In the 1890s, the Prince of Wales gave a gift of a gold matchbox to his actor friend Edward H Sothern. While out hunting, Sothern fell from his hose and the matchbox was lost. He had a duplicate made, and when he died, his son Sam, also an actor, inherited it.

On a trip to Australia, Sam gave the matchbox to a Mr Labertouche. Back in England, Sam learnt that the original matchbox had been retrieved 20 years after its loss, by a farmhand who had found it while ploughing a field that very morning. But the coincidence didn't end there.

Sam explained what had happened in a letter to his brother Edward, another actor who was touring America, and who read it while travelling on a train with a companion, Arthur Lawrence. Edward told Lawrence his brother's story, whereupon the man took out a watch chain. Dangling from its end was the duplicate golden matchbox - a gift to him from a Mr Labertouche of Australia.