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L.C. Hegarty, Collector
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - August, 1968

It is with regret that we inform our readers of the death of L.C. Hegarty, well known collector of mechanical banks and cast iron toys. Mr. Hegarty suffered a fatal heart attack Sunday, June 2, 1968. He is survived by his widow Gertrude, a son and daughter, and seven grandchildren.

Mr. Hegarty was born December 2, 1902 in Coalport, Pa., and lived there throughout his entire life. Both he and Mrs. Hegarty had a deep interest in antiques in general and formulated a fine collection of colored glassware with varieties of other antique furnishings for their home.

During the 1940’s Mr. Hegarty became interested in mechanical banks and this subsequently became his main collecting hobby. His interest accelerated rapidly, was shared by his wife, and together they formulated one of the outstanding collections of mechanical banks.

Among Mr. Hegarty’s accomplishments in the field of collecting mechanical banks was the acquisition in 1955 of the well known and extensive Corby collection. Many fine banks were added to his collection by this acquisition. In addition he acquired the outstanding collection of blown glass banks. This group of glass banks was a favorite of Dr. Corby’s and the finest known to exist. Mr. Hegarty also, since he acquired all the Corby banks, had many still banks in cast iron, tin, pottery, paper, and so on, and also a rather sizeable group of "safe" type banks.

It was the mechanical banks in the Corby collection, however, that was the important phase in increasing the stature of Mr. Hegarty’s collection. He was a deeply dedicated collector, and while the Corby banks certainly helped, Mr. Hegarty spent endless hours, days, weeks, and time seeking out individual mechanicals he did not have.

Along with mechanical banks, Mr. Hegarty’s interest in cast iron toys grew by leaps and bounds and here again he and his wife grouped together an outstanding collection of fine toys. These included horse drawn items such as fire equipment, carriages and pleasure vehicles, work toys, comics, circus wagons, streetcars, and other types. Also bell ringing toys, toy automobiles, and trains. In addition Mr. Hegarty also had an outstanding collection of toy pistols, including most of the rare animated type.

Insofar as mechanical banks are concerned, the Hegarty collection has many of the desirable and rare banks therein. These include such top mechanicals as the Old Woman In The Shoe; Clown, Harlequin & Columbine; Red Riding Hood; Merry-Go-Round; Mikado; Shoot The Chute; Chinaman In Boat; Springing Cat; Wimbledon Bank; Tommy Bank; Clown On Bar; Ding Dong Bell; Motor Bank, and Turtle.

In the rare, unusual type are such banks as the Target (Fort and Cannon); Musical You Pay, I Play (Wood Easel); Guessing Bank (Woman’s Figure); Schley Bank; Frog On Arched Track; Shoot That Hat Bank; Preacher In The Pulpit, and the only known specimen of the Bow-ery Bank.

In addition to regular production mechanical banks, Mr. Hegarty also over the years added some quite rare experimental or pattern type banks. These include Dinah And The Fairy, Wishbone, Hall’s Yankee Notion, Hall’s Empire, Twin Bank, and several others. These are made in brass or lead and are experimental pieces that were never known to have reached the production stage. In other words, they are more or less contemplated banks made in prototype or model form that for one reason or another never got off the ground.

Mr. Hegarty, with his wide intense interest in the cast iron toy field, in particular mechanical banks, will be an irreplaceable cog in the wheel of collectors. In deference to the monthly articles, it is fitting to acknowledge a dedicated collector, his truly great collection, and convey our sympathies to Mrs. Hegarty and the family.

 

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