The American Numismatic Association


Copyright 1994-2000 by the American Numismatic Association

The following is a sample script of the ANA Money Talks program that was broadcast Monday through Friday on radio stations worldwide until September 2000. Scripts and indexes from October 1992 through September 2000 are available from ANA's FTP site.

Audio versions of over 1,000 Money Talks scripts in WAV and REAL format are available (http://www.money.org/audiomain.html).

Money Talks is recorded by Get Reel Productions



Transcript No. 681
May 15, 1995
CONNECTICUT'S CLAIM TO FAME
By Bill Jones

In the mid 1930s, the U.S. Mint, and the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut issued a commemorative half dollar marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of Bridgeport, and celebrating one of its most famous native sons, P.T. Barnum. Just like Barnum, both had an element--just a tiny element--of the truth.

Phineas T. Barnum was the 19th century's greatest huckster. He got his start when he bought a slave, named Joice Heth. Barnum claimed Ms. Heth was 161 years old, and had been George Washington's nurse maid. He took his attraction on the road, where he made a nice profit. Unfortunately, Ms. Heth died a year later, presumably from old age. But Barnum had found his calling.

Barnum then purchased the contents of two museums and opened his own display of oddities, freaks of nature and other curiosities. Among the attractions was something he called a South Seas mermaid... which was actually a monkey attached to a fish tail.

A midget who was only 33 inches tall proved to be Barnum's greatest attraction. Colonel Tom Thumb married another of Barnum's midgets, and toured the world... entertaining audiences that included President Lincoln and Queen Victoria.

In the early 1870's, Barnum opened his famous circus, billing it "The greatest show on earth." The Barnum and Bailey circus was eventually bought out by its chief rival, the Ringling Brothers, and that famous touring company is still entertaining children of all ages today.

In 1936, Bridgeport, Connecticut issued a half-dollar featuring Barnum's profile, and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the city's incorporation. Although Barnum had actually been born in Bethel, Connecticut, and Bridgeport had actually been founded in the 1600s, 25,000 coins were sold to collectors. Why? Well, as P.T. Barnum used to say, "There's a sucker born every minute!"

This has been "Money Talks." Today's program was written by Bill Jones.


The ANA Money Talks radio transcripts are a production of the American Numismatic Association. Any form of copying for other than an individual user's personal reference without permission from the American Numismatic Association is prohibited.

The American Numismatic Association grants permission to reprint selected Money Talks scripts for educational purposes, for club newsletters and for use in schools. Please contact Gail Baker, Director of Education, education@money.org, ANA, 818 N. Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

The American Numismatic Association is not responsible for the content presented herein and does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information.

Return to ANA's Education Page
Return to ANA's Numismatic Information Page


Copyright 1995-2002 ANA