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U.S. and Spain Banks
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - January, 1954

54-01.JPG (10239 bytes)

Mechanical banks, as with other types of collectible items, can be grouped or classified into specialized divisions. One of these groups which is rather small in number is the cannon and fort type. Among these we come to No. 26 in our numerical classification, namely the U.S. And Spain Bank.

The group of banks which utilize a cannon in their action also fit in with the shooting type such as the Sportsman’s Bank, Teddy And The Bear, and others. It’s also well to mention that certain of the banks in the different groupings also can be placed in an overall historical group.

The U.S. And Spain Bank is a cannon type bank, of course, and is also historical in its connection with the Spanish-American War. It is not the rarest of the cannon type banks as the Octagonal Fort, for example, is somewhat rarer. However, it is much more desirable from all other standpoints, including action, appearance, and theme. And of course it is rare and hard to find.

The bank was patented July 12, 1898 by Charles Bailey and made by the Stevens Company of Cromwell, Conn. It was covered by a design patent which is not the usual case with the majority of the patented banks.

The specimen shown is in general good condition with a small piece broken from the base end where the firing hammer recedes into the base. It was obtained some years ago through the good help of Dr. Arthur E. Corby of New York City. The bank is painted in appropriate colors. The cannon has a black barrel and the base upon which it is mounted is gray with the lettering "U.S." in gold. The fort is unusual in that it has a natural stone appearance. This was achieved by the use of sand. The off-color white paint on the fort was either dipped in sand or sprinkled with it while still wet or tacky. The top flat surface of the fort is painted green to simulate grass. The Spanish ship has the lettering "Spain" in white, the hull is black and the mast and turret are tan and brown. All cannons on the Spanish ship are gold. The two men on the mast have yellow uniforms with red hats and the Spanish flag and the ocean are painted in natural colors.

The bank operates as follows: The coin is placed as pictured in front of the mast on the ship, then a wooden type shell is placed in the barrel of the cannon. The hammer on the cannon is then pulled down and the lever to fire the cannon appears at the side. When the lever is pressed the hammer shoots the shell forward making a direct hit on the mast knocking it over backward. This causes the coin to drop automatically into the bank. To repeat the action the mast is simply raised into position, and proceed as described. If more realistic action is desired, the cannon is made so that it will fire paper caps.

If you are collecting mechanical banks in the overall group, or the specialized subject group, or historical class, the U.S. And Spain Bank fits into all three and is a very desirable item in any one or all of them.


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