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How Four Americans Robbed the Bank of England

The Great City Forgeries: Trial Of The Accused At The Central Criminal Court. Austin Biron Bidwell; George Macdonnell; George Bidwell; Edwin Noyes; Henry Avory, Esq., Clerk Of The Court; Mr. Justice Archibald Alderman; Sir W.r. Carden, 1873 Engraving. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Paul Brown | Longreads | June 2020 | 22 minutes (5,961 words)

On April 18, 1872, Austin Bidwell walked into Green & Son tailors on London’s renowned Savile Row and ordered eight bespoke suits, two topcoats, and a luxurious dressing gown. Bidwell was 26 years old, 6ft tall, and handsomely groomed with a waxed mustache and bushy side-whiskers. If the accent didn’t give it away, his eye-catching western hat marked him out as an American — a rich American. London tradesmen called Americans with bulges of money in their pockets “Silver Kings,” and they were most welcome in upmarket establishments like Green & Son, which charged as much for the strength of their reputations as for the quality of their goods.

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