October 30, 2013

Soap with a valuable ring inside: A modern swindle of Soapy Smith proportions.

Soap with a prize inside!

ings worth $10 to $7500 with each bar of soap!

My good friend, Leah, up in Seattle, Washington clued me in on a soap ring. No not the bath tub variety, but actual soap, with a diamond ring prize inside. It has to be real because they are giving each buyer 10% off their first order (sarcasm).

The firm is called Jewelscent. For $15.00 a bar you can get a $10 ring (their appraisal). Once you have your soap "enjoy the luxurious lather of your Moroccan oil soap. As the soap wears down, your surprise jewel will be contained in a plastic pouch. Simply pull it out, dry, and remove the jewel from the pouch. Enjoy the rest of your soap and your dazzling new jewel!"

On their FAQ (frequently asked questions) page they state.

All of the rings we include in our products are worth anywhere from $10 to $100. If it’s valued more than that and up to $7,500, you will find a golden token with a claim number. Contact us, and we’ll ship out your prize in a separate package with a certificate of value.

Could it be this easy? What a perfect time to swindle the victim a second time. I'm pretty certain there is no $7,000 ring to be had, but I bet anyone that gets that "golden token" (if there is one) will get a very confusing document that requires more money and a legal loophole (an 'out') so that no big prize is ever won, or received.

What, me worry?

Although the site is "safe" and "inspected and monitored" (by whom) I recommend using Soapy's old message in Latin that hung on the entrance to the Tivoli Club in Denver, "Caveat Emptor," in purchasing this product. They do make a great souvenir example of a swindle game that is very related to the prize package soap sell racket performed by Soapy Smith.

Prize package racket

Prize package soap sell racket: pages 8, 15, 37-39, 41, 43, 45-56, 58, 75, 95-97, 106, 119-20, 149, 159, 163, 410, 464, 485.

"Dear Mr. con man
you wicked old sinner now
ain't you ashamed your con-
duct is simply a fright
With your jackpot to sweeten
And straights to be beaten
And chips that pass in the night"
— L.R.P. 1909


1735: John Adams, the future second president of the U.S., is born in Braintree, Massachusetts. His son, John Quincy Adams, will become the sixth president.

1831: Escaped black slave Nathaniel "Nat" Turner is apprehended in Southampton County, Virginia, several weeks after leading the bloodiest slave uprising (August 21, 1831) in American history, resulting in 60 white deaths and at least 200 black deaths. Turner is convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged on November 11, 1831.

1857: Soldiers from Fort McIntosh, Texas pursue and attack a band of Comanche Indians who had been raiding Laredo, Texas.

1864: Last Chance Gulch, in Montana Territory, is renamed Helena. Helena becomes a gold rush, the second biggest placer gold deposit in Montana, producing about $19 million in gold in just four years. In 1875, the city becomes the capital of Montana Territory, and in 1894, the capital of the new state of Montana.

1866: The outlaw James-Younger gang robs the Alexander and Company Bank in Lexington, Missouri of $2,011.50.

1868: Construction begins on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad in Topeka, Kansas.

1875: The Reverend O. P. Mains persuades bad man Clay Allison to beat a confession out of Cruz Vega, in a New Mexico Territory jail. Vega is suspected of assisting in the murder of Reverend F. J. Tolby. Vega implicated Manuel Cardenas as the murderer, and then vigilantes hung Vega from a pole. Vega was suffering so Allison shot the man dead. The body was taken down and dragged through the streets, and then left in the desert without a burial. On November 10th vigilantes stormed a jail and shot Cardenas to death.

1875: The constitution of Missouri is ratified by popular vote.

1882: George Ruby, a black Reconstruction politician, dies of malaria in New Orleans, Louisiana. Born and educated in the North, Ruby served with the Freedmen's Bureau, and was elected to the Texas State Senate in 1869. At the end of Reconstruction he retired and moved to Louisiana.

1893: The U.S. Senate gives final approval to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890. This act destroyed the silver boom towns, such as Creede, Colorado, where Soapy Smith ruled as underworld boss. It is also partly at fault for the Panic of 1893.

1894: The time clock is patented by Daniel Cooper of Rochester, New York.


  1. Hi there! Actually, to this date, over 26 gold tokens have been found - and the company is not yet a year old. One lucky customer very recently got her hands on a $600 Aquamarine & Diamond pendant. Jewelscent does not require any additional money if a gold token is found - the reason they use a gold token is to protect extra-valuable item just in case something happens to the product before it reaches its intended customer. All they need to do is follow the instructions included with the gold token and send an email - then Jewelscent mails out their prize to them. No additional charge! It's REAL. I have yet to find a ring as cheap as $10. I have a cute set worth $66, and a friend found a ring worth $98 inside her candle. Anything over $100 will be a gold token :) Bottom line, it's not a scam. The products are high quality (candles are hand-poured soy wax, the soap is Moroccan Argan Oil, and all are scented with essential oils - NOT the crappy chemical stuff) and you can even select you preferred ring size - unlike OTHER ring-in-candle companies out there.

    1. Hello, Anonymous.

      Thanks for responding, but you won't get any customers on this site. You see, this blog is devoted to the history and methods of old west con man "Soapy" Smith. His real name was Jefferson Randolph Smith II and he was my great-grandfather. They called him "Soapy" because his most famous swindle was the prize package soap sell racket. In camps and towns across the west, between 1878-1898, in which, in full view of a crowd he had gathered, he would seemingly wrap a few cakes of soap with high denomination currency, and throwing them in with cakes of soap containing no cash prizes, he would sell them for $1 each. The sale would progress into an auctioning of the last few bars of soap, which usually netted over $100. It may not seem like much now days, but this swindle helped him finance three criminal empires, two in Colorado and one in Alaska.

      Today, Soapy's prize package soap sell racket still rakes in the dough. You can find it under "money soap." I collect them, but I never open them. They hold a place of "honor" in my bunco collection. Your operation is similar. I also have several friends who operate bunco games in numerous states, and they tell me the details of how they operate. It's historical curiosity for me. I would love to hear about the real workings of your business, but I fully understand you not wanting to disclose and endanger yourself. Safe travels.


Thank you for leaving your comment and/or question on my blog. I always read, and will answer all questions left here. Please know that they are greatly appreciated. -Jeff Smith