Arthur Ferguson Sold Big Ben To Hapless American Tourists

Arthur Ferguson, a Scottish actor, began his life of crime after gaining inspiration from a play he was taking part in.

In 1920 he played the role of a gullible tourist from America who was swindled by a conman.

After the run of shows finished Ferguson decided to see how close to reality his role was and whether it was in fact that easy to scam American tourists.

With World War I having just ended a couple of years before it was a well known fact that England’s coffers were empty.

Ferguson decided to take advantage of this piece of information.



He played the part of an aide to the Prime Minister who had been employed to refill England’s treasury by quietly selling off some of her more famous landmarks.

He confided this secret to American tourists, many of whom found his claims quite plausible.

Ferguson found that many American tourists loved England’s history and were only too willing to purchase these great buildings and other historical attractions.

Over a few years he successful managed to scam tourists into ‘buying’ some of the more famous locations many times, including Big Ben, Nelson’s Column and even Buckingham Palace!

Prices for these landmarks ranged from $5000 to $30000.

Ferguson managed to get away with his crimes for many years until the US Embassy started receiving many complaints about him.

Ferguson took this as his cue to leave England and he emigrated to America where he took up where he left off… renting the White House to English tourists for $10000 per month.

Eventually, he got caught selling the Statue of Liberty to an Australian for $100000 and spent five years in prison for that crime.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Surely, anyone falling for a scam *this* obvious, kind of deserved it?

    Coincidently, there’s a rather nice state opera house I can get you in Prague for just £100,000 😉


    • Maybe it was a different age but, yes, I think some of these people probably deserved to get scammed.

      Got any pictures of the opera house?? 😀

  2. Only Americans could be so dumb to fall for that 😀

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