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Those “Soft Hundred Dollar Bills” (1910)

Those “Soft Hundred Dollar Bills” (1910)

“At the risk of telling a twice-told tale …”

– The Adventure of the Empty House (EMPT)


A “soft” $100 note from the First National Bank of Danville, Illinois

“The request for an ‘old soft hundred dollar bill’ has become so frequent of late,” said the ladies teller in an uptown bank, “that I made so bold as to ask a friendly depositor what this feminine craze for shabby hundred dollar bills stood for.

“’All your hundred dollar bill ladies have autos, I suppose?’ she said. I admitted that most of them had.

“’Most of them have country places within easy motoring distance?’ was her next question. I thought a minute and said that many of them were semi-suburbanites.

“She then went on to say that if I was any kind of a Sherlock Holmes I’d be able to put these facts together and see that suburban living often necessitate rapid motoring; that this meant arrest and that bail was a good thing to have on hand. An extra hundred dollar bill, closely wadded and pinned under a cushion of the machine was fairly safe from theft and often saved the situation. A new bill is too crisp for pinning and is apt to rustle when touched. The old bill’s just the thing for tucking away in a card case or vanity bag or pinning in some pocket of the machine. ‘Quite safe, but effective,’ was the way she summed up the bailing virtues of the shabby hundred dollar bill.” – New York Sun

 Originally published in The Bankers Magazine, December 1910 (Volume 81, page 998)

A tip of the hat to the Newman Numismatic Portal where we found this digitized article.

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