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  • British Provincial Swindles in the Nineteenth Century September 25, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    fagin oliver

    More in our swindlers series.

    Bee Trick: X carries bees around in a matchbox and releases them onto young wealthy women. The bee attaches to the dress that X pats down, then Y picks their pockets while they are distracted. Sus Adv, 2 Sept 1851, 8.

    Betting Man: X goes to working class houses announcing that the husband had won money on the horses but explaining he can only pick up the winnings if the wife pays some money as the bet was not properly paid for. Glouc Jou, 15 Dec 1894, 2.

    Double Packet: well-dressed X goes into pawnbroker shop (owner = victim) with his topcoat in a white bundle. He has lost his money and needs to get home and wants 15 shilling; victim offers 10. The man refuses and leaves the shop with his packet, but then after a few seconds come back again: he has decided to accept the offer. He hands over the package and only when x has left the shop does victim realise that this is a second package with a worthless old topcoat in. Dun Cour, 22 Feb 1889, 6.

    Magazine Competition: The victim gets a letter informing that a new magazine is being launched and that a substantial prize sum is being offered for the best suggestion for the title of the magazine. The victim writes in with a suggestion, which wins. However, the return letter explains that they cannot give 100 pounds in prize money until the victim gives fifteen shillings subscription. Shef Ev Tel, 4 Sept 1899, 5

    Mummy Dear: X writes to mothers (victims) advertising in magazines and newspapers and looking for lost sons. Yes, dear Mummy, he is their lost son and will come to them if only they can send money for transport… Shef Dai Tel, 12 Oct 1894, 5

    Police Help: X turns up in city and says to be sent from a police force on the other side of the country. With the help of the local police they arrest victim (a rich man in a local hotel) and X confiscates all valuables, then disappears, leaving the local police to pick up the pieces. Gran Jour, 7 Jan 1865, 4

    Railway Help: X, young presentable woman, befriends victim (usually elderly matron) at station. They get to talking and discover that they are going to the same place. X offers to go and buy the ticket and then never returns. Hull Pack, 1 Feb 1884,

    Seeds: X advertises that he will send two hundred different varieties of seeds: victim buys and a packet arrives with two hundred seeds in it! Falk Her, 28 Apri 1872, 4.

    Vomit Trick: X crams her mouth full of a fatty substance and then manages to get the fat on a well-dressed woman’s skirt. She informs her victim of the ‘vomit’ and helps clean her being rewarded. The writer didn’t note this, but surely this was an attempt at pickpocketing, probably with a Y in the background. Ed Ev News, 21 Apri 1879, 3.

    Want a Job: X offers jobs, gives jobs to victims who must buy a sample case and go out on sham missions, leaving their effects. X disappears with money and effects. Dun Ev Tel, 22 May 1879, 3

    Can any add to these: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com