The Smoothest Con Man That Ever Lived
September 4, 2012 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Victor Lustig escaped from prisons, fooled Al Capone, and counterfeited millions of dollars. Oh, and he sold the Eiffel Tower for scrap iron.
posted by Chrysostom (8 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That's interesting, as I've currently got the deed to Reunion Tower in Dallas and would be willing to part with it for a completely fair price. I's not the Eiffel Tower (of course!) but it's got a revolving restaurant where I keep Wolfgang Puck chained to a radiator and ready to make you a snack at even the most unpleasant of early morning hours. My email's in my profile.
posted by item at 6:12 AM on September 4, 2012

Wow, people sure were gullible back in the days before the Internet made us cynical and more suspicious of everything as a potential hoax. It's getting to the point where I almost even believe in bonsai kittens anymore.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:49 AM on September 4, 2012

Why is it that crime in the 20s always seems more fun?
posted by cacofonie at 7:19 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Somehow, I don't foresee an exhibit at the Smithsonian in 50 years jovially explaining "And then, Madoff promised guaranteed 10% returns, every year forever, and people bought it!"
posted by cacofonie at 7:22 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Why is it that crime in the 20s always seems more fun?

Because almost everything in the 20s seems more fun from this distance.

(Also, great link.)
posted by immlass at 7:28 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

The article has a couple of great (unintentional?) cross-language puns. "Poisson bit" (poisson is French for 'fish') and "Lustig money" (lustig is German for 'funny').
posted by jedicus at 7:36 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Lustig was the original "Bouncing Czech."

Comedy genius.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:48 AM on September 4, 2012

I highly recommend reading The Man Who Sold The Eiffel Tower as told by Floyd Miller. James F. Johnson, former US Secret Service agent, chases Victor Lustig around the country. For some years, Victor was America's Most Wanted.
I read this some twelve years ago, and at the end of the book....spoiler alert: Victor is dead! And was buried, at the time of reading it, in the graveyard across the street from my former house.
It is honestly a very unbelievable story.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 9:12 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

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