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Advertising Cards
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - July, 1966

66-07a.JPG (15765 bytes)

Catalogs and advertising cards were two mediums used by manufacturers, distributors, jobbers and retail stores to promote the sale of mechanical banks. During the height of the popular period of mechanical banks, say from 1880 to 1910, many catalogs were issued which pictured and listed the interesting animated toy savings devices for sale. Please understand there were catalogs of this nature prior to 1880 and after 1910, but the 30 year period mentioned is undoubtedly the most active. These catalogs today are quite desirable to collectors of mechanical banks and are a kindred hobby. They have become increasingly difficult to find and paper material of this type has never been easy to come by. Particularly difficult and the most desirable are those catalogs issued by the manufacturers of mechanical banks.

66-07b.JPG (5830 bytes)Along with the catalogs and of similar nature are the advertising cards, sometimes referred to as flyers or fliers. These were often sent through the mail along with letters, other material, or invoices. They were also given out by hand by drummers and other means of distribution. In the strict terminology they were not all cards, as many were simply printed on paper in blue, brown, black, and other color ink. Numbers of the cards were lithographed in brilliant colors and are most attractive. In many ways, today and for some years past, the mechanical bank advertising cards are considerably harder to come by than the old catalogs. This is understandable as catalogs, particularly those issued by stores, fashion houses such as Ehrichs’, and so on were kept as reference for years since they showed numbers of items other than toy banks. An advertising card showing a mechanical bank was definitely a disposable item unless now and then a brightly colored one found its way into a scrap book. And this, by the way, is where some do turn up.

More or less advanced collectors of mechanical banks are familiar with the advertising cards and in most cases have some in limited numbers showing different banks. There are many less advanced collectors, however, who are not familiar with the cards, and for their enlightenment, as well as others, we are picturing herewith several original J. & E. Stevens Company advertising cards. They are in fine original condition and those shown are self-explanatory. In size the cards are approximately 3" x 5".


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