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Prince Albert Coat — Epilogue
by Tom Nichol

Based on the episode of the same name
in the Adventures of Superman 1956.

Three days had passed since the conclusion of what Jimmy Olsen personally referred to as “the Prince Albert Coat Affair.” Young Bobby Jackson and his grandfather had come frighteningly close to losing his grandfather’s life savings of $10,000 in cash—a sum which Bobby’s grandfather had intended to go toward Bobby’s college education. The money had been stored in the lining of an old Prince Albert coat that had originally belonged to Bobby’s grandfather. (Like many Southerners, especially Civil War survivors, Bobby’s grandfather had never trusted banks, and had avoided dealing with them as far as possible.)

Not knowing about the money, Bobby had obtained his grandfather’s permission to donate a number of items of old clothing that his grandfather no longer used to a flood relief project. It had taken Superman’s intervention to rescue the money. They had all been devastated, however, to learn that the sum that Bobby’s grandfather had been so frantic about was in the form of Confederate money, which, of course, was no longer legal tender, and therefore worthless—or so they thought!

The day had largely been saved when a banker from Birmingham, Alabama, who had been searching for Bobby’s grandfather for months, finally found the old gentleman, and presented him with a check for over $5,000! He had explained that, prior to his death in the Civil War, Bobby’s great-grand-father had deposited several hundred dollars in gold with the bank for his son’s benefit. The check in question represented that amount plus more than 80 years’ worth of accumulated interest! Bobby’s grandfather, deeply grateful, had thereupon arranged to redeposit the money in that very same bank, so that it could accumulate even more interest until Bobby was ready for college. By that time, he had been assured, with proper investment, the resulting sum would easily be large enough to fund Bobby’s college education all the way to the Ph.D. level, and still leave a VERY healthy nest egg for Bobby to rely upon!

Even with this happy development, however, the young redheaded reporter could not help wishing that some way could be found to make use of the original Confederate bills which Bobby’s grandfather had so carefully preserved. He was thinking about this as he made his way back to the office after lunch. His way took him past a coin collector’s store.

He stopped for just a moment, looked in the shop’s window—and then took off for the Daily Planet building at a dead run. One glance in that window had provided the answer he sought.

He stopped at the door to Perry White’s office for a moment, panting for breath, then knocked on the office door.

“Come in!” the familiar voice boomed in response.

He thereupon turned the knob and entered, still panting. Perry’s face instantly bore a look of concern. “What is it, Jimmy?” he inquired.

“Mr. White, do you have the Jacksons’ phone number?”

“Yes, I do, why do you ask?”

“We need to call him right now, and make sure he still has those bills!” Jimmy replied urgently, finally beginning to catch his breath.

Perry looked up the old man’s telephone number. Before dialing the number, however, he gave his young employee a sharp, shrewd look. “What makes you say that, Olsen?” he demanded.

Jimmy thereupon explained how he had stopped for a moment on his way back from lunch and looked in the coin collector’s shop window. “That was when I realized the value of those Confederate bills,” he continued. “Even though they’re not legal tender any more, those bills were all in what appeared to be pristine condition. As collector’s items, they could be worth a fortune!”

Perry’s eyes snapped wide open, and his jaw dropped as he processed the young reporter’s statement. “Great Caesar's Ghost, Olsen,” the editor exclaimed, “you’re right! You’re exactly right!”

He needs to store those bills in a safe deposit box, Mr. White, and the sooner the better!” Jimmy added. “The last thing the Jacksons need is to have any such revenue slip through their fingers by disposing of those bills!”

Nodding his agreement, Perry dialed the Jacksons’ number. The old man and the boy were naturally thrilled at the prospect of adding to Bobby’s college nest egg in this fashion. Mr. Jackson readily agreed to Perry’s suggestion as to putting the bills in a safe deposit box until the appropriate arrangements to sell them could be made.

I’ll have Clark Kent and Lois Lane pick the two of you up and bring you here to my office,” Perry advised. From here, we can all go to the appropriate bank together and get the safe deposit box account set up. Our going as a group will help to discourage any hoodlums or gangsters from trying anything. They can arrive at your home within the hour, if that’s all right with you. In the meantime, I’ll call your banker friend in Birmingham and see if they have a correspondent account with one of the banks here in Metropolis. If so, that will make opening the safe deposit box account that much easier.” Mr. Jackson instantly agreed to White’s proposal, and they ended the conversation.

Perry’s next action was to summon Lois Lane and Clark Kent to his office. The two of them arrived only moments later. They were both delighted to learn of these new developments. “Kent,” Perry then instructed, “I want you, Miss Lane, and Olsen here to take one of the company’s larger cars, pick up the Jacksons, and bring them here to my office. While you’re en route, I’ll call the gentleman in Birmingham who brought that check to the Jacksons to begin with. Since Birmingham was the original capital of the Confederacy, it stands to reason that he and his colleagues would have the best information on how to sell those bills in such a way as to get the best possible price. I believe he also mentioned that his bank has a correspondent arrangement with one of the banks here in Metropolis. If so, that would make the task of setting up the safe deposit box account that much easier.”

It took less than an hour for the errands Perry had mentioned to be completed. In the weeks that followed, under the supervision of the renowned Sotheby’s auction firm of London, all of the Confederate bills were auctioned off in such a manner as to assure that Bobby and his grandfather would receive the highest possible price for each and every one. By the time this process was completed, much to everyone’s joy, even after taxes, fees and commissions, young Bobby’s college fund had grown to a balance of over $5,000,000! The banker in Birmingham assured Bobby and his grandfather that, even if they took a monthly allowance from the fund, by the time Bobby reached the age of 18, his net worth would increase to well over $10,000,000, and could easily increase beyond even that sum with proper management.

When Thanksgiving came around that year, Bobby and his grandfather all but insisted that Lois, Clark, Perry and his wife, and especially Jimmy and his mother, join the Jacksons for what turned out to be an especially festive Thanksgiving dinner. Jimmy especially was lavished with praise, since it had been his idea to auction the Confederate bills off as collector’s items. To conclude the affair, the group gathered around the new baby grand piano the Jacksons had just bought, and sang several Thanksgiving hymns together. By far, however, the most meaningful of the entire group was the one that would be in their heads and on their lips as they returned home that evening--”Now Thank We All Our God!”

Posted: August 2, 2017

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