Mentioned earlier, Tom Cryer and Dee Dee were in Philadelphia for the TA Mini-Sem recently conducted there. After sharing the obligatory Philly cheese steak sandwich in the Farmer's Market and visiting Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell it was too early to go to dinner and too late to go to their other targets. So, what to do? Perhaps a little mischief? Like bringing down the entire financial structure of the country? That sounds like a worthwhile adventure, doesn’t it?
Just two blocks away from the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve, Tom and Dee Dee strolled down to the Fed and paid them a visit. They were surprised to see such a small and austere lobby with nothing but a bullet proof glass booth attended by a single guard. Tom pulled two 1930’s vintage bills, a 20 and a 10, from his billfold and asked the guard who he should see about redeeming a couple of Federal Reserve notes. The guard dug through some papers and handed out a sheet of instructions for exchanging mutilated bills.
Tom explained that he did not have any mutilated bills and did not want to exchange anything. He was there to redeem two Federal Reserve notes totaling $30. He showed the guard the two notes and pointed out that they were “redeemable in lawful money at the United States Treasury or at any Federal Reserve Bank.” He showed him that the note was from the Federal Reserve and the United States of America who “will pay to the bearer on demand” 10 and 20 DOLLARS, not notes. The guard said that the Federal Reserve does not exchange bills.
Tom took another stab at it explaining that he does not want any bills. He showed the guard a silver dollar and said “See this? This is a DOLLAR, just like the notes say they are redeemable in and the notes say they will pay the face amount to the bearer in DOLLARS", again showing him what a DOLLAR looks like. “I’m calling these notes in, not exchanging them for another promise, I’m redeeming them for thirty of THESE”, again holding up the silver dollar. The guard said he was sorry, but that the Federal Reserve does not redeem those there.
Dee Dee couldn't resist joining in the fun and injected "Are you telling me that the Federal Reserve Bank doesn't have $30? That it is dishonoring its note?" The guard grinned sheepishly (he really was a good sport) and said the Fed wasn't dishonoring the notes, but that they would have to redeem them somewhere else. He then suggested that maybe they should try the U.S. Mint just a block over.
Tom said they couldn't do that because the U.S. Mint would only give them one silver dollar for the $30 in FRN's and Dee Dee piled on, saying "Do you mean to tell me that the U.S. Treasury has so little faith in the Federal Reserve Bank that it will only pay three cents on the dollar for its notes?" By this time the guard was wanting to hide. After a few more exchanges during which the guard admitted that the Fed was not only privately owned but that half of the principal owners were foreign, Tom and Dee Dee noticed a lady was waiting, so they made their exit. As they were heading for the door, though, they heard the lady ask "Where can I get silver and gold for these?"