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An honest counterfeiter?

Well, more honest than certain modern counterfeiters we all know and love.

Over the weekend, brought up the charming, touching (and true) tale of “Mr. 880,” whose perfectly awful counterfeit $1.00 bills stymied the Secret Service for 10 full years.

Must be a lesson in there somewhere …

Source for those who can’t see the embedded video.

And here’s another account of Mr. 880’s story, with an ending that sounds just a little too good to be true.


  1. Pat
    Pat April 30, 2013 2:39 am

    There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

    I wonder if 3-D gun (counter-)printing could leave a false trail for the gun-grabbers.

  2. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal April 30, 2013 7:19 am

    Counterfeiting… 3D printers… I wonder if a 3D printer could produce perfect plates. Just a thought. You’d still have the paper and “security strips” to deal with, but still… Or, you could 3D print coins. Hmmm.

    Anyway, I thought you were gonna talk about Bernard von Nothaus- the only “counterfeiter” to ever make real money out of silver, that the makers of fake copper/nickel “money” were worried might be mistaken for theirs.

  3. Bonnie
    Bonnie April 30, 2013 9:09 am

    I remember that movie – I’d like to see it again. 🙂

  4. Shel
    Shel April 30, 2013 6:10 pm

    With the Fed’s making funny money and millions of it disappearing into the abyss, it’s hard to see how counterfeit cash is a significant problem by comparison. I’m told by cashiers at small businesses that a lot of it is out there, though. It’s interesting to watch the technology contest with changing greenback designs. By rumor it’s possible to detect and even count cash from a distance. Perhaps the commentariat might know something about this.

    When in high school, a friend and I attempted to pass a piece of blue South American currency to a cross-eyed woman at an ocean side amusement park. She immediately and astutely recognized our – er – innocent mistake. This was evidenced by a remarkable contraction of facial musculature and modest horizontal head rotation. In near unison my friend and I announced our great relief at not having parted with such a valuable possession by accident.

    The best counterfeiting story I know is found in the book The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. Count Victor Lustig, as he was known, had a device known as a Rumanian box. It was impressive, well made with adjustment knobs, etc. Lustig would obtain two bills identical in serial numbers except one had a”3″ and the other had an “8.” Lustig would ink in the “3” to match the other. One was placed in the box and the mark (i.e., sucker) was told it took a number of hours to produce the counterfeit bill. Lustig would make a show of effecting the proper adjustments; at the end of the stated time another bill was taken out of the box. The mark would take it to a bank, where he would be told it was genuine. Lustig would take the sale proceeds and scoot. By making it seem like a difficult process, he might also buy (pun intended) himself even more time, as the mark might think he simply wasn’t doing things correctly.

    A brief biography of Lustig can be found at When he told his accomplice that they were going to sell the Eiffel tower a second time, the reply was they coundn’t because they had already sold it. With infallible and brilliant logic Lustig opined, “[W]hy not, we didn’t own it in the first place.”

  5. Marlana
    Marlana May 1, 2013 3:28 am

    His paper money was about as credible as our paper money today. At least he was doing it to take care of himself rather than push an agenda. Still, wrong is wrong. May have to search that movie out.

  6. KenK
    KenK May 1, 2013 10:45 am

    The feds would not have wrist slapped Mueller these days. No love in the heart of the city these days either. Like Bob Dylan sang: “To live outside the law you must be honest”.

  7. A.G.
    A.G. May 6, 2013 1:43 pm

    Well now! I’ve known Zach for several years. Been through a lot together, but never would have thought him the type.

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