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Bank Teller Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - February, 1953

53-02.JPG (10083 bytes)The fact that a bank is extremely rare or even the only known specimen isn’t the one governing factor that ranks one bank ahead of another. In placing the Bank Teller Bank in 17th position in our listing certainly rarity is quite a factor as it is probably the rarest bank covered so far in the articles. Of course it’s a desirable bank, not from the standpoint of action, but due to the fact that it is so definitely a savings bank. The theme, of course, being that of a teller in a bank who receives and deposits your money for safe keeping.

The Bank Teller was patented August 1, 1876 by Mr. Arthur C. Gould of Brookline, Massachusetts, and probably made by the J. and E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut. The patent papers call it the "Androidal or Automatic Cashier." Whether or not this name or some other name was used when the bank was originally sold is not known. To the best of the writer’s knowledge there have been no catalogs or other advertising material turned up as yet listing or picturing the bank. Collectors have referred to the bank as "The Tall Teller", "Tall Man In Frock Coat Behind Three-Sided Grill," and "Preacher In The Pulpit". However, Bank Teller Bank seems to be a more appropriate name for obvious reasons. Also, there actually is a Preacher In The Pulpit Bank and it is sometimes confused with the Bank Teller.

Before describing the operation of the bank a point of interest is the fact that the weight of the coin itself causes the action to take place. This is also the case in a number of other banks, namely Boy On Trapeze, Halls Excelsior, Tammany, Halls Lilliput, the patent model Halls Yankee-Notion Bank, Bow-ery Bank, Circus Ticket Collector, Clown On Bar, Dog Tray, Guessing Bank, Jumbo, National Savings Bank, Peg Leg Beggar, Preacher In The Pulpit, Registering Dime Savings Bank, and Tabby Bank. Also in this category are the Dapper Dan and Horse Race. However, in both these banks the weight of the coin trips a lever that starts the operation.

Mr. John Hall who was one of the early bank designers seems to have liked the idea that the weight of the coin would cause the action to take place. This is obvious, of course, by the action of various of the banks that he designed and some of which bear his name. He continually applied for patents protecting this feature and any possible variations. The Halls Lilliput Bank is a typical example with the many patents issued covering minor changes. His banks were manufactured by the J. and E. Stevens Company.

The Bank Teller Bank pictured was obtained from Erwin H. Gold of Hollywood, California and is in excellent condition. It operates as follows: A coin is placed in the extended left hand, he lowers his arm and the coin is deposited in the bank. At the same time he nods his head forward in a polite gesture of thanks. Of course his arm returns to the original position automatically, ready for another coin.

The bank is made of cast iron with the exception of the left arm which is made in two sections of a metal stamping. It is in excellent condition with no repairs. The paint is in exceptionally good condition for a bank with such an early date of manufacture. The grillwork is black with gold trimmings and the name "Bank" is also gold. The frock coat is black with gray trousers and the face and hands are naturally painted. Unlike most of the banks with either the conventional round coin trap or lock with key, this bank has a section of the grill by the feet of the figure which swings out to remove the coins. The bank itself is dated 1876 and this appears in front of the figure on the counter.

So far there are two of these banks known to exist in private collections. There have been rumors of another one and possibly two more, but so far nothing has come to light to substantiate these rumors.


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