Like a zillion other toddlers, Microkhan Jr. loves him some Cheerios. And never more so when the circular cereal gives away toys—General Mills has recently been on a kick of offering a free Lego car in every box. For a fifteen-month-old obsessed with rolling objects, nothing could make that oat-y goodness any better.
Yet Cheerios’ freebies haven’t always been so obviously geared toward the Sesame Street set, as we recently learned after reading this tale of an Iowan auction gone awry. A man purchased $800 worth of Confederate money (which cost him $200 Yankee bucks). Upon returning home, alas, he was aggrieved to discover that the notes’ serial numbers were listed as known fakes. A lawsuit followed, with predictable results. (Aren’t all auction items sold “as is”?)
In checking out the serial-number site, Microkhan was somewhat astonished to learn that a major source of fake Confederate cash is Cheerios boxes from the 1950s (pictured above). The cereal enticed Eisenhower-era consumers by featuring fake Confederate notes on its boxes. The reprints are said to be very high quality, as far as detail goes, and thus often show up at auctions masquerading as the real thing.
Now, the big question this all raises: If you saw a Cheerios box today with Confederate money printed on the back, would you be less likely to buy it? Or more?
Confederate counterfeiting is nothing new, of course—during the Civil War, a Yankee named Samuel Curtis Upham was the acknowledged master.