Next door to our exhibit there was a coin and currency dealer and it was a place where they would exchange large notes for smaller currency. One day when I was going for some coffee Don asked me if I would pop into the dealer and exchange a $100 bill and get him five twenties. I duly did so and went back to work behind the counter. As I was having my coffee, I noticed Don and another guy called Ed examining the notes and whispering to each other. Curiosity got the better of me, so I dived into their conversation asking what was amiss. Ed stated that this was an incredible find and these notes were worth thousands. I asked how and Don added they’re misprints. I asked how and was told that they had the wrong President’s head on the $20 Bill. Don went on to say that Andrew Jackson’s picture was on the $20 bill. I asked, “So what?” Ed chimed in to say that it should be Abraham Lincoln’s picture not Jackson. Coming from Europe, we don’t have different heads on different notes so how the hell did I know? Don said that these $20 bills could be worth $10,000 each. So, I’m looking at $50,000 and suddenly wanted a share. Ed asked if I saw any more notes like this when I was exchanging $100 bill. I told him they had a bundle. So, it was agreed that I would go back and now exchange four $100 notes.
As the man in the store was counting out the money, all my greedy eyes could see was $200,000 in misprinted bills. Enter the cop with a booming voice demanding that everyone put their hands on the wall and spread our legs for a pat down. Everyone did so including the two men in the store. The cop stated that we were all busted for a counterfeit ring of forged currency. I almost crapped myself and protested that I was a foreigner and did not know what was going on and was totally innocent. He shouted out that we were all going to jail, and I thought “Oh my God.”
Then the Cavalry, namely, Don and Ed arrived just as the cop was about to cuff me. They were in hysterical laughter as was the store employees and now the cop joined in. I was speechless for a couple of moments as if I had cheated the hangman and I could only laugh at the greed and stupidity of a dumb Irishman and a lesson well learnt. I quickly came to realize that all $20 notes feature a portrait of President Andrew Jackson on the front of the note and a vignette of the White House on the back of the note. Nothing like a great practical note. Footnote, I backed off the Ronson girl and the cop was welcome to her.