News First-ever SMS sells for $170,000 in Paris

First-ever SMS sells for $170,000 in Paris

first text message nft
The world-first text message was sent in December 1992. Photo: Getty
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

The first text message ever sent, reading “Merry Christmas,” has been sold for €107,000 ($A169,151) as a ‘non-fungible token’ at a Paris auction house.

The text, which was sent on December 3, 1992, was put up for auction by the British telecoms company Vodafone on Tuesday.


Vodafone engineer Neil Papworth sent the SMS from his computer to a manager in Britain. He received it on his two-kilogram “Orbitel” telephone – similar to a desk phone but cordless and with a handle.

“They were in the middle of end-of-year events so he sent him the message ‘Merry Christmas’,” said Maximilien Aguttes, head of development for the Aguttes Auction House.

NFTs are a type of digital asset that has surged in popularity this year, with NFT artworks selling for millions of dollars.

Traded since about 2017, these digital objects, which encompass images, video, music and text, exist on blockchain, a record of transactions kept on networked computers. Each NFT has a unique digital signature.

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

The buyer will receive the replica of the original communication protocol that transmitted the SMS and proceeds will go to the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR.