Ellis H. Elias

From Kook Science

Ellis H. Elias
Born c. 1840-5
Gallia, Ohio
Died 22 June 1881 (35-40) [1]
New York City, NY
Nationality American
Known for Mail-order swindles
Spouse(s) Maggie Martin (m. 1860)
Relative(s) William M. Elias
Henry P. Elias
Richard H. Elias

Ellis H. Elias (c. 1840-5 - June 22, 1881) was an American con-artist, notorious in his time for running mail-order "sawdust" swindles, engaging in the sale of fraudulent goods and nostrums, and other scam operations out of Cincinnati and New York City.


Born in Ohio to Welsh immigrants John W. Elias and Elizabeth Parry, the young Elias spent his formative years in Gallia County, before relocating in his late teens to the city of Cincinnati, where he established himself as a printer and lithographer.

[XXX] & Co. (and Other Swindles)

The Great Original Dollar Store

Located under the Grand Central Hotel at 667 Broadway, opposite Bond Street,[2] was what might be considered the centrepiece of the Elias' empire: the Great Original Dollar Store, a concept shop offering "fancy goods" and "Milton Gold Jewelry,"[3] all at the discount price of one dollar. Founded in 1867 under the proprietorship of "Wm. M. Elias & Bro.," it continued operations up until 1879, when it was shuttered due to bankruptcy.

The Nostrum Trade

In addition to his sundry mail-order enterprises, Elias was also behind firms selling medical medallions, including Sagendorph's Battery and Boyd's Battery; and his brother, William M. Elias, even patented one of his own. Further, Elias was reported to have once speculated in the patent medicine trade, producing "The Great Parisian Blood Producer" of the "French Academy of Medicine," which he sold through his Dollar Store.[4]