22 Aug 2019
December 20, 2012 - Filed under: Antiques News — Richard

If someone wants to buy a Victorian oak partners desk or antique balloon backed dining chair in the Ribble Valley, a credit card is a convenient way to pay for it.

“Putting it on the plastic” has become a familiar way to spread the cost of everything from fine furniture to the week’s groceries. Now, one of the rarest credit cards in existence – a 1960 IBM prototype of the first card with a magnetic strip – is to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s, New York, with an estimated value of $10,000 – 15,000.

One of only two such prototypes known to have survived, the card was put on public display on the weekend of Saturday 8th December, to be sold on 14th December at an auction of Manuscripts and Fine Books. It is one of two cards made by a team of IBM developers headed by Forrest Parry and Jerome Svigals. The other card is in the Computer History Museum, California.

The aim was to update early versions of three other cards in use at the time (American Express, Bank of America (VISA) and Diner’s Club) with a new data storage system allowing easy access to consumer data, at the same time raising computer sales for IBM. Svigals kept the first prototype card in his wallet for the next 40 years – a time in which many changes in the world of technology were made.

Anyone wanting a safe place to put their own flexible friend should consider an antique mahogany partners desk . A Preston antique dealer should have one in stock, no doubt with flexible payment options.

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