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Rothschild

[Red Shield]. Mayer Amschel, in 1763, made his appearance in Hanover barefoot, with a sack on his shoulders and a bundle of rags on his back. Successful in trade, he returned to Frankfort and set up a small shop, over which hung the signboard of a red shield. As a dealer in old coins he became known to William I., Elector of Hesse-Cassel, who appointed him confidential agent. The serene elector being compelled to fly his country Mayer Amschel took charge of his cash, amounting to 250,000. When Napoleon was banished to Elba, and the elector returned, Amschel was dead, but his son Anselm restored the money, an act of noble honesty which the elector mentioned at the Congress of Vienna. Hence arose the greatness of the house, which assumed the name of the Red Shield. In 1863 Charles received six millions sterling as his personal share and retiring pension from the firm of the five brothers.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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