Don Draper’s $3,000 Check to Honda Motors Sells for $3,700
In a somewhat ironic turn of events, a fake check for $3,000 was recently purchased for a very real $3,700 USD.
It comes from the fifth episode of season four, “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,” in which Sterling Cooper Draper Price is courting the Honda Motor Company—which in 1965, was a little known Japanese corporation making motorcycles (that Joan calls “cute”). Lane mentions that they’re worth three million dollars in billings, and are “venturing into automobiles, as well.”
Honda creates a set of rules for the various ad agencies competing for its business, giving each a budget of $3,000. Don comes up with an idea to trick rival company CGC into overspending on their presentation, then tells Honda that he isn’t interested in participating in a rigged competition, giving no presentation and instead writing them a check for the $3,000 budget.
In typical Draper fashion, his unusual approach earns him the client’s respect.
It’s curious that this particular prop commanded so much money at auction. It sold for more cash than several other notable items from the show, including other fake checks.
For example, Lane Pryce’s cancelled $7,500 check was purchased for “only” $2,500, despite ultimately having a much bigger impact on the show’s plot. [SPOILER ALERT: Lane forged Don’s name on the check, and when his embezzlement was discovered, he was unceremoniously forced out of the company, leading to his eventual suicide.]
Other items from the Honda-centric “Chrysanthemum and the Sword” episode also sold for far less money, including Don’s copy of the titular book ($325), and his wooden sake box ($350).
Less than $400 for a nice box of sake? The bidders must have known that Don drank the whole thing already…