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What Is the Worth of An

Old Penny Bank?

Copyrighted by Andrew Emerine.

     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.

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