F is for Fraudster

By RANDOM DE BERENGER, Charles Augustus; and Christopher STAINBANK, 1814 
£420
£336

Random – Late Partner with Ackerman — & Stainbank, Print Sellers & Publishers… A constant Succession of new Publications, consisting of Medallions, Transparencies, & Borders, also a great Variety of Shell, Flower, China & Landscape Drawings, Gold Ornaments, Colors, Paste Board Shapes, & every Requisite for Drawing, and Fancy Work on the most reasonable Terms, & of the best Quality. Liberal Allowance to the Trade.

Ephemera
  • Author: RANDOM DE BERENGER, Charles Augustus; and Christopher STAINBANK
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: No 17, Old Bond Street
  • Publication date: before 1814
  • Physical description: Engraved trade card.
  • Dimensions: 95 by 70mm. (3.75 by 2.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 17815

Notes

The Random of Random & Stainbank” was none other than infamous stock-market rigger, the mysterious Colonel de Bourg”, who arrived late at night on the 20th of February 1814, fresh off a boat from Calais, with the (fake) longed-for news that Napoleon was dead. When the Stock Exchange opened the next morning, Government bond prices when through the roof,… and de Bourg and his co-conspirators began to sell off thousands of pounds worth of Omnium bonds that they had invested in only the week before.

Augustus Charles Random de Berenger, born plain Charles Random, married a wealthy Prussian baroness, and so adopted her title as his own. Before he hit upon the idea of stock market fraud as a way to make a living, he worked as a colourist at Rudolph Ackermann’s establishment in the Strand, and then with Christopher Stainbank in Bond Street, as here. He had been a legitimate soldier, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, but also a convicted debtor held under house arrest by the Rules of the King’s Bench’. He was tried and convicted for his part in the Stock exchange fraud, and upon his release, and with a large inheritance, he bought a substantial property in Chelsea, from which he operated a gymnasium, and published a book on self- and home defence.

Engraved by Bateman, probably J. Batemen who operated from premises in the Strand in the early 1800s 

Bibliography

  1. See BM D 2.3448 for a stipple engraved trade card for the same firm

Image gallery

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