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Darky and Watermelon Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1954

54-04.JPG (11758 bytes)

Rarity in any collectible group of items always offers the individual collector of the items the ever present challenge to add to his collection. Certainly rarity is an item of consideration as we reach No. 28 in our numerical classification of mechanical banks, namely the Darky And Watermelon Bank.

The bank was designed and patented by Charles A. Bailey on June 26, 1888 under Patent No. 385,225. It was manufactured by the J. and E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Conn. The writer has never seen this bank pictured in one of their catalogs, however, it is pictured in a Selchow and Richters Catalog of 1888-89 and it is called the "Foot Ball" Bank. It is advertised as a new item for that year and sold for $8.50 per dozen. Each bank was packed in an individual wooden box as was the usual case with all the mechanical banks.

It might be well to point out the reason for calling this bank the Darky And Watermelon instead of the Football Bank as it was called in the above mentioned catalog. Often the Calamity Bank is called the Football Bank, then there is an English Bank with the name Football Bank imprinted on it. It is obviously better, descriptive-wise, to use Darky And Watermelon to avoid confusion. It’s to be admitted that the Bad Accident is sometimes referred to as Darky With Watermelon. However, the name Bad Accident is imprinted on the bank and this should avoid any confusion. There is no name imprinted on the Darky And Watermelon and the individual can use his own judgment in the choice of names.

The bank pictured was obtained by an Eastern collector who apparently felt the price was high and in turn sold it to a collector in California. The bank at present is privately held and this particular specimen will probably never be put up for sale.

The bank is very characteristic of Bailey’s tendency to use foliage and flowers. Also it stands on four feet which is the case in a number of his banks. It is painted in appropriate colors according to information obtained by the writer. The melon is green and the base is different shades of green, the ball is brown, and the darky is dressed in red, yellow and black clothes.

The bank operates as follows: First a coin is placed in the football, then the right leg of the darky is pulled back. A lever located in the back of the darky is then pressed and he kicks the football over onto the melon and the coin drops into the melon. The football is fastened to a lever, of course, and this is replaced into position as shown to repeat the action.

The Darky And Watermelon is quite a rare bank and naturally a desirable item to have in a collection. There are reported to be two of these banks existing in private collections.


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