SIRS: Of the ten or so large and outstanding
collections of mechanical or toy banks in the country at the present time, some six or
seven are known to be owned by banks or bankers. And it must be remarked that these
collections are not reckoned by mere numbers of specimens, but often run to several
Bankers were probably the first to become interested in gathering together these ingenious coin receptacles which thrilled the children of sixty and seventy years ago with their odd shapes and clever mechanisms, although within recent years the collecting urge has spread to the general public.
It is an expensive hobby. According to Andrew Emerine, president of the First National Bank, Fostoria, Ohio, who is by way of being an expert on this subject, it was possible some years ago to buy almost any bank for from $3 to $8, but today the more unusual and rarer varieties cost from $25 to $300.
Because these banks make novel display material, they are generally kept where visitors and customers can see them, or are brought out for special exhibits in the lobby. The collection of the late Elmer Rand Jacobs, formerly vice-president and comptroller of the Seamens Bank for Savings, New York City, has a small room to itself adjacent to that banks main quarters. Mr. Emerine keeps his collection in several large bookcases on the mezzanine floor of his bank. The picture above shows some of the banks in the collection of the Boston Five Cents Savings Bank, Boston, Massachusetts. The collection was accumulated by the late Wilmot R. Evans Jr., former president. John D. Meyer, vice-president of the First Blair County National Bank, Tyrone, Pennsylvania, William F. Ferguson and C. W. Hallet both of the Bank for Savings, New York City, are also among the bankers who have important collections.
ISABELLE M. BENNETT,
Montclair, New Jersey