Barnum was always looking for interesting new acts or novel creatures to exhibit, and one day he received a letter from a fellow in Maine who claimed to possess a cherry-colored cat and asked if Barnum were interested in such a thing for his circus. Barnum contacted the man and said yes, if the cat were truly cherry-colored, he'd gladly put it on display. Well, a few days later a crate marked "live animal" arrived for him. When Barnum opened it, he found a somewhat frightened but otherwise perfectly ordinary-looking black housecat inside, along with a note which read:
Maine cherries are black.
There's a sucker born every minute...
Thoroughly tickled, Barnum sent the man a check for $10,000. (I'm not sure what happened to the cat, I think Barnum may have kept it as a reminder of the day he got suckered.)