Manuscripts and Special Collections

April Fool!

April 1st, 2011 at 08:04

April Fool bank note (My 2484/2)

This bank note includes enough clues to its fake nature that it is doubtful it could have fooled anyone, but it is an entertaining example of an April Fool practical joke from 1847. It was sent anonymously to C. Brinsley Marlay on 31 March 1847 and is now part of the Marlay collection (My 2484/2).

It is in the form of a bank note from the ‘Bank of Folly’, decorated with an image of a man cocking a snook (thumbing his nose), and with the amount of money rendered cleverly as the word ‘Fool’. It reads, ‘I promise to make you or any other Spooney an April Fool on reading this on 1st April’. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ‘spoony’ means ‘a simple, silly, or foolish person; a noodle’.

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