Indian Chief Bank
Magic Safe Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - May, 1969
A rather unique situation exists with respect to our
classification article for this, the May issue. We are pleased to pass along information
on not one, but two mechanicals, which to the best of the writer's knowledge are new
finds. A circumstance of this kind is most unusual and, of course, stimulating in that it
gives all collectors of mechanical banks something else to look for. The two banks are the
Indian Chief, No. 173 in the numerical classification, and the Magic Safe, No. 174.
In Indian Chief, Figure 1, is an interesting addition to the bust group of mechanicals. It
is made of aluminum and in the writer's opinion, at this point, of English manufacture.
As yet the exact date of the bank is not known to the writer. There are no markings,
patent in-formation or date of any kind on the bank. However, it has an unusual method of
casting inside which was only done in practice quite some years ago. It is held together
by a nut and bolt. The nut fits into a cast square section inside the front half of the
bank. This box-like section to hold the nut is set up with iron pins, and this method of
using iron pins in an aluminum casting has been obsolete for years. Our good friend George
Bauer, in examining the bank with this writer, was kind enough to point out the foregoing.
The Indian Chief was found in New Jersey and is in nice original condition. Colors are as
fol-lows: The overall bust is a dark brown. He wears a fine set of feathers in alternate
colors of red and blue with white tips. The head band is yellow. His interesting
appropriate squinting eyes are white outlined with red, and the pupils are black. The
smiling well formed lips are a pink shade and he has white teeth with red lines between.
His well defined arched eyebrows are black, and white markings on his face complete the
The bank operates like most of the bust type. A coin placed in the extended right hand is
depos-ited in the mouth when a lever in the left rear shoulder is depressed. The eyes,
however, do not move - they are fixed.
The Indian as a subject matter for mechanical banks is rather limited; the Indian &
Bear, Chief Big Moon, and World's Fair (Columbus & Indian). So it is of considerable
interest in adding the Indian Chief to the group of Indians and also to the bust group.
The Magic Safe, Figures 2 and 3, is a tin bank made in Germany in the
period of 1930. It is a rather attractive safe type bank and makes an interesting addition
to the limited number forming the safe group of mechanicals.
The bank pictured was found in England and is in nice general condition. The paint is
quite good with colors as follows: The overall safe is green with the name and wording on
the door in yellow. The English penny is an iridescent red copper color with the figure,
date and wording in gold. On top of the safe along the coin slot appears "Pennies
Only" in white. On the left side at the bottom are printed instructions in white
"To empty unlock, pull out key and open bottom." A white arrow pointing to the
back is under these instructions. On the right side of the safe, also at the bot-tom and
all in white, there is a triangle with the word "ANFOE" inside. Along the sides
of the trian-gle appears "D.R.G.M." "DRPa" and at the bottom
"Germany." The number 6410 is under the word Germany. It may be that in time
this significant mark will at long last lead us to a known manufac-turer of mechanical
banks in Germany.
The bank operates properly with English pennies only. When inserted in the provided slot
the door swings open automatically to position shown in Figure 3. Coins stack up in the
tube as also shown in Figure 3 following through with the saying on the door:
"If you have a mind to see
What great sums in this may be
Put a penny in the slot
And you'll see what you have got"