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Girl Skipping Rope Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1952

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In placing the Girl Skipping Rope Bank in 7th position in the numerical classification of mechanical banks based on desirability and rarity, the writer expects that a number of collectors will question the ranking of this bank. It is to be admitted that there are certainly rarer banks which are also quite desirable that would on the surface seem to be logically ahead of the Girl Skipping Rope. As example, Roller Skating, Springing Cat, Circus Bank, Giant, Old Woman in the Shoe, Sportsman’s Bank, and Little Red Riding Hood. However, there is no other bank that rates over the Girl Skipping Rope as being a "must" in any collection of mechanical banks. Furthermore, this bank in the past few years has increased in monetary value far ahead of many other rare banks. Then, too, it has become increasingly scarce over the same period as more collectors have come into the field. The writer in placing the bank so high has tried not to be influenced by personal opinion or favoritism.

The bank was designed and patented by Mr. J.H. Bowen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 20, 1890. It was manufactured by the Stevens Company in Cromwell, Connecticut. Some years ago the writer was fortunate enough to talk to several men who had helped to make this bank in the Stevens foundry and found they had more difficulty with it than any bank they had ever manufactured due to the involved casting of the enclosure covering the mechanism. This was due to the problem of having the metal flow properly into the mold, necessary to make the two-piece curved intricate casting.

The bank was obtained from an antique dealer in Albany, New York, some years back and is original throughout and in perfect working condition. It is painted in bright colors, the base being red, green, yellow and gold, and the girl’s dress is painted yellow and green. It operates as follows: the coin is inserted, as shown, by the squirrel, then a key which winds up the mechanism is inserted just above the squirrel. The lever located between the girl and the mechanism is pressed and the following action takes place: the coin automatically drops in the bank, the rope revolves, the girl moves up and down, each leg moves back and forth realistically, and at the same time her head turns from side to side. The whole action is quite realistic and it is the most mechanical of all the banks.

Very few of the mechanical banks were made for girls only and obviously the Girl Skipping Rope comes into this category. Originally this bank was called the Jumping Rope Bank and it is listed as such in one of the old Stevens’ catalogs. However, for some years now it has come to be called the Girl Skipping Rope Bank.

 

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