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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 47, November 22, 2009, Article 15

THE HENRY FAUNTLEROY HANGING PENNY

Dick Johnson writes:

Certainly there are victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme who would like to see him hanged rather than languish in jail. A dealer at London's Olympia Winter Fine Art and Antiques Fair has for sale a medal with an engraved inscription noting the hanging of a banker who forged checks at his bank for over a decade before he was caught. Garnering publicity for the piece, the owner showed it to the press, which relates how the banker was the "Bernard Madoff" of the 19th century.

The piece was hand inscribed on a George III copper penny. If you examine closely the photo it looks like the monarch's portrait has been engraved to resemble the snout of of pig. The reverse was planed smooth for the lengthy lettering thereon without any evidence of the coin's undertype detail.

Owner Timothy Millett points out it was probably sold at the time as a macabre souvenir like a T-shirt would be today.

Henry Fauntleroy Hanging Penny
What a neat item! Here are some excerpts from the article. -Editor

Intense public anger at cheating bankers is nothing new, this macabre souvenir created to mark the hanging of the 'Bernard Madoff of the 19th century' shows.

The reworked George III penny was fashioned as a memento to the hanging of Henry Fauntleroy, who forged cheques at his bank Marsh, Sibbald & Co for more than a decade before he was found out and it collapsed with enormous debts.

Showing sentiments have changed little over the best part of two centuries, one side of the coin describes Fauntleroy as "The Robber of Widows & Orphans".

The other warns "all insolvent bilking [cheating] bankers" that "The Fate of Fauntleroy" awaits them.

Such a scandal was the Fauntleroy affair that 100,000 turned up outside Newgate Prison near the Old Bailey on 30 November 1824 to watch his execution.

He was the last man in Britain to be hanged for forgery.

Fauntleroy claimed that he had only forged the signatures of hundreds of clients to keep the bank going but lurid accounts of his extravagant spending on numerous women filled the papers for weeks.

To read the complete article, see: Cheating bankers nothing new, 19th century 'Madoff medal' shows (www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/6589144/Cheating-bankers-nothing-new-19th-century-Madoff-medal-shows.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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