The Rodanow Watch Swindle.
Evening Post, March 23rd.
Some time ago, in common with most of the other principal newspapers in the colony, we received an order from the “ Rodanow Manufacturing Company, Boston,” for the of an advertisement in regard to some cheap watches alleged to be manufactured by thfl firm. The letter bore every appearance of beinS bona fide, and was accompanied by a copy of the Bristol Press . (published in Con* neclicut), dated 30th September, 1880, containing . the following paragraph^ — ‘ ‘ Special attention is called to the • price' list of the Rodanow Manufacturing Company, of Boston, published in these columns. All those wishing to secure an excellent and correct timekeeper are recommended to address themselves to this old and reliable firm. No further evidence of the invariable good quality of their manufactures will be required beyond the following facts : —The firm was established in 1849, and since then hard gained prize medals at the exhibitions of London, Pans, Vienna, Ac., for excellence of manufacture. They are appointed,' by warrant, watchmakers to the Queen of England, Prince of Wales, the Emoeror of Russia, and the Bey of Tunis.” This paragraph appearing among the local -news : of the American journal in question, seemed additional' evidence in favor of the bona fides of the affair, and the advertisement was accordingly inserted in this, journal in common with a large number of other newspapers, not only in New Zealand, but throughout Australia. Facts have lately come to light, however; which serve to indicate that the “company” has simply been perpetrating a cleverly-devised and widely-ergauised swindle; The Sunday Herald, a .Boston newspaper, gives strong confirmation by* the- following particulars, Which it published -in a recent issue :—“ Shortly before the last mail left San Francisco the police of Boston had arrested a man who gave his name as Alexander Rodanow, on a charge of . using the United States mails with intent to defraud,- their suspicions having been aroused by the nature of the advertisements'published by the ‘Rodanow Manufacturing Company.’ Investigation soon showed the company only existed on paper, and the magnificent premises in . Portland street, Boston, proved equally mythical. Rodanow’s headquarters turned out-to be a small room partitioned off one comer, of a second-hand stone store. A few cheap watches, which the police said would not bring 10 dollars at auction, were found in the place. The police had little difficulty in discovering that Alexander Rodanow, who rejoiced in a second name—Dr Ganz -- had been concerned ift some Socialistic movements in Europe. In the Portland street office was found a list of over 40 newspapers in which,the advertisements of the sham company had been inserted, including some printed in Hindoo and Chinese characters. That the business carried on by Rodanow, alias Ganz, bid fair'to become a profitable one, may be gathered from the fact that before He was deprived of his liberty he had given receipts for over forty registered letters. Since his arrest, the Sunday Herald says that Registered letters for the ‘ Company ' had been received by each foreign mail in increasing numbers. .One letter contained a draft for 400 dollars, sent by an officer of the Spanish navy, as payment for six of the better class of watches advertised by the Rodanow Company. When the mail left, the prisoner was waiting trial.”,. Should the.re unfortunately be any residents of New Zealand who have been victimised by ;these advertisements they should at once communicate with the police. Possibly any remittances sent from New Zealand arrived after Rodanow’s apprehension, in which case they would probably be impounded by the Boston police, and the victims ought to bo able to get their money refunded.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 307, 31 March 1881
The Rodanow Watch Swindle. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 307, 31 March 1881
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