“If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge I can sell you in Brooklyn.”

Where did that expression come from? Did someone actually try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge?

Yes, many times.

After the Brooklyn Bridge was built in 1883, a young con man named George Parker would approach his victims, usually immigrants, claiming to be the owner of the bridge. He would explain how someone could make a fortune with toll booths on the bridge, and he would sell the bridge for as much as $50,000.

People bought it.

He managed to sell the Brooklyn Bridge twice a week for many years before police caught him.

But it didn’t happen before Parker also sold the Statue of Liberty, Grant’s Tomb and Madison Square Garden.

He used many names and pretended to be many different people, leaving us with the expression, “I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.”

George Parker was born in 1870 and was one of the boldest con men in American history. He died in prison in 1936.