Pyramid Scheme.  English version of the Circle of Gold. Ante £20 x 2.  Twelve name list.   England, 1982?
Pyramid schemes are illegal under both state and federal laws.

Page 1. Description of the scheme. .
Page 2 & 3. Answers to questions, promotional text.
Page 4. One page list of participants - only genders and counties retained.

Page 5. Documentation & comments.  DWV

[Page 1]


This paper represents a possible return of £164,000 on an initial
and temporary investment of

Thousands of people in North America and Europe have, and are now,
benefiting from this principle.
Please do not decide to invest in this paper until you are totally
and completely understand the concept.
Only a person that you know and trust will present you with this

The person who is presenting this paper to you is No. 12 on the list

This person has:

1.  Photocopied (retyped) this paper twice.
2.  Prepared two stamped addressed envelopes for you with the name
of the person who is now No. 1 on the list of 12.
3.  Invested
£40 in the last 48 h urs.
4.  Understood fully and knows that the concept is good and works.
5.  Followed the instructions at the end of this paper and will
    ensure that you do the same.

How to invest the initial

A.  Buy this paper for
£20 from the person with you.
B.  In front of this person put another
£20 in the stamped addressed
    envelope provided to the person who is at No. 1 on the list.
    (Bank notes wrapped in carbon paper copy paper are not detectable
    in the postal system).
    Cheques with Banker's card number and postal orders are
C.  Mail this envelope in the presence of this person.   This ensures
    that everybody knows that the money has been sent correctly.

This means that you have now invested £40 in the concept of the
Gold Circle which you would like to recover immediately and guarantee
the return of your investment.

How to recoup your initial investment of

a.  Make two copies of this paper and, on the same day :-
b.  Rewrite the list of 12 names by striking the person at No. 1
    off the top of the list, moving the other 11 up 1 position and
    adding yourself at No. 12.  There must always be 12 names on the
    list.  (This means that the number 1 to whom you sent the money
    is off the list and No. 2 is the new No. 1).
c.  Now prepare two envelopes with the name and address of the new
    person at No. 1 on your list.
d.  Within 24 hours find two reliable people whom you now well
    and sell to them for
£20 each (Thereby regaining your £40).
e.  Witness that they send 
£20 by post to the No. 1 on the list that
    you make.

The maximum return to you of this paper at 100% is £163,000.  In
reality it is probable that the Gold Circle will not work at 100%
and to try to prove otherwise is not practical, but if it works at
only 1% of its capacity it represents to you a return of
Theoretically it should take 11 days for your name to rise to No. 1
on the list, in practice and from cross references and controls made,
it is averaging in 6 - 8 weeks,
£8,000 - £23,000.

---------------------------------  page break -----------------------------------------
[page 2 & 3]

Answers to a few questions

1.  How does this differ from a regular chain?

    The differences are crucial and are:-
    a.  The number of people to contact - only 2.
    b.  The very personal way of doing it.

2.  Where does all the money come from?

    The money comes from each person who comes into contact with the
Gold Circle.  The same way that you send
£20 to the person at
No. 1 on the list, a large number of people will send you
£20  at
different times and from different places, when you have moved
11 places up the list.   Remember that the money does not come from
one place but from different people, who like you, want to invest
£40 for a short time investment with a large return.

3.  Who loses?

    Nobody loses until someone cannot sell his two lists.  In this
case they lose a maximum of
£40.   This is an individual loss and
has a negligible effect on those already on the list but everybody
knows two people who deserve a better financial situation.  So to
sell the two lists in practice is no problem, even if both the list
you sold (to regain your
£40) get destroyed before moving and
doubling, you lost nothing but the cost of two stamps.  Is is up to
you to ensure that this does not ha pen.  How many investments can
say that?  It is up to you to ensure that this does not happen by
choosing your two people carefully.

4.  Why doesn't somebody put their name at the top of the list?

Because the maximum return would be £40, even
this would not effect
anybody already on the list.
As soon as you sell your two lists your name begins to move from the
12th to the 1st position doubling at each level.
Now you are at No. 12 on both lists, when your friends make up their
lists you will be:-

   11 on 4 lists           5 on 256 lists
   10 on 8 lists           4 on 512 lists
    9 on 16 lists          3 on 1024 lists
    8 on 32 lists          2 on 2048 lists
    7 on 64 lists          1 on 4096 lists
    6 on 128 lists

When these 4096 people sell the concept to their friends each of these
will send
£20  to the person at No. 1 on their list and No. 1 will be you.

The system is legal and it works.

Most chains ask you to send approximately £1 to maybe  10 people
and then to send your own chain to 20 people who have to do the same.
The reason that this system doesn't work and invariably breaks down
is because most people don't know 20 people whom they can trust to
carry it on, and the fact that it is perpetuated purely by mail
and not by personal contact, means that the letters  are sent to
unknown recipients to meet the required commitment, or more likely,
not at all,  because the motivation is very small.   In the Gold
Circle each copy is given personally to the chosen person to whom you
sell the copy.   It is not given to you; you have to invest
£40 -
£20 to buy and £20 to No. 1 on the list)   The motivation is the £40
that everyone wants to get back, which becomes the engine which keeps
it moving.  

