1943 Newspaper Article
COLLECTION OF TOY
BANKS, ANTIQUES, ONE OF BEST
By HARRY FRONT
"Brethren and sistren, ifn't you wants to be saved, you does as the Good
Book tells tou," might have been the New Minister's message, the while Gen. U.
S. Grant sat in his easy chair, nonchalantly puffing away at
a cigarette. All the while, the little bird in a gilded cage kept chirping
merrily, while the Housewife Churner was busy at her churn, and the colored
musicians played away and the village dancer did his stuff.
Yes, it sounds a little
silly, but if you were in the First National Bank's board of directors' room,
and saw what the writer witnessed, you wouldn't be surprised.
It was our privilege
to be the guest of Andrew Emerine, collector par excellence, who was showing us
the various mechanical toys, now a rarity, the many toy banks and the assorted
collection of weapons and bottles of which he prides himself so highly.
Mr. Emerine is one of the
seven outstanding bank and toy collectors on the continent. The other six are
John D. Meyer, Tyrone, Pa.; Dr. W. G. Downes, Hartford, Conn.; F. W. Wieder,
Berkeley, Calif.; Dr. A. E. Corby, Wm. F. Ferguson of the Bank for Savings and
Thorton C. Thayer, The Seaman's Bank for Savings, all of New York City.
Mr. Emerine, whose
collection ranks second to that of Dr. Corby's was honored some months ago on a
Canadian broadcast, when Claire Wallace featured him on the "They Tell Me"
program. During the broadcast she told of Mr. Emerine's collection of toy banks.
The smallest is a two inch top hat. One of the most cherished is the "Freedman
Minstrel" who snatches the coin, the while he waves his hand and nods in
Collectors' Items Now
It is believed that
95 per cent of toy banks are now in the hands of collectors. These cast iron,
painted novelties were once household standbys. Some ranged in price from ten
cents to seven and eight dollars. The latter figure applied to the mechanical
The Emerine collection
includes such rare specimens as Gen. U. S. Grant, the Bird in a cage, the
colored dancing group, an original "jitterbug," the Old Deacon, the colored
village scene, the Maid Churner, the Wash Women, the Acrobat, and many others.
Among his mechanical
toys, the Flower Girl with music box effects is outstanding. Then, there is
Prof. Pug Frog; the dentist, who receives a coin in his coat pocket, simulates
extraction of a tooth, with the patient being dumped out of the chair; the
Afghanistan Bank; Little Red Riding Hood, wherein the grandmother raises her
mask revealing the wolf, after the coin has been inserted; the Mikado; John
Bull's Money Box, which was adopted by many English commercial banks as a means
of raising funds for Belgian Relief after World War I and which Mr. Emerine
acquired in England; the Monkey and Cocoanut; the Bulldog , another rarity, and
Walking away from the
bank and mechanical toy collection we saw the antiques in weapons and musketry.
There are many pieces, some exceptionally rare, but the two which attracted this
writer's attention were canes, of which we once attempted to make a collection.
One is a Chinese sword
cane. By a simple twist of the head of the cane, one extracts a sharp and lethal
sword. It is sharp, as the cut on our thumb will indicate.
The other, somewhat
larger, is a gun cane. A twist of the hand-grasp, a slip of the ornamental, and
the gun is ready to be fired. Fortunately for us, it wasn't loaded when we
experimented with it.
Glass Blower's Art
The collection of
bottles represents many rare specimens, antiques in the glass blower's art. Some
are medicine bottles, others contained spirits which are so difficult to secure
now in any kind of a bottle.
Mr. Emerine would not
place a dollars and cents value on his collection, adding that none of the items
were for sale. It is a hobby in which he has indulged for the past 20 years. His
specimens came from all corners of the earth, and — as all collectors — he is
ever ready to make what additions opportunities might make possible.