Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bank Notes

banknoteFinished the last but one of the Joseph Fletcher novels. It's been a bit odd all the way through the way everyone carries "gold and silver" around, even though he's referring to coins. But in this one (The Talleyrand Maxim) comes this bit of dialog, dealing with some banknotes and blank checks that were taken to cover up a murder by making people think the victim had committed a robbery and run away.
"I can soon ascertain if these bank-notes have reached the Bank of England," said Byner. "That's a simple matter. Now suppose they haven't!"

"Well?" asked Eldrick.

"You know, of course," continued Byner, "that it doesn't take long for a Bank of England bank-note, once issued, to get back to the Bank? You know, too, that it's never issued again. Now if these notes haven't been presented at the Bank--where are they? And if no use has been made of your stolen cheques--where are they?"
So, back then bank notes were IOUs from the Bank of England? That's not a totally new concept - in fact I can remember silver certificates US dollars - but it's a bit startling to see that they were one-time use.

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