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Circus Ticket Collector Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - May, 1962

62-05.JPG (9648 bytes)The circus is well represented by a number of the mechanical banks and, as a matter of fact, those with this theme form a surprisingly large versatile group. This fact is not too obvious at first glance. Proper consideration must be given to the mechanical banks that qualify or fit into the circus group. Those that do qualify and have been covered in the articles to date are as follows – No. 13 – Circus Bank, No. 16 – Professor Pug Frog’s Great Bicycle Feat, No. 45 – Clown On Bar Bank, No. 67 – Acrobat Bank, No. 68 – Dog Tray Bank, No. 89 – Royal Trick Elephant Bank, No. 90 – Hoop-La Bank, No. 95 – Clown Bank, and No. 100 – Jumbo Bank. (The numbers shown can be checked in the February, 1962, issue of HOBBIES as to the dates the articles appeared on each bank.) There are also many others such as the Trick Dog, Clown On Globe, Humpty Dumpty, and Elephant And Three Clowns On Tub, to name a few, that will be covered in future articles. At present, however, as we reach No. 103 in the numerical classification of the mechanical banks, we have another addition to the circus group, namely the Circus Ticket Collector. And there is no question but that the ticket collector was an important part of the circus, perhaps not a popular one but certainly a necessary one.

The bank shown has been known as the Circus Ticket Collector since the writer first started collecting banks. Whether or not this is the original name used during the period of its manufacture and sale is unknown by the writer. He has never seen this bank pictured or otherwise advertised for sale in any old catalogs or other similar type material. Also no patent papers are known to exist that cover the bank. So there is practically no factual background information as to the period of manufacture, designer, manufacturer, or anything else. The bank is very similar to the Peg Leg Beggar (HOBBIES, October, 1960) and very possibly could have been made by the same concern. Since background information on the Peg Leg Beggar is also sadly lacking, this possibility offers no help.

The bank pictured was obtained some years ago from Rockwell Gardiner, a well known Connecticut antique dealer. It is in fine complete original condition and in good paint except for the face. There is a reason for this, however. The entire head was first painted black and then the flesh color face was applied over the black. This tended to allow for easy chipping and less adherence to the surface. Some of the other banks have this same condition and one that comes to mind at the moment is the Octagonal Fort. Here the ocean surface paint, between the cannon and fort, was applied over a hard glossy black paint and thus tended to flake off and not adhere too well. The Circus Ticket Collector is painted as follows: Black hair, flesh color face with black eyes and red mouth; the barrel and the coat and trousers of the man are a japanned type finish, and the barrel has red stripings on the bands. The shirt front of the man is yellow with a white collar, the shoes are black, and hands flesh color.

The operation of the bank is simple. When a coin is inserted in the slot in the top of the barrel it causes the head of the man to nod forward in a gesture of appreciation or thanks.

The Circus Ticket Collector is a rather scarce little bank to find in an original specimen. Some 20 odd years or more ago a certain party who dealt in mechanical banks at the time had a number of these banks recast from an original specimen. These recasts are still floating around, however, it is not difficult to distinguish them from an original.

* * *

In furtherance of last month’s article on the Pump and Bucket Bank, the writer has a fine hardbound Marshall Field Catalog dated for the Season 1892-1893. There is a large excellent illustration of the Pump and Bucket in this catalog with the following text accompanying the illustration:

"No. 127, Size 5 inches high, 6 long, 3 deep. This article is a combination of a mechanical and registering bank. It is a very attractive novelty and cannot fail to please. The bucket is designed for dimes, in ordinary use only, and not for mutilated or old-fashioned coins of approximately the same size. Put a dime in the slot and push the pump handle up and down, when the amount will be correctly registered. When $5 have been deposited the lid of the bucket can be taken off; when replaced it is ready for business. If the directions pasted on the bottom of each bank are complied with, it cannot fail to work properly. Handsomely finished in nickel and wood colors, and packed one in a wooden box, per doz. …...$8.50."

This information from the Marshall Field Catalog is quite helpful as it definitely establishes the period in which the bank was made and sold, and also proves the bank was sold through regular trade channels as well as being given as a complimentary item as pointed out in last month’s article.


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