Auction $ 
Sy - Index
Grif - Index
A - Z Index
Slide Show 
 YouTube \


What's New 
Web Notes 
A-Z Index  
Date Index 
European Tin 


VAN WERT, OHIO, June 1941


          Writing one policy to cover 200 banks is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! But before anyone becomes unduly excited and tries to duplicate the sale in his territory, perhaps we had best explain that the 200 banks are antique mechanical banks that the policy was written by Central Agent George R. Cameron of Fostoria, Ohio, to cover the unusual collection of Andrew Emerine, President of the First National Bank of Fostoria and finally that there are only eight such collections in the country, so sales opportunities in the field are fairly well limited.
          In our opinion there could be no more fitting avocation for a bank president than the collection of antique banks. Especially when as in the case of Mr. Emerine the hobby of collecting is carried out to the point where the collection receives wide recognition for its completeness. Indeed, Mr. Emerine's collection is regarded as one of the eight outstanding collections of rare old penny banks in the United States. The other seven include that of the late Walter P. Chrysler, five in the east and one other in Ohio. As Mr. Emerine says, "It is not difficult to gather in a collection of the first 100 of the more common banks, but it is quite difficult to acquire the last 50 after the collection has reached 200 in number."

(Figure A)  Above is illustrated one of the survivors of the Freedman bank,
produced just after the Civil War.

          The manufacture of toy mechanical banks was a thriving industry back in the good old days when thrift was a virtue instilled in children at an early age. In fact, several enterprising iron foundrys carried on spirited competition in their efforts to produce the most attractive, best selling mechanical banks. Over 600 different varieties were designed with thousands of duplicates being retailed between the years 1860 and 1885. Some 260 of these had moving parts and were called "mechanical banks," while the remainder were known as "still banks."
          Today, the collectors' big problem lies in obtaining those models originally reproduced in small quantities. For such rare specimens there is a ready market at good prices, many in this group being eagerly "snatched up" at prices ranging from $100 to more than $300. From Mr. Emerine's large collection, we are showing with his permission a few of extremely interesting specimens.
          Figure A shows the famous Freedman Bank which appeared soon after the close of the Civil War and sold for $4.50. Today there are but three known survivors of its kind. This model is a truly "mechanical bank." with a key winding mechanism motivating the action. In action the coin is swept into the opening in the table with the figure's left hand, while the right hand raises the thumb to nose with the fingers active and the head turning with a broad smile. This particular bank, while made and marketed in the United States, was bought in Mexico City at several times its original cost, and is today valued at $300.

(Figure B)  Typical of the action furnished by the "mechanical banks" is that of the
two models shown below. The coin eventually lands in the frog's mouth.

          Figure B illustrates two different banks using similar characters. On the left side "Old Man on Goat and Frog" (value $100), while on the right "Initiating, First Degree." In both instances the frog receives the coin.

      (Figure C)  (Figure D Below)                                      (Figure E)

                                                        (Figure F)

          Figure C, "Jonah and the Whale." graphically portrayed to the child's mind a story with which he was familiar. Another "mechanical bank," it's value today is $100.
          Probably the most valuable specimen in Figure D is the "Merry-Go-Round" (extreme lower left), valued at $100.
          A valuable collector's item appears in the group illustrated in Figure E. "The Girl Skipping Rope," extreme lower right, is valued at $100.
          "Blind Man and His Dog," lower right in group F, is another rare bank valued at $135.
          After looking over these few examples from Mr. Emerine's collection you will probably agree with the youngster who remarked "Gee Whiz, Dad, no wonder kids used to save. It was fun then."

 [ Top] [ Back ] Up ] 1942-08 Corby ]