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Mechanical Bank Activity — 1969
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - January, 1970

70-01a.JPG (24242 bytes)All of a sudden here it is — the January, 1970, issue of HOBBIES, and while it’s still 1969 with a few weeks to go, this would seem to be an appropriate time to review some of the extraordinary activity with respect to mechanical bank collecting that occurred during the year.

Of particular note is the fact that during January, 1969, the finest of the Harlequin Banks known to exist, Figure 1, changed hands. This bank had been privately owned and under wraps for years, and the original paint is in practically mint condition with just a few chips here and there. It is an outstanding specimen, and the photo speaks for itself. In spite of crowding by a few other mechanical banks such as the Old Woman In The Shoe and the Clown, Harlequin & Columbine still maintains its position as the No. 1 cast iron mechanical bank. Over the years the tradition surrounding the bank has stayed right with it and remains unaltered. Only the Freedman’s Bank outranks the Harlequin as the top mechanical bank, and this situation most likely will never change.

A Chinaman In Boat turned up during the year — a real fine all original specimen, and this found its way into the Mosler collection. This is a very difficult bank to come by and Mr. Mosler is to be congratulated on this great addition to his excellent collection. He also made a notable new find during 1969 in his acquisition of the Clown & Dog Bank.

Another bank of considerable interest is the Giant In Tower, and one of these in nice original condition wound up in the Tudor collection, a fine addition to an ever increasing fine collection. Mr. Tudor is a diligent, seriously interested collector, he likes his mechanical banks and appreciates them.

70-01b.JPG (16486 bytes)Of considerable importance is the fact that the finest known original condition Mikado Bank with bells was sold at auction during the summer of 1969. This particular bank, Figure 2, is known as the Squire Henry Mikado. It had been in his possession for 30 odd years. A series of 10 auctions was held during the past summer and many items from the extensive Squire Henry collection were sold. These included all types of different antiques in great varieties. The Mikado was the outstanding item owned by Squire Henry. A number of mechanical banks and still banks were disposed of during the series of sales. Among the better mechanicals sold were Uncle Remus, Calamity Bank, and the Billy Goat Bank. None of these, of course, rank near the Mikado, and the extra fine condition of this rare bank is clearly visual in the photo.

Another Try Your Weight Scale turned up, as well as a fine example of the Signal Cabin, both tough tin banks to add to a collection. A Motor Bank, fair condition with the top missing, came to light, as well as another Presto — exterior parts only, all interior operating parts missing. This is the illusion bank where a penny changes into a quarter.

Among new finds during 69 were the World’s Banker, Clown & Dog previously mentioned, Indian Chief Bust, Magic Safe, and, of course, Mickey Mouse as per December, 1969, HOBBIES. We should also include the Watch Bank (dime disappears), as while this was privately owned, it was not generally known and it changed hands during the year receiving recognition and exposure.

Another example of the Regina Musical Savings Bank showed up, a Robot, and a near mint Pelican With Rabbit. The excellent original condition of this Pelican With Rabbit makes it worthy of note as evidently the one with the rabbit is the really difficult Pelican to add to a collection.

70-01c.JPG (15263 bytes)And last, but certainly not least, we come to Figure 3 and the Tommy Bank. Here again in an outstanding year is an outstanding bank. It is the finest all original Tommy so far known to exist. This bank and the Wimbledon are the two most desirable of the English banks. Together they are a great pair with the soldier in prone shooting position on each. Prior to this Tommy it had been some years since the last one turned up and this bears out the fact that the bank was made in limited quantities during its limited production period.

That about winds up 1969 for now and here’s hoping we can all look forward to a great 1970 in mechanical banking.


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