The pounds were sometimes sold in lots of 250,000 Pound by dealers in Switzerland to international bankers and businessmen. No one could possibly know how many wealthy Europeans were swindled, because most of the activity involved was shady if not actually illegal, and the swindled had no real recourse against the German government.
As the war drew to an end, Schwend, who was the brains of the sales organization, made plans to get out of Germany. He brought hundreds of thousands of forged English pounds into Switzerland, and with them bought houses and apartment houses and other properties all over Europe, and even in South America. He bought French twenty-franc gold pieces. He bought jewels, including pieces made for the last Czar of Russia.
How many Bernhard pounds were issued remained a secret, then and forever. In 1959 and afterward, the British and the Americans made some discoveries, but they never learned the total extent of the production. The notes continued to circulate until the British government changed the design of its currency. Even in the 1960's it was still thought that these Bernhard pounds were used in clandestine work behind the Iron Curtain. It was the greatest swindle ever perpetrated by counterfeiters - by one government against its enemies, its friends, and its servants.