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HOBBIES — The Magazine for Collectors, April, 1942

Old Mechanical Bank Notes

EVENTS thus far in 1942 show no wavering of interest in the collecting of old mechanical banks. HOBBIES, for one example, carries as much advertising for old mechanical banks as in the past, and since most of these advertisements offer to buy the demand far exceeds the supply, apparently. This is always an interesting state in collecting because it adds to the interest of the search.

A group of old mechanical banks was sold at auction by the Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York City, recently, and the prices obtained bespeak keen bidding. Banks sold, and prices obtained are listed herewith:

ILLUSTRATED (Reading from top, left to right)

Humpty Dumpty Bank. Bust of famous character, who swallows the coin and rolls his eyes. Height 6-1/2". (Illustrated). Brought approximately $15.00.

Darktown Battery Bank. Three baseball worthies. The batsman misses the ball (coin), which disappears inside the catcher. Height 9-1/2". Brought $32.50. (Illustrated).

Surprised Owl Bank. The owl turns his head and receives the coin inside. Height 7-1/2". (Illustrated). Approximately $10.

Murphy and Pig Bank. The pig deftly kicks the coin into the open mouth of the seated Irishman. Height 8-1/2". Brought $27.50. (Illustrated).

Punch and Judy Bank. Judy, confronted by Punch, deftly scoops the coin into a slot at the rear, while dodging the blow. Height 7-1/2". Brought $25. (Illustrated).

Speaking Dog Bank. Little girl in red frock seated before an evidently pleased brown retriever. Height 7-1/2". Brought $25. (Illustrated).

Tammany Bank. Seated boss with gently nodding head receives the coin into his breast pocket. Height 6". Brought $10. (Illustrated).

Indian and Bear Bank. A befeathered kneeling Indian fires the coin into a brown bear. Length 10-1/2". Brought $32.50. (Illustrated).

Boy Bird-Nesting Bank. Boy on a breaking branch which falls, depositing the coin in the trunk. Height 8". $30. (Illustrated).

OTHERS (Not illustrated)

Rifle Practice Bank. This bank pictures an infantryman firing the coin through a target and into a tree trunk. Length 9-1/2". Brought $10.

Darktown Cabin Bank. Colored boy, standing in door of a cabin, turns a somersalt and kicks the coin under the roof. Height 4". Brought $17.

William Tell Bank. "William Tell" shoots the coin off junior’s head into a tower. Length 10". Brought $17.50.

Bird and Fledglings Bank. Two chicks in a nest receive the coin from the mother bird. Length 8". Brought $32.50.

Trick Pony Bank. Horse in front of a manager, which receives the coin hurled from the horse’s mouth. Length 7". Brought $20.

Bulldog Bank. Ferocious black seated bulldog, which evidently swallows the coin. Height 7-1/2".

Treed Monkey Bank. A lion with expectant open mouth receives the coin hurled down by a monkey. Length 9". Brought $30.

Artillery Bank. A bombardier standing by a mortar, which fires the coin into a tower. Length 8". Brought $32.50.

Another Punch and Judy bank, almost identical to the one illustrated brought $30 in the same sale. A lot of five banks varying in form, including a state house, Independence Hall, owl, elephant and Excelsior bank, brought $45.

— O —

The hobby of collecting old mechanical banks seems to draw the largest percentage of its devotees from the banking profession. In this field of collecting the men greatly outnumber the women, it appears. However, there are a few avid collectors among femininity, and among the latter, Mrs. Ina Hayward Bellows of Michigan, compiled a book on the subject — Old Mechanical Banks — which has been a good seller among collectors and dealers.

Another Angle to Bank Collecting

The Northwestern Banker, trade journal of the banking fraternity, recently called attention to the "bank" hobby of Clarence T. Simmons, Iowa banker. Mr. Simmons’ hobby is collecting small coin banks of the type used by many banking institutions for distribution to their savings account customers to stimulate activity in that department.

Mr. Simmons has been accumulating his collection over a period of years, and is constantly adding to it. His collection now totals something over 400 coin banks of various kinds, sizes, and shapes. He has one or more banks from every state in the Union. Canada and Hawaii are also represented, and just recently he had a letter from a banker in Bermuda saying that a small coin bank from that corner of the British Empire was on its way to him. True to the old saying that prophets are without honor in their own country, Mr. Simmons has fewer coin banks from his home state of Iowa, than from each of many other states.

All the coin banks in Mr. Simmons’ collection came to him direct from bankers, and all are samples of banks which are now, or at some time have been, used by banking institutions for distribution to customers of their savings departments. He says that so far as he knows his collection of bankers’ banks is the only one of its kind in existence. But, of course, this news in HOBBIES may uncover others.

The types and kinds of coin banks in the Simmons collection are of many sizes and shapes, although those made up to represent small books are the most popular. Of course the basic material used in their construction is metal, and there are many metal miniatures — small figures of cats, owls, bells, beehives, barrels, bank buildings, watches and clocks, houses, trunks, strong boxes, and even air-planes. One of the oldest banks in the collection, of the book type, is also from the oldest organized bank in the United States — the Provident Institution for Savings, Boston.

The hunter shooting at the bear, pictured here also, was given to Mr. Simmons when he was a child about 45 years ago. After compressing a spring, a coin is placed on the barrel of the gun and with somewhat of a cross-bow effect is shot between the paws of the bear and drops down somewhere into the bear’s innards, of course, to be recovered later and placed on deposit in a savings account. While all this shooting is going on, release of the spring causes the hunter to bob his head and the bear to open its mouth.

Pictured here also is a coin bank from Hawaii, and another bank in the shape of an airplane, and a good one, too. The Hawaii bank is a miniature of the Bank of Hawaii, Ltd., Honolulu, with of course a slot in the roof through which to drop the coins. The airplane was distributed at one time by the Fletcher American National Bank of Indianapolis, known now as the American National Bank. The little plane is most true to detail with its rubber tires, whirling propeller and small motor, and is meant to be a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis. The plane is called, however, according to the brass inscription on each side, the "Spirit of Saving."


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