The Football Bank, another English made mechanical bank, is our choice as No. 51 in our numerical classification of the mechanical banks. This is an attractive bank with its sporting subject and quite scarce even though there were apparently a considerable number of them manufactured.
The bank was made by the English concern, John Harper & Company, who also made the Wimbledon Bank and the well known Dinah Bank. Harper was active in the mechanical bank field and turned out a number of interesting desirable specimens in addition to the above mentioned banks.
The Football Bank is a registered item, and while intended as a toy savings device, it was apparently also sold to various Clubs. The bank is shown in one of the old Harper catalogs and the statement is made that it could be "Supplied In Club Colours For Orders Of Six Dozen Or More." This would indicate that the bank was possibly used as a trophy or prize among certain English clubs or as a gift to members with the respective club colors on the bank.
The bank shown is from the fine collection of L.C. Hegarty, an enthusiastic mechanical bank collector. He obtained it some years ago from an Eastern antique dealer who in turn had found it in England. The bank is in fine completely original condition with no repairs and excellent paint.
The bank is painted as follows: The base is entirely green simulating a field with grass-like indentations in the casting. The name "Football Bank" appears on the base in raised letters and these are gold in color. The shed-like structure, properly called basket, on the end of the bank is an overall brown. This has diamond shaped grillwork in the back. The rear corners have oval perforations in the casting and the sides are a herringbone type pattern. The top is lattice-like slots. There is a white goal post on each side of the front with a cross-piece at the top also painted white. The front of the basket is a woven lattice effect with diamond shaped openings alternately painted reddish-maroon and white. The coin holder just in front of the figure is brown. The figure of the player has brown shoes, black socks, and white trunks. He has a turtle neck sweater in reddish-brown with blue sleeves and collar. His hair is black and the facial features are fine and distinct.
The bank operates as follows: A coin is placed in position in the coin holder, then the players right leg is pulled back into kicking position where it is held in place by the operating lever. On pressing the lever the player kicks the coin into the opening between the goal posts on the basket. A screw on the underside of the base allows the basket to raise for removal of coins.
A point of interest is in the figure of the player being made of brass, as is the operating lever. The rest of the bank is cast iron. In making the figure in brass the manufacturer undoubtedly felt that this metal would stand certain strains in the kicking action better than cast iron.
The Football Bank, like several other of the sporting motif mechanical banks, is an attractive desirable item. Not many have turned up to date as there are only about six known to exist in private collections.