[‘The most barefaced case of pretended centenarianism’: Frederick Lahrbush, confidence-trickster and pretended centenarian.] Signed Autograph Inscription claiming that he was ‘born March 9th. 1766.’

‘Capt. Lahrbush’ [Frederick Lahrbush] (d. 1877), English fraudster, Australian convict, New York confidence-trickster and pretended centenarian
Publication details: 
In another hand: ‘Written Oct 7. 1870.’ [New York.]
SKU: 24123

During Lahrbush’s lifetime William John Thoms, in his ‘Human Longevity’ (1873), described his claim to have been born in 1766 as ‘the most barefaced case of pretended centenarianism which has ever come under my notice’. ‘Capt. Lahrbush’, who claimed to have been born in 1766, ended his days in New York. He also claimed to have guarded Napoleon in St Helena, and to have obbained a lock of Bonaparte’s hair there. In fact he was court-martialled for fraud in 1818, and sent as a convict to Australia. See Roberts and Roussac, ‘Authenticating a Lock of Napoleon’s Hair: The Bizarre and Dubious Career of Frederick Lahrbush’ (‘The Gazette’, 2002), and the article on the Rollins College Archive website, ‘Enough Hair to Carpet Versailles?’ On 11.5 x 5 cm slip of paper, laid down part of leaf from an album. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn. In a remarkably bold hand, reads ‘F: Lahrbush / born March 9th. 1766.’ Beneath this, in a small contemporary hand: ‘written Oct. 7. 1870.’ See image.