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Old 09-29-2016, 12:19 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 20,078
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
It's hard to imagine that a bill counterfeiter would call himself a "rag smasher," though, because it sounds like that might have been a little too transparent to people at the time. Maybe he did something like preparing checks or promissory notes for banks, and he was making a joke about it.
Yeah, "rag smasher" in the sense of "counterfeiter" seems to have been strictly criminal argot:
Pitching snides is passing fake coins while smashing rags is to do the same with fake notes.
Note that "bag smasher" or "baggage smasher" is 19th-century slang for a luggage handler or porter, still in use (generally in an uncomplimentary sense) for airline baggage handlers. Could the transcriber of the OP's 1881 entry have misread a handwritten capital "B" as an "R"?