HOBBIES — The Magazine For Collectors, June,
The OLD and NEW PENNY BANKS (See
The cover of this issue pictures penny banks from the collection of
Henry Stenger, Hoosier collector. Stenger's version of the highlights of
his hobby of collecting goes something like this:
Happening in a strange shop some five years ago, Mr. Stenger spied,
squatting on a shelf, an intriguing Negro boy who, with encouragement,
popped pennies in mouth and promptly gulped them down. Right then and
there, he found himself a hobby. Today, 348 penny banks later, he's an
expert in the specialized penny bank collecting world.
The Negro boy, of course, was a penny bank, one of the many cast
iron, wood, tin and cloth ones that line shelves in Stenger's home. Put a
penny in the boy's outstretched hand, push a lever, watch the hand raise
to the mouth, and that's where the money goes.
Stenger corresponds with many other bank collectors getting leads on
rare buys, and paid considerable for one bank. This was a "guessing bank"
which, along with teaching the virtue of saving, also offered the penny
saver a 5-to-1 shot for his money. The gadget was made in the form of a
man seated with a dial in his lap. Put a penny in a slot and a horsehair
on the dial spun. If one guessed the place it would stop he got five
pennies for the trouble.
Fortunately, Stenger sees no immediate danger of amassing all the
varieties of penny banks there are in the world, thus wrecking his
favorite hobby. As hard as he has looked, he has managed to acquire only
some 80 mechanical, or moving part, banks out of what veteran penny bank
collectors consider an easy 275 to get. That leaves him 195 — and lots of
correspondence and interesting stores — to go.