---------------------------------  page break -----------------------------------------

I don't want to buy the list unless I can find two people to buy
it from me is the usual and initial reaction of people who hear for the
first time of the Gold Circle.   This attitude is detrimental
and prolongs the movement of the list, because the 2 people you
contact will say the same thing and would like, before getting involved
to find four people who are waiting for eight people etc. etc.
Confusion reigns and time is lost.   How can you ask two people to
invest when you haven't yourself.   Nobody can guarantee you can
sell your 2 lists.   It is you who creates your own choice.

If there was absolutely  no risk, they everybody in the world would
do it and it would not be the unique opportunity that it is.

---------------------------------  page break -----------------------------------------
[Page 4]

                                               CIRCLE OF GOLD

1.  Mr.  N1,     T1, Sx. (Sussex)

2.  Miss N2,     T2, Sx.

3.  Mr.  N3,     T1, Sx.

4.  Mrs. N4,     T3, Sy. (Surrey)
5.  Mr.  N4,     T3, Sy.

6.  Miss N5,     T3, Sy.

7.  Mr.  N6,     T1, Sx

8.  Miss N7,     T1, Sx.

9.  Mr.  N8,     T1, Sx.

10. Mr.  N9,     T1, Sx.

11. Mrs. N10,    T1, Sx.

12. Mr.  N11,    T4, Sy.

[Page 5]
Documentation and comments.

Received by mail from England in May, 2018. All names and locations are withheld. No dates provided. Presumed year of circulation 1982, based on an article in The Times (Aug. 27, 1982, p. 15a). Three identical photocopies of the 3-page explanatory and promotional pages received, Three copies of the list of names, all with the same names, but one had a name crossed out at the top (from a different town in Sussex), and a name added at the bottom (Mr. N11 as above). Two of the surnames were the same (N4).  All locations are small towns in the counties of Sussex and Surrey. Typing differences on all three lists.

Key strokes for first three pages preserved.
Errors: (1) "are" on line 6, p. 1, (2) indentation error, line 15, p. 1, (3) 48  "h urs", line 16, p. 1,
(4) "ha pen", line 22, p. 2,  (5) "they" instead of "then" in last sentence on p. 3.

Entered by DWV, 12/14/2018.

Archive file name:   me1982u_CircleOfGold_sP20n12_e


As noted above, all money chain letters and pyramid schemes are illegal in the United States under postal lottery and fraud statutes, both federal and state. They are also illegal in most other countries, if not all.

Most critiques of money chain letters and pyramid schemes correctly state that no money is generated other than investments and that eventually the number of potential investors will be exhausted and the scheme will collapse. Apart from this and the legal hazards, many participants will likely violate the stated requirements of the scheme, thus greatly reducing the chance that others will derive any benefit. Here, based on newspaper accounts and common sense, some deviations from the rules are listed in the hope that this may persuade some readers to avoid losing money and time with the scheme, or to avoid inflicting such losses on others.

> Exceeding the copy quota. A participant may produce and distribute (or sell) far more copies of the rules and list of names than stipulated in the rules. This can mean that more potential buyers have already been approached with the scheme than seems reasonable.

> Restarting the scheme with 12 names of accomplices or aliases. This may be very commonly done, and can eliminate your name well before it reaches the top of a list. Such a restart will likely also involve distributing many more invitations to participate than the stated two per participant.

> Conspiring with the seller to not send any money. The buyer may offer the seller ten dollars if he will not enforce the requirement that the buyer send fifty dollars to the top name. Or the buyer and seller may put their names at the top of the list. With a $50 payoff (or £20 in England), the hope for even a single receipt can motivate such behavior.

> Selling the list of names for a reduced price. If after much effort, one has failed to find a buyer, there will be a strong temptation to take whatever one can get for the instructions and list, especially if many people the seller approaches report that they have already been solicited. If the names are not altered, it is to the seller's advantage to give the list away, rather than destroy it and take a loss. With this happening, participation will rapidly lose its value.

All such tactics can be combined in various ways, and are impossible to prevent as the Circle of Gold pyramid scheme, or other such schemes, progress through a population. Many groups of people well known to each other, possibly co-workers, or members of a criminal organization, will see no reason to retain on the list the names of strangers. Note that money chain letters and pyramid schemes must always start in such a fashion, with the dishonest suggestion that the person at the top of the list has attained that position through a long sequence of recruiting, when likely no one on that first list paid anything into the scheme.

The Annotated Bibliography of Paper Chain Letters and Pyramid Schemes, associated with the essay Chain Letter Evolution, produces 84 matches when searched for "pyramid" and 16 matches for "Circle of Gold". The later search produces The London Times article referenced above regarding the estimated date of circulation of this pyramid scheme. I have copied this entry below. It reports text as above, and the violation of the copy quota.

THE  TIMES (LONDON).  1982.  "Circle of Gold turns to ring of shame," Margaret Drummond.  Nov. 27, p. 15a.
["Every second person in the Covent Garden wine bar . . . was offering me the Circle of Gold . . ."  MCL specs s£20, q2x£20, n12, max £164,000. Some text: "Please do not decide to invest in this paper until you are totally and completely sure and understand the concept."  Cheating by selling more than two copies: ". . . tales of underwriters deserting their desks and stockbrokers forsaking the floor in order to copy as many as possible."]

Daniel W. VanArsdale

The Paper Chain Letter Archive - contents
     Chain Letter Evolution - a history.