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New Finds
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - October, 1961

The great majority of collectors, dealers, and individuals with an interest in mechanical banks naturally want to keep as well informed and up to date as possible. Generally speaking it is the writer’s policy to keep all interested individuals as current as feasible with occasional interruptions of the regular classification articles. Now and then some information, particularly in complete form, is a little difficult to pass along due to certain restrictions placed on the writer. Confidences must be respected and there are occasional circumstances whereby a particular collector or dealer wants to remain anonymous due to reasons of his own. Ofttimes a dealer will not want his name connected with a certain bank since he must maintain friendly business relations with the general group of mechanical bank collectors. Since it is impossible to please them all, at any one time, with one bank, his only recourse is to remain anonymous with some degree of secrecy. This is particularly true in the case of the rarer banks or unusual finds that come up now and then.

A few more or less interesting new finds in mechanical banks have not been reported by the writer for some time due to circumstances beyond his control. However, at this time, with names eliminated, there is no reason not to inform interested parties on these banks, Under present conditions opinions, personal or otherwise, will not be expressed here with respect to desirability or other factors surrounding the banks involved. The writer has personally seen all banks under discussion.

* * *

A mechanical bank that may have been known as the Barking Dog Bank is a rectangular box-like affair made of wood with tin sides. These tin sides are painted red and have round perforations. A rather large grotesque, angular wooden bull dog covered with brown color paper is on top of the box-like base. In operation, he is pulled into position to the end of the bank and a coin is placed at the proper location on the other end. A lever releases the dog and he springs toward the coin which drops inside the base. As this action takes place the mechanism inside the base simulates a barking sound. This is created by means of a tin arrangement dragging over a spring. The spring is fastened to one end of the base which acts as a sounding board. Part of the original paper label is on the underside of the base, but unfortunately most of it is missing and we can only surmise that the original name was the Barking Dog Bank. It is apparently a late item, possibly made in the same period as the Wireless Pup, which is a toy employing the use of a similar type bull dog in its action. The Wireless Pup was patented in 1913 and 1914 and was made during and somewhat beyond that period. The bank has a home-made look about it but the paper label would seem to establish its authenticity. This, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, is a new find in a mechanical bank.

* * *

A second type Guessing Bank has turned up and the action is the same as that of the conventional Guessing Bank which is the figure of a man sitting astride a chair. This second type has the figure of what looks like a Gay 90’s woman standing beside a section containing a coin chute and dial with revolving pointer. A coin is dropped in the provided slot at the top of this section and the weight of the falling coin causes the pointer to spin on the dial. The dial is numbered and if the depositor guesses the number at which the pointer stops he is entitled to withdraw the amount of coins indicated. Otherwise the bank retains all coins. The name "Guessing Bank" appears on the front of the bank and it is made of a metal similar to that of the conventional Guessing Bank. This, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, is another new find in a mechanical bank.

* * *

Another generally unfamiliar bank is the Safe Deposit Bank, and this name couldn’t be much more misleading. The bank is made of tin and consists of a rather large figure of an elephant on top of a rectangular shaped base. On each side of this base there is a paper label imprinted with the name "Safe Deposit Bank." The elephant is in a standing position with his trunk hanging down. To operate the bank a coin is placed in the curved tip of the trunk, and on moving the elephant’s tail the trunk swings and the coin drops into a provided slot in the base. The figure of the elephant is one of the semi-full type made in a two part stamping, which is similar to many of the tin horses and other animals used on various different types of early tin toys. The bank has been more or less under wraps for a number of years while in the possession of an inactive pioneer collector. However, a number of months ago it was in the temporary possession of another party and there were possibilities of it being offered for sale. While it cannot, strictly speaking, be classed as a new discovery, circumstances have at least brought the bank out in the open to a limited degree.

* * *

The Trick Savings Bank is a simple, unpretentious little mechanical bank which, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, can be classed as a new find. It is a small rectangular shaped wooden box with a black tin front drawer in one end. On opening the drawer a circular section is exposed and a coin is deposited therein. Close the drawer and open it again and the coin has disappeared. This action is similar to that of several other mechanical banks such as the Presto and Give Me A Penny Bank. On the underside of the bank is a paper label which contains the following information:

  • Trick Savings Bank —
    This bank should be opened by
    skill and not by force.
    TRY IT

Patented May 24, 1892 by C. Tollner. It may be well to explain that there is no coin trap on this bank for the removal of coins and there is no apparent way to get the coins out once they are in the bank. There is a trick involved so that the drawer may be removed and the coins can be taken out through the opening which normally accommodates the drawer.


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