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Recast Mechanical Banks
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - January, 1955

The number of recast mechanical banks has increased over a period of years, and particularly so in the last year or two. This is not an alarming situation, however, it is best to recognize it for what it is. No true collector wants recast banks in his collection and no legitimate dealer cares to sell them.

First, it is well to recognize the fact that some mechanical banks were being recast 15 to 20 years ago. These included the Jolly Nigger, Paddy and the Pig, Gem, and a number of others. These banks were recognizable as recasts at the time and they can still be recognized as such today. This also applies to recast banks that are being reproduced at the present time.

The terminology "recast" refers, of course, to a reproduction of a mechanical bank. A recast is one that is made by recasting all the parts from an original bank and then assembling the recast parts to make a reproduced bank. These recast banks have no value to the collector of mechanical banks and have no place in a collection of authentic originals. Unfortunately the recasts that are circulated around are being represented as old banks, unknowingly or not. No legitimate antique dealer or collector wants to have anything to do with recast banks, therefore, a certain amount of experience, caution, knowledge, helpful hints, and a list of the recast banks will be of help to both dealer and collector.

Experience, of course, can only be gained through actual experience itself. Familiarity with the banks, handling them, examining them carefully, and studying various characteristics leads to knowledge and experience. It’s to be admitted that many dealers who occasionally get a mechanical bank don’t have the necessary time to devote to making a study of mechanical banks. However, they can certainly protect themselves from handling recast mechanical banks by being certain of the source from which they obtain a bank. The new or inexperienced collector can do the same thing, be sure as far as possible of the source of the bank he is buying.

As to helpful hints, there are a number of these. For one thing recast banks do not fit together too well. The parts are slightly larger since they are cast from the bank itself not the original pattern. Sometimes a bank is recast and then half the original bank is assembled with half the recast parts. This is just another trick employed to make two banks from one and therefore supposedly more difficult to distinguish as reproductions.

Paint is another identifying feature. A number of the banks being recast today are painted with flat paints to give a dull finish in an effort to have them appear old. This can be identified as such. Some of the recasts are intentionally rusted and dirtied up to give an appearance of age. This also can be recognized as such.

It’s well to remember too that in most cases of recast banks the finish of the cast iron itself is quite rough and heavy looking and this is not true of the old banks themselves. Most of the mechanical banks have very smooth castings both inside and out and are not inclined to be pebbly or rough.

Another point is to be extra cautious if a bank is represented as being repainted. Old paint and natural wear is a definite clue to an original authentic bank.

Following is a list of banks that are known to have been recast. Unfortunately there are a few of the rarer banks in the list. These have appeared more or less recently.

Bear And Tree Stump
Bear Standing
Bill E. Grin
Bird On Roof
Bismark Pig
Boy and Bull Dog
Bucking Mule
Bull Dog Standing
Butting Goat
Circus Ticket Collector
Elephant Locked Howdah
Gem Bank
Jolly Nigger (All types)
Jonah and the Whale
Mamma Katzenjammer
Paddy and the Pig
Peg-Leg Beggar
Tabby Bank
Uncle Sam Bust
U.S. and Spain

To conclude, remember that many of the recasts are very poorly made and painted. As example, the Bill E. Grin as originally made and painted was entirely white with black and red markings. The recast is painted entirely different than this and in various different colors. The recast of the Hindu is a very rough poorly painted job and only a sad replica of the original. The Bismark Pig, of which only a few original authentic specimens exist, was recast some years ago. These recasts aren’t even the same as the original. They operate differently and the tails are not alike. The fake Tricky Pig was also made from these recasts.

To repeat, no true collector or legitimate antique dealer has any desire to have or handle recast mechanical banks and it is with this thought in mind that the above information is passed along.


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