May 30, 2013

The prize package envelope sell racket
(Click image to enlarge)

he more things change, the more they stay the same. This old saying is especially true with human nature, which has not changed in a thousand years. The same old swindles Soapy Smith and his Soap Gang used to dupe the unwary with, are nearly as good today as they were 125-years ago. One might think that Soapy's prize package soap sell racket, in which he pretended to wrap money into a few packages of soap and auctioned them off one at a time, after mixing in wrapped cakes of soap containing no money. Rather than standing on a busy street corner as Soapy did in his day, the sharpers of today use technology to their advantage. I found four examples on eBay searching under the key words, "mystery envelope," and I'm certain I could find many more varieties of the same scam searching under different key words. The difference between Soapy and today's cons is that they are using envelops rather than soap bars.

The photograph at the top of this post is located on eBay here. Following is the schtick used in that "sale."

That's right ladies and gentleman you are bidding on a mystery envelope This envelope is guaranteed to have an item inside it valued at least $5.00 USD. Could it be a rookie baseball card? a wrist watch? a joke book? a celebrity autograph? a gift card? a knife? Glassware? A Video Game? CASH????? Who ever wins the auction just message me what number of Envelope you wish to purchase. And if you happen to win a prize I will mail the prize first class Mail or if you happen to win Cash I will issue the cash by Paypal. Thanks and Best of luck. Buy it and find out! any questions please ask SHIPPING INFORMATION: Please contact me with any issues you have before leaving negative feedback. I am sure we can find a solution that would be acceptable for both parties. I offer shipping discounts on multiple item purchases. The buyer must notify the seller after the first item has ended that they have additional items they are bidding on for the discount to apply. I ship 1 day after payment has cleared. Shipping charges are based on U.S. delivery. No international shipping of fixed blade knives. Please remit payment within 3 days of auction close. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your purchase, please don't hesitate to email or contact me. Thank you for your interest.

Trust me, you won't get anything of equal value of what you pay.

P.S. I sent the seller a link to this post to see if he/she cares to give their opinion. They are more than welcome to leave a comment below.

Oh! You can see me…. By the dawn’s early light; With red rings ‘round my eyes from gambling all night.

Victories – so proudly they hailed from the twilights first gleaming. Gave proof through the night, the “House” gave me a “creaming.”
— Postcard poem

MAR 30

1539: Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto lands in Florida with 600 soldiers to search for gold.
1783: The Pennsylvania Evening Post, the first daily newspaper in the U.S., is published by Benjamin Towner.
1848: W. G. Young patents the ice cream freezer.
1854: The U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas are established.
1865: The first recorded celebration of (later called Memorial Day) takes place.
1868: Decoration Day officially becomes Memorial Day (see “1865”).
1879: William Vanderbilt renames New York City's Gilmore’s Garden to Madison Square Garden.
1883: Twelve people in New York City are killed attempting to get off the Brooklyn Bridge when it was rumored that it was collapsing.
1883: Soapy Smith purchases a street vendors license to sell his prize package soap in Washington City, Iowa.
1889: The brassiere is invented.
1896: The first automobile accident occurres in New York City.
1903: the first motorcycle hill climb is held in Riverdale, New York.
1911: Ray Harroun wins the first Indianapolis Sweepstakes. The 500-mile auto race is later named the Indianapolis 500. Harroun's average speed was 74.6 miles per hour.

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