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Thrift Federal Savings & Loan Association
1706 Franklin Street
Oakland 12, California

"News O’ Thrift"
Vol. 1, Number 5, December, 1951

Hobby Lobby Filled With Coin Banks

Soon on the heels of the invention of small coins and coupled with the human characteristic to save, came the invention of small home savings banks. Possibly one of the most fascinating and entertaining of hobbies is the collecting of old mechanical home banks.

Asked about his hobby display, Mr. Leon Cameto, Oakland foundry operator, said "I have been collecting for about 9 years, OPA nerves started me. My doctor said I would have to take it easier. I took it up as a ‘balance wheel’ for hard work."

Mr. Cameto now has about 170 different types of mechanical banks and about 400 still banks. All of these are cast iron and are modeled after clocks, animals, figures, houses and even a potato. The potato bank is called "Pingree Potato Bank," named after Governor Pingree of Michigan, in office in the ‘90’s. Governor Pingree issued an edict that people were to dig up empty lots and plant potatoes as an early version of the W.P.A, The potato bank came out as a memento. Home savings banks and toy banks were used for propaganda purposes — such as the Breadwinner Bank, the Baseball and Dentist Banks, all mechanical.

Mr. Cameto’s collection is gathered from across the length and breadth of the United States. Some of Mr. Cameto’s collection are rare with only a few, and in some instances no others, in existence today. His research on his hobby covers investigations into old patents, catalogs yellowed with age and all available books.

Small banks are an excellent way to start a youngster in the way of thrift. Encourage your child. Bring him with you to see this latest hobby display the month of January.


Photo Caption:

Leon Cameto currently displaying some of his coin banks as Thrift’s Hobby Lobby is shown holding one which is called "Variant Butting Goat and Hungry Frog." The coin is placed in the hands of man, goat butts him, sending coin into frog’s mouth and down into the storage area of the bank. This is one of many on display during January. Come in and see these interesting banks.


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