This great article recently appeared on the FT website:




A licence to print money

Who wouldn’t want a licence to print money?

I’m sure we’ve all entertained the idea of wealth beyond our wildest dreams at some point, if only we could print our own notes (and not get locked up in the clink for it). And, let’s face it, who wouldn’t be even a little bit chuffed to have their face grace a few notes or coins.

And it’s likely that these flights of fancy have probably become more prevalent as the impact of the credit crunch becomes ever more real.

Well, if the example of Sheridan ‘Shed’ Simove is anything to go by there is apparently nothing stopping the masses from making such dreams a reality.

Simove, the Cardiff-based author of ‘Ideas Man’, has come up with a rather ingenious way of weathering the credit crunch, by doing nothing less than creating and ‘minting’ his own currency, known as ‘Egos’.

Two thousand of his red and green one Ego notes – which include a smiling picture of Simove on one side and his ‘idol’ Walt Disney on the other - were printed at a press in Brighton at a cost of £1.50 each.

And amazingly the notes have performed well in real-life market conditions - selling on auction website eBay for an average of 93p a note.

Admittedly that doesn’t look like a great investment given the initial cost of production, but the outlook improves when you consider that some of the notes have fetched as much as £5.50.

If fact, as I type this there’s another one Ego note on the UK eBay website currently going for £5.50, with two bidders battling it out to become the proud owners. And that’s just the latest highest bid, with six and a half days still to go before the auction ends.

That’s a 367 per cent increase in value on the initial cost – a pretty tidy profit.

But given that Simove is presently only looking to put 1,000 of the ego notes on the market, the very best return he could expect if every single Ego note traded at the current top exchange value of £5.50 - which of course they haven’t - is £5,500.

Not a bad little sum but, sadly, not a fortune either.

So I’m afraid that if you wish to recreate that infamous scene from Indecent Proposal and roll around on a bed of money, you’re still going to have to make the cash the old fashioned way – sorry!

Tell us what you think about ‘Egos’ - and what images you’d put on the face of your own personal notes.