Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2021 Issue

I Have Been Offered $950,000, But Is It Real?

Is this $950,000 offer real?

I get lots of “free” offers and I have learned to ignore most of them. They are generally for things I don't want anyway. But, when someone offers me $950,000, I do take notice. That is especially true if it comes from the head of a major bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department. They have a lot of money. This isn't even pocket change considering how much they spend. Unlike those other “free” gifts, $950,000 is something I definitely can use.


The email came from Mr. Timothy (Tim) Gribben, Commissioner of Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Now, I must admit that I was not aware of this bureau. I even wondered whether it existed, or Mr. Gribben was a real person. It turns out my suspicions were misplaced. There is a such an office and Timothy (Tim) Gribben is its Commissioner. I'm embarrassed not to be familiar with it considering the amount of money that runs through it. Their website says they “awarded $18.17 trillion in wholesale Treasury marketable securities” last year. More importantly to me, it says, “we disbursed 1.4 billion payments totaling more than $5.4 trillion.” That's on average more than four payments per man, woman, and child living in the United States. Surely one of those could be for me, and $950,000 is hardly a dent in $5.4 trillion. Maybe this is for real.


Still, I had this gnawing feeling maybe something wasn't right. His English isn't very good. I was expecting someone with such a high position in the U.S. government to have a better grasp of the English language. Mr. Gribben explained the job of the Bureau of the Fiscal Service as, they “disburse funds to millions of Americans and None American ensuring their timely receipt of unpaid contract,compensation funds...” I'm not entirely sure what that means. After informing me that I am to receive $950,000, he concludes, “You will be given the honor to transfer this funds yourself to your designated account details anywhere in the world.” That is an awkward way of saying something or other.


Still, good English isn't really a prerequisite for this type of job. It requires great facility with figures, not words. “Tim” must be a numbers person, not a language expert. You don't want someone in this position who speaks well but loses track of a trillion dollars here and there.


I also found the postscript at the end of the email odd. It reads, “Note: If you received this message in your SPAM/JUNK folder, it is because of the restrictions implemented by your Internet Service Provider, we urge you to treat it genuinely.” Would my internet provider send an email from a government office to my spam folder? That's not a very good algorithm they have there. Besides which, isn't that something my email provider would do, not my internet service provider? Then again, if they are sending out 1.4 billion emails a year offering people money, that would set off spam filters that this was a mass mailing of spam. I have explained that one away.


Then, there was one more thing. Timothy wanted me to know what to do if I thought I wasn't the person who was supposed to receive this money (as if I would tell him). He writes, “If you are not the intended recipient, please notify us, preferably by e-mail, you will get an official reply from my official U.s Treasury email.” Well, of course, where else would he send it from? That led me to check this email, to make sure it came from his “official U.s Treasury email.” This one was a surprise. It came from mastodon@salsa.gg. Mastodon? I know he uses “Tim” as a nickname, but “mastodon” too? Is he a very large man? His bio on the treasury website does not list his height or weight, so perhaps. It is odd that he would use this nickname in an official email, but for $950,000, I'll overlook it.


But... why did he send official treasury emails, offering $950,000, from an email account on salsa.gg? That can't be his official Treasury email, can it? What is salsa.gg? I looked it up. A Google search listed Salsa God as the first match. They make, no surprise here, salsa. They say it's very good, though I haven't tried it. But, their website is salsagod.com, not salsa.gg. That one is a mystery. The .gg url is from the Bailiwick of Guernsey. They are some islands in the English Channel, not officially part of the U.K. but in some way or other closely related. Why would the U.S. Commissioner of Bureau of the Fiscal Service use an email address originating in another country? Is he sending out money he should not be giving away, and if so, why did he choose me? Maybe I'm just lucky? I tried going to the salsa.gg website, but my browser warned me, “Your connection is not private. Attackers might be trying to steal your information from salsa.gg.”


I don't know. I want to believe this. Is it that you can't believe everything you read on the internet anymore? Am I going to find out that Bill Gates really didn't inject a microchip in me when I got my Covid vaccine? I did kind of wonder how you get a microchip to fit through that needle, but I do know they can make them very small these days. I guess you just don't know who you can trust, not even the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Posted On: 2021-05-01 12:55
User Name: battledore

Dear Michael Stillman, Excellent detective work unraveling an extraordinary circumstance of situations that in the end discloses this "too good to be true" moment is exactly that. What the so-called Tim Gribben was hoping to achieve might have been direct access to your bank account, but all those years of reading Agatha Christie paid off. One might never know why this was done or to whom else similar letters were sent. Your disclosure of these incidents is extremely useful to all the rest of us who have not received such wonderful news and thank goodness for your inquisitive mind. As in researching anything, Knowledge is Power as there should always be a need to validate situations that come unexpectedly.

Posted On: 2021-05-01 20:13
User Name: artbooks1

I'll give you $975,000

Posted On: 2021-05-01 23:04
User Name: adminm

Writer's response: Too late. You have already been outbid by a former Nigerian dictator who will give me half his wealth for allowing him to use my bank account to take his riches out of the country.

Rare Book Monthly

  • ALDE, May 28: KIPLING (RUDYARD). Le Livre de la Jungle. – Le IIe livre de la Jungle. Paris, Sagittaire, Simon Kra, 1924-1925. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: NOAILLES (ANNA DE). Les Climats. Paris, Société du Livre contemporain, 1924. €50,000 to €60,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MILTON (JOHN). Paradis perdu. Quatrième chant. S.l., Les Bibliophiles de l'Automobile-Club de France, 1974. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LEBEDEV (VLADIMIR). Russian Placards - Placard Russe 1917-1922. Saint-Petersbourg, Sterletz, 1923. €1,000 to €1,200.
    ALDE, May 28: MARDRUS (JOSEPH-CHARLES). Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris, F.-L. Schmied, 1927. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: TABLEAUX DE PARIS. Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1927. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LA FONTAINE (JEAN DE). Les Fables illustrées par Paul Jouve. S.l. [Lausanne], Gonin & Cie, 1929. €4,000 to €5,000.
    ALDE, May 28: SARTRE (JEAN-PAUL). Vingt-deux dessins sur le thème du désir. Paris, Fernand Mourlot, 1961. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: [BRAQUE (GEORGES)]. 13 mai 1962. Alès, PAB, 1962. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MIRÓ (JOAN). Je travaille comme un jardinier. Avant-propos d'Yvon Taillandier. Paris, Société intenationale d'art XXe siècle, 1963. €1,000 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MAGNAN (JEAN-MARIE). Taureaux. Paris, Michèle Trinckvel, 1965. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: PICASSO (PABLO). Dans l'atelier de Picasso. 1960. €15,000 to €20,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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