flying high over a BAS building in Port Leith which had been ransacked by some 50 Argentine Marines, reports the Telegraph. In a diary entry dated March 20, BAS scientist Neil Shaw recalls visiting the Argentine party to deliver a message from the Sir Rex Hunt, governor of the Falkland Islands, which Shaw had written down in green ink after "searching the building for a pen and paper." Hunt demanded the party return to their ship and report to a marine base at Grytviken.
The instructions were "read out to the ship's captain," who said "he had clearance to come ashore from the Argentine government," Shaw wrote. "I took the letter and we left." By April 2, Argentina had invaded the Falklands and only surrendered 10 weeks later after 255 British troops had been killed. It wasn't until much later that Shaw remembered the letter in his diary, now for sale from Fraser's Autographs. "We all know what happened in the conflict, but it is not something we really talk about," says a rep. "That is why this piece is so poignant." A former captain recently confessed that a ship that helped liberate the Falklands later became a "party boat full of prostitutes" for US Navy officers, per the Plymouth Herald. (Tensions over the Falklands are resurfacing.)