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
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
"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:
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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