"Commonly Called Old Patch" [Criminals]. [Great Britain]. Price, Charles [1723-1786]. Memoirs of a Social Monster; Or the History of Charles Price, Otherwise Boilingbroke, Otherwise Johnson, Otherwise Parks, Otherwise Wigmore, Otherwise Brank, Otherwise Wilmott, Otherwise Williams, Otherwise Schutz, Otherwise Powel, &c. &c. &c. And commonly called Old Patch. Containing an Accurate Account of the Astonishing Fraud and Ingenious Forgeries of that Truly Great Man, On the Governor and Company of the Bank of England for a Series of Six Years. Including a Faithful Detail of his Devices and Depredations on Society for a Period of Fifty-Five Years. London: Printed for G. Kearsley, 1786. xxii, 348 pp. Folding engraved frontispiece. Pp. 345-348 are publisher advertisements. Plate. 12mo. (6-1/4" x 3-1/2"). Early plain boards, fragment of title label and traces of hand-written title to spine. Binding slightly cocked, moderate rubbing to boards and extremities, light chipping to spine ends, corners bumped and lightly worn, a few partial cracks to text block, binding secure. Light toning to text, light foxing and minor edgewear to plates, light offsetting from plate to title page. $2,500. * First edition. Charles Price was a master of disguise, a swindler and a forger. The folding frontispiece illustrates three of his disguises (one of them shows why he was known as "Old Patch"). Born in London, he began his career by robbing his father. Among other schemes, he advertised for investors in a brewery and promptly defrauded his investor. He even had the audacity to try and entice this same investor in another scheme. Another time he portrayed himself as a Methodist preacher and went on to become the most dangerous forger to target the Bank of England. He made his own papers, engraved his own plates, made his own ink and printed his own notes. After he swindled the bank one last time, he was finally apprehended and met his unfortunate end. Knowing there would be no way to escape execution, he took his own life. A legend in his own time, Price is still considered to be one of the greatest forgers who ever lived. English Short-Title Catalogue T136417.
Book number 70027