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Two New Discoveries
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - August, 1964

64-08.JPG (12713 bytes)

The formulation of a collection of mechanical banks is a fascinating hobby which offers, among many other things, a sustained seemingly never ending interest. This interest is stimulated by the fact, unlike many other collectible items, every now and then some heretofore unknown specimen turns up. For some years now this has been going on, since mechanical banks were first collected through the years to date, and all evidence points to the fact that this will continue to be the case for years to come. A never ending challenge exists for the individual bank collector to own an example of each bank ever made, but this is practically an impossibility for any one person to ever accomplish. In a number of cases only one or two specimens of a certain mechanical bank are known to exist, however, there is always the chance and hope that more will turn up.

In any event, at present the writer is most pleased to pass along the unique news of the discovery of two previously unknown mechanical banks. There is no question of them being commercially produced items and therefore made in some quantities. Both banks are tin, one was known to have been manufactured due to old catalog information in the writer’s possession, and the other was completely unknown to the best of the writer’s knowledge.

Negro Bust (Tin)

This bank could be said appearance-wise to represent in miniature the Hindu (HOBBIES, February, 1955) except, of course, that it is the representation of a Negro. As can be judged from the picture, Figure 1, it is obvious as to its small size when compared to the penny shown beside the bank. Originally it was a brightly colored item with various colors including red, blue, and yellow, however, the one pictured is somewhat the worse for wear with some rusting evident. The operation is simple, a coin dropped in the provided slot in top of the turban causes the eyes to roll and the tongue to stick out. The weight of the coin causes the action and the parts return to their respective positions automatically. This bank is pictured in the Butler Bros. catalog circa 1907 and was listed to sell at 33 cents per dozen. It is a somewhat fragile item of rather light tin and obviously could not stand any degree of rough usage. Its size plus its lack of durability most likely accounts for the fact of its scarcity today. In the writer’s opinion the bank was made in Germany.

The Sentry Bank (Tin)

Through the courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. William Werbell the writer is able to pass along information on the Sentry Bank. They were kind enough to send it to the writer so that he could look the bank over, photograph it, and so on. It is a very nice bank, attractive appearance, and has good action. It is of German manufacture and very similar to the Minstrel (Tin) and the Scotchman (Tin). As a matter of fact, in the writer’s opinion, all three were made by the same concern.

The bank is lithographed tin in various colors of brown, red, blue, and so on. Note Figure 2 which shows the bank before the action takes place. Depressing the knob as in Figure 3 causes the Sentry to move the gun into the position shown and his eyes look to the right. In so doing the coin slot in his hat is opened from the inside so that coins may be inserted. Releasing the lever returns all parts to the positions as in Figure 2, including the fact that the coin slot is blocked from the inside. In other words, the bank must be operated in order to insert any coins. The specimen shown is in very good condition and the Werbells are to be congratulated on their recent new find.

In closing, the Sentry along with the Negro Bust offer a further incentive to all mechanical bank collectors in trying to add one or both to their respective collections.


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