Girl in the Victorian Chair
One of the banks that was obviously made exclusively to appeal to little girls is our choice to occupy 19th position in our numerical classification of mechanical banks. The bank is called The Girl In The Victorian Chair and, while it is the least mechanical covered so far, it does have a quaint charm and appeal and is quite rare and hard to find, particularly in nice condition.
There is very little known about The Girl In The Victorian Chair, either as to when it was made, who designed the bank, or what company manufactured it. From certain characteristics it definitely resembles the work of Charles Bailey. Along with banks he also designed a bell-ringing pull toy called Christmas Morn. The original pattern of this toy was studied rather closely by the writer some years ago when it was in the possession of the late Norman E. Sherwood. There is a definite similarity between the girl on the toy and the girl on the bank. The facial work in particular looks like the work of Bailey. Unfortunately there are no patent dates, markings inside the castings, or anything else that would serve as a helpful clue to trace the bank to its origin.
The bank pictured is entirely original with no repairs and in practically mint condition. It was obtained from Mr. J.P. Hurd of Beverly, Mass.
The bank, as already mentioned, is not very spectacular as to its mechanical action, but it definitely is a mechanical bank and the action does take place in conjunction with the coin entering the bank. First a coin is placed at the top of the chair as shown, then a small lever in the back of the chair is moved. The coin drops in the bank and the dog held in the girls lap moves toward her. When the lever is released the dog returns to its original position.
This is the first bank covered so far that has to be taken apart in order to remove the coins. This is done by removing the screw located under the lever in the back of the bank. This screw holds the two-part casting together. Also, it is in order to mention the dimensions of this bank as it is very tiny and one of the smallest of the mechanical banks. The overall height is exactly four inches. It is two and one-eighth inches wide, and two and one-eighth inches deep at the base of the chair. The dog is one inch high.
The casting of the bank is very nicely done showing tassel or fringe-like indentations from the chair seat to the bottom. The back of the chair has lattice-like markings. Its a proportionate little bank and the girl and dog are also nicely made. As to color, the chair is lacquer bronze with gold highlights. The girl has blonde hair with blue eyes and natural color skin. The dress is painted blue and the dog is brown and black.
The bank has been called The Girl In The Victorian Chair by collectors mainly from a standpoint of identification. To the best of the writers knowledge the original name the bank was sold under is not known as so far no catalogs or other advertising material have turned up showing the bank. It could have been called Girl And Dog Bank, or Girl In The Chair, or some other similar name. But the name it goes under is properly descriptive and a good long one for so small a bank.
The bank has a very definite charm and appeal as mentioned, and could very easily fit in a doll collection. Its interesting to note that banks are often found in other than bank collections. A collector of elephants will often have or want the various elephant banks, both mechanical and still. The writer knows of a Jonah And The Whale Bank in a collection of whaling items. Also, dog collectors have an interest for the various mechanical and still dog banks. This phase of mechanical banks even goes so far that the writer knows of another collector near Philadelphia, Pa., who is interested in items pertaining to frogs and has a number of the banks that have a frog or toad on them! This continues on down to personal interest and historical items and these phases will be dealt with in subsequent articles.
The collector who has The Girl In The Victorian Chair in his collection is quite fortunate. Those who dont have a rather scarce item to find. There are about ten of these banks known to exist in private collections.