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Mechanical Bank Collectors Convention
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - January, 1959

59-01.JPG (24898 bytes)A rather unique event, at least for some of the mechanical bank collectors, occurred on Saturday, September 27, 1958, in Rhode Island. This occasion was the first general get together of a group of the mechanical bank collectors and the sponsor of the event was the Antique Bank Collectors of Rhode Island, a collectors club that was established in 1951.

A number of collectors, including the writer, who came from distant points arrived on Friday night and stayed at the Bob Bean Motel in Wickford, R.I. This turned out to be a very pleasant spot to stay and on Saturday morning there was a good deal of activity among the collectors present, exchanging ideas, getting acquainted, and so on.

The schedule for the day and evening was an active one and exceptionally well planned and organized by E.T. Richards, the President of the Antique Bank Collectors of Rhode Island. The first event on the agenda was a social hour held at "Hedgerow," the very attractive and spacious home of the E.T. Richards in Peace Dale, Rhode Island. They have a fine representative collection of mechanical banks and these are well displayed throughout the first floor section of their home. They have some in the sun room, the den, and the dining room. In the large living room two mechanical banks are used as attractive lamp displays. The lamp bases are made so that various different mechanical banks can be shown from time to time. All in all a very nice effect is obtained by the way the Richards have their mechanical banks arranged and the writer felt that a very pleasant atmosphere was created by having mechanical banks in whatever room one happened to be in.

After the social hour the group gathered in the main sitting room and Mark Haber gave a talk entitled "Mechanical Bank Prices,—Past, Present and Future." He had prepared a very well planned speech on the subject which offered much food for thought. Everyone found his talk stimulating and an interesting question and answer period followed.

Several collectors had been asked to bring some favorite or rare bank or two with them to the affair, and after Mr. Haber’s excellent talk the writer discussed and explained these banks. The banks certainly bear mention since they were a very interesting and important part of the activity. William Roup brought along his rare Preacher in the Pulpit, Clown Bank, and the Presto. M.C. Manlove had his Red Riding Hood with him, and this is the finest specimen of this bank the writer has seen to date. Two rare pattern banks, the Wishbone Bank and Aunt Dina and the Fairy, were a couple of favorites that L.C. Hegarty picked out for the occasion. The writer brought three banks from his collection, The Old Woman in the Shoe, Jonah and the Whale (Jonah Emerges), and John Bull’s Money Box. Norman O. Weil had a Calamity Bank in the original box, and needless to say, the bank was in unusually fine condition. It is a rare occasion to find a bank such as this in the original container.

Some of the leading dealers in mechanical banks attended the meeting and they brought along various banks to sell. The dealers exhibiting banks were: Frank Ball, Mark Haber, and David Hollander. This, of course was another feature that added interest to the affair. George Bauer was also in attendance and he not only deals in mechanical banks but is also well known for his excellent repair work.

After the activities held in the Richard’s home the meeting was resumed at the Larchwood Inn in Wakefield, R.I. Here the first item on the agenda consisted of a cocktail hour followed by the evening session. A nice dinner started the session and favors were provided for everyone attending. The men received clever barber pole banks and the ladies received either a cat or a dog bank and in all cases each bank had a plastic plaque identifying it with the convention. In the private dining room where the dinner and meeting was held Hubert B. Whiting had a display of some of the still banks from his collection. Outstanding were the Seal, the Rhinoceros, the Three Monkeys, the Bull and Bear, and a number of other fine rarities.

After the banquet the speaker of the evening was the writer. He spoke on mechanical banks in general and on recasts, fakes and reproductions in particular. A question and answer period was held after the writer’s talk and this brought out many interesting discussions. After this a business meeting was held wherein the foundation was set up for a mechanical bank collectors club on a national scale. A board of directors was established and tentative plans were made to hold the next convention in Pittsburgh, Pa., probably some time in September, 1959.

Following is a list of people who attended this first general convention of the mechanical bank collectors: Mark Haber, Wethersfield, Conn.; Mr. & Mrs. Frank L. Ball, Cambridge, Mass.; Andrew C. Bain, Warwick, R.I.; George W. Bauer, Pottstown, Pa.; Oliver I. Clark, Bloomfield, Conn.; Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Hall, Milford, Dela.; Mr. & Mrs. L.C. Hegarty, Coalport, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. David Hollander, Yonkers, N.Y.; C.R. Howell, Elmhurst, Ill.; Frederick L. Macalister, Rehoboth, Mass.; Mr. & Mrs. M.C. Manlove, Seaford, Dela.; Mr. & Mrs. Philip A. Perkins, Palmer, Mass.; Mr. & Mrs. William H. Roup, Pottstown, Pa.; Rudolph A. Salvatore, Providence, R.I.; Mr. & Mrs. Normal O. Weil, Tuckahoe, N.Y.; Mr. & Mrs. Hubert B. Whiting, Wakefield, Mass.; Mr. & Mrs. Edward T. Richards, "Hedgerow," Peace Dale, R.I.


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