Weird Universe


Groucho Sells Bonds


Who would buy anything that Groucho was trying to sell? I can't imagine this campaign moved too many bonds.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Dec 31, 2013 | Comments (15)
Category: Government, Money, Advertising, 1940's

Why the poor are happier than the rich

From the Washington Post - April 30, 1916.

The gist of the article is summed up in the first paragraph:

The poor do not have to worry about what they are going to wear or where they will spend the summer or winter. They have good appetites and enjoy their food when they get it. They lead hard lives and so grow strong and healthy and do not have dyspepsia. They do not have to buy a burial cloth or order a mausoleum. As they have no money to leave, no one is anxious to see them die.

As far as I can tell, the Duke of Manchester (William Montagu), wrote this without a hint of irony or sarcasm. He seemed to genuinely believe that being born rich was a great burden. So it's interesting that he did his best to relieve himself of his riches and become poor. From wikipedia:

Manchester was a notorious spendthrift, and as a result of the excessive spending of both him and the prior two Dukes, the family's fortune (already low) was completely exhausted, culminating in the sale of the family's lands during the tenure of the tenth Duke. He spent much of his life abroad, evading creditors, seeking out wealthy consorts, and attempting to extract money from wealthy acquaintances. He is perhaps most well known in America from the leading case of Hamilton v. Drogo, 150 N.E. 496 (N.Y. 1926), which concerned the establishment of a spendthrift trust for the benefit of the young Duke.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Nov 10, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Money, 1910's

Wallet Screams If You Don’t Have The Money

Too bad this is only a prototype -- mass distribution isn't planned. But what a great/terrible idea!!

Not only does it run away if you are out of money, it screams for help if you pick it up. It will also call your mother to tell on you.

The bad news is that when you have money it starts suggesting buying Amazon products as it scoots towards you playing classical music.
Posted By: gdanea | Date: Mon Oct 28, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Money

Lottery Tips

"Numbers are very unpredictable....Let's use a little bit of reality..."

Uh, yeah, right, um, just remembered, I left the cat boiling back home--gotta run!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Oct 28, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, Money, Outsider Art, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Saving Money for the Weak of Willpower


I like this idea a lot. Why doesn't any bank offer such a plan today?


Original ads here (scroll down).
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Oct 19, 2013 | Comments (8)
Category: Money, Psychology, 1900's

The Man Who Owned the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth, a dedicated altruistic soul who ran it until his death in 1912.

But he also had to be a canny businessman, and in 1878 he had the entire holdings of the enterprise put into his name as sole proprietor.


That paragraph above comes from this Australian newspaper, which state that at time of Booth's death the Australian holdings alone amounted to "over half a million pounds."

I find the figure of £975,000 for worldwide holdings from this 1912 biography of Booth. An online inflation calculator for British pounds figures that sum equals £81,700,000.00 today.

So the selfless General was a multimillionaire when he was Promoted to Glory and passed on the Sally to his son Bramwell.

I can't find any data on when the Booth family gave over control of the Army to some kind of board of directors. I assume they did. Did they?

Does any WU-vie have the answer?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Sep 23, 2013 | Comments (17)
Category: Charities and Philanthropy, Money, 1910's

Most Expensive Everything


We often feature luxury or dumb or crazy products that cost an unreasonable fortune. Well, here's a website that highlights nothing else.

Most Expensive website.

For instance, above is the Most Expensive Honey they could find, $83.00 per jar.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Jul 27, 2013 | Comments (1)
Category: Money, Outrageous Excess

Man inherits 143 Trillion Marks

From the Daily Kennebec Journal - Aug 23, 1928:

Remarkable confidence in the future ability of the German nation to redeem at "a reasonable price" all outstanding German paper marks issued during the World War is found in one of the clauses of the will of a wealthy out-of-State man whose death occurred recently and whose will has been filed with Assistant Attorney General Philip D. Stubbs for the assessment of the Maine inheritance tax on the shares of the Maine corporations in the estate. The will was drawn in June of 1926.

The deceased left an estate of approximately $800,000, aside from one hundred and forty-three trillion German marks which had cost him about $6,000. The will is unique in the fact that the executor is directed to hold these marks until such time as they shall be redeemed rather than to appraise them as practically worthless.

The following clause in the will covers this point:

"In the belief that the German people will ultimately require redemption of all outstanding German paper marks issued during the World War of 1914-1918 at a reasonable price, I direct my said executor and trustee to continue to hold the German paper marks of such issue as may belong to me at the time of my death (amounting to about one hundred and forty-three trillion marks according to the American method of reckoning) until such marks can be sold at about the cost thereof to me, namely about $6000."

Although the article says the trillions of marks were acquired during World War I, that must be wrong. The period of German hyperinflation occurred from 1921-1924.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jul 07, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Money, 1920's

Blue Bills

Montana Public Radio reports about artist Tim Holmes, who's dying money blue and giving it away. He also stamps it with the phrase, "Based on the value of a clean world!" He hopes this will prompt a widespread discussion about environmentalism. Why? Because the money is blue. He elaborates at his website

Regular green bills express no value. The money we use every day is backed by NOTHING! Its only value is what others think it has. But when two people exchange a Blue Bill, both agree on the value of a clean environment and a healthy community. Every exchange thus is a vote for a clean world! 

So green = "no value" but blue = "clean environment and a healthy community". Got it?
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat May 11, 2013 | Comments (11)
Category: Art, Money
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.