Sunday, May 20, 2007


Rube Goldberg Goes Underground

So what did tellers use back before counterfeit-detecting markers and UV lights? Well, they kept an Infallible Counterfeit Detector at hand:

It costs quite a few very real dollars now: the bids on this copy reached $695.

Counterfeiting was serious stuff back then -- for centuries in Britain, it was probably the surest way to get yourself hanged. In which case I guess you'd want another item that came auction this week: Premature Burial and How It May be Prevented: With Special Reference to Trance, Catalepsy, and Other Forms of Suspended Animation.

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