The Man Who Stole Portugal by Murray Teigh Bloom soon to be presented for sale on the outstanding BookLovers of Bath web site!
Published: London: Secker & Warburg, 1967, Hardback in dust wrapper.
Contains: Black & white plates; Photographic end papers & blanks;
From the cover: All great crimes depend for their successful execution upon a combination of circumstances and originality. Artur Virgilio Alves Reis had a great project: to gain control of the Bank of Portugal. He was in the right circumstances: he was a businessman, he knew how to prepare an official document, and he had useful friends. And he had originality: it was a once-only crime no one had tried it before, and no one is likely to get away with it again. For while common forgers make their own banknotes, Alves Reis had his made for him by Britains leading security printers, Waterlow and Sons. No one could fault the Waterlow notes, as they were printed from the same plates and on the same paper as were used for the Bank of Portugal orders. They could hardly be described as counterfeit: except for a tell-tale flaw in their numbering they might never have been identified.
This is the dazzling but true story of the crime of the century. Alves Reis succeeded: within two years he became the richest man in Portugal. His success led to an upheaval which brought Salazar to power, came near to ruining one of the worlds great printing firms and (almost incidentally) ended in a twenty-year stretch in Lisbon jail. It may seem fantastic to us now as we read how the notes were collected from Waterlows works in suitcases and dumped in the left luggage office at Liverpool Street Station, or how Sir William Waterlow (later Lord Mayor of London) went to such pains to conceal this confidential transaction from his fellow directors, or how Reis became the Cecil Rhodes of Angola, but, incredible as it is, it was all true. In his tensely organised and often sharply comic narrative, Murray Bloom reconstructs the crime, brings to life the principal actors, and describes the catastrophe that followed. Reverberations of the case can still be heard today: at the time, it shook the western world.
Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper with a small nick to the head of the lower panel.
Green boards with Black titling to the Spine. 318 pages. 8¾” x 5½”.
Of course, if you don’t like this one, may I lure you to view a further assortment that features in my Biography catalogue?