‘A new species of swindling’: Coiners, Fraudsters, Swindlers and the ‘Long-Firm’, c. 1760–1913



During the long nineteenth century new paradigms of organised and professional crime were framed through the changing prosecution of fraud and forgery, coining and other forms of financial crime. As previous chapters have argued, the records provide only fragmentary evidence of criminal networks and confederacies, suggesting that the existence of organised criminal gangs is far from clear-cut. However, from this period, in the records of the police, the press and the writings of social investigators, a language evolved that described gangs of swindlers, coiners and fraudsters through the rhetoric of criminal organisation, perpetuating an increasingly dramatic shadow world of professional criminals. From the later eighteenth century, financial crimes were seen as increasing in pace with the growth of commerce and banking in the metropolis. Thus, in 1796 Patrick Colquhoun lamented, ‘It is not to be wondered at in a country where commerce and manufactures have arrived at such a height, and where from the opulence of the people the interchange of property is so extensive, that forgeries and frauds should prevail in a certain degree.’2


Nineteenth Century Criminal Organisation Organise Crime Financial Crime Commercial Traveller 
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Copyright information

© Heather Shore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leeds Beckett UniversityUK

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