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The E-Sylum:  Volume 2, Number 47, November 21, 1999, Article 5

QUICK QUIZ ANSWER #2  

    What famous 1930's crime was solved by tracing serial 
     numbers?   Bonus:  an item of numismatic ephemera 
     which led to the arrest of the suspect was sold in what 
     recent auction?  

     Tom Delorey, Bill Swoger, and Bob Cochran all correctly 
     answered the question, although no one collected the bonus. 
     Bob Cochran summed it up best:  

     "I  believe the second question has to do with a listing of the 
      Gold Certificates used to pay the Lindbergh baby kidnap 
      ransom.  

     "The note that "nailed" Bruno Hauptman was a $10 Gold 
     Certificate.  He passed it at a gas station, and the clerk was 
     so intrigued by the  "funny-looking bill" that he wrote the 
     license plate of Hauptman's car in the margin on the back. 
     The police were watching for notes from the ransom to hit the 
     banks, and when they noticed the numbers in the  margin one 
     of the officers had a hunch that it might be a license  number - 
     and the rest is history.  

      This took place in (I believe) 1934, about 2 years after the 
      ransom had been paid.  

      An article in "American History" magazine about 2 years ago 
      about the first "Trial of the Century" recapped the Hauptman 
      trial, and contained  illustrations of some evidence in the New 
      Jersey State Police Museum -   including a color photo of the 
      back of the $10 Gold Certificate with Hauptman's license 
      plate number written in the margin."  

      Here's an interesting web site about the crime and trial: 
      http://www.lindberghtrial.com/html/front.html  

      The bonus answer?   Lot 1660 of the June 19, 1999 R. M. 
      Smythe sale at the Memphis International Paper Money show 
      was a copy of "The Official List of U.S. $5-$10-$20 Notes 
      Paid by Colonel Lindbergh to the Kidnappers of His Son" 
      The 57-page pamphlet lists the "serial numbers of all the 
      small size notes comprising the Lindbergh ransom money." 
      The lot was estimated at $250-$300, but brought $1660. 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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