What Is the Worth of An
Old Penny Bank?
Copyrighted by Andrew
Back in the good old days when THRIFT seemed a virtue, even to the
extent of attempting to influence the child to save its pennies, several
enterprising iron foundries were competing and striving to produce the
most attractive and best selling Mechanical Bank.
These clever and interesting units of mechanism were constructed of
intricate parts and timed to perform their respective stunts with
promptness and precision. They were sold by the general store as 'toy
banks' and presented to the boy or girl, often serving as a Christmas
gift, and many a grandfather today recalls with pleasant memory his old
boyhood penny bank.
Over six hundred different varieties were made, resulting in many
thousands banks being sold between the years 1875 and 1910, some two
hundred and sixty of the six hundred having had moving parts and been
known as 'Mechanical Banks' while the others are called 'still banks.'
A large percentage were patented patents being granted as early as
1886 and continuing in considerable number until about 1895.
When consideration is given to the fact that the early banks were
strictly hand made and individually hand decorated it is indeed surprising
to learn of the very low price for which they were sold.
Imagine if you can, going into a toy Shop or General Store and buying
a Circus Bank, Dentist, Horse Race, Merry Go Round, Harlequin, Initiating
First Degree, Shoot the Chute, or any one of forty other good banks, all
done up in a neat wooden carton with name thereon for $1.25 to $2.00.
Old catalogs issued about 1880 to 1910 list practically all of the
old mechanical banks at wholesale to the shop keeper at $8.00 and $9.00 a
dozen mind you, and he in turn retailed such as Wm. Tell, Eagle, Spice a
Mule, Speaking Dog, Creedmore, Clown on Globe and many other of this
common class at $1.00 each, while Tammany, Owl, Darkey in Cabin Door, Pig
in Highchair, Dog on Turntable and many others sold for fifty and
seventy-five cents each.