Name
Soap Sell Swindle

Aka
Soap Sell, Soap Auction

Victims
Late 19th century populace

Crew
One auctioneer and a small number of shills and boosters

The Scam
A "soap" salesman offers to give away money wrapped in with the soap packages ( $1 to $100 bill) in order to induce the sales of his wondrous product. Using slight-of-hand the money is extracted so that none of the bars have any money. They are sold for $1 at the start. Shills will use palmed $5 and $10 bills to get sales rolling at which time the soap sales man begins to auction off the remaining packages to the highest bidder.

Variations
In the present day several novelty firms insert $1 bills inside the actual bar of soap and sell them claiming customers might win upwards of $50.

Ebay users often come across 'box auctions' where they are bidding on a box of undetermined contents.

Take
Varies depending on how much a dupe is willing to bid. Newspaper accounts reported losses of as much as $80 from some.

Submitted by Jeff Smith, great-grandson of the greatest soap sell salesman of them all, Soapy Smith