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GREAT GUNS, JANUARY 1953

Don't Save Pennies,
Save Penny Banks

     Saving pennies may bring fame and fortune to some, but Henry Miller of Mt. Vernon, New York has achieved these goals by saving mechanical penny BANKS. Mr. Miller's work room is filled with tiny iron banks showing people and scenes of the 1880s and 90s, which ride, walk, shoot and buck or move in some way.
     Drop a penny into one machine and a small statute of Atlas spins the world which he holds on his shoulders. Another penny will make two horses and their jockeys race around a circular track. There is even a mason who raises and lowers his trowel and places a brick if rewarded with a single cent.
     At one time these banks were children's toys and sold for less than $1 but today hobbyists often pay $25 to $300 depending on the condition and the scarcity of the particular mechanism.
     One of Mr. Miller's favorite banks is called "Bad Accident." When a penny is placed in the lap of the man driving a mule cart, a child jumps from behind a clump of bushes in front of the mule; the mule rears up, upsetting the car and sending the coin sliding into the bank beneath the driver's seat.
     Mr. Miller began this unusual business 18 years ago when he and his wife were in an antique shop looking for old furniture.  Prowling around he found something which he thought was a child's toy but which turned out to be a mechanical bank. Mr. Miller was fascinated and bought it for $10. When Mr. Miller had accumulated about 20 banks and Mrs. Miller got tired of dusting them he put an ad in an antique journal. The huge number of replies started him on his enjoyable and profitable career.
     Now retired from his job with the Soil Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture, Mr. Miller has added old toy cap pistols to his collection and has plans of expanding into the field of antique paper weights.

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