Punch & Judy (Cast Iron Front, Tin Back)
A rather interesting cast iron and tin English mechanical bank is our choice as No. 264 in the numerical classification at this time. We still do not have as much background information about this bank as we would like. We know it was made in England as it so states on the bank itself. The word Nestor appears, but so far we have been unable to track this down. No dates or patent information appear on the bank, however, everything about it indicates circa 1900 to 1920s.
The English Punch & Judy as compared to the American, is not a particularly colorful bank, but the combination of finishes used is unusual and of interest. The cast iron front of the bank has an overall bronze type finish. The name Punch & Judy is a bright brass or bronze color, while the wording One Penny is a dark bronze color. The figure of the dog is also done in the bronze effect. The figures of Punch and Judy are painted in colors. Punch has a white face and hand. He holds a white club with a red stripe. He has a red mouth and nose, and his eye is black. His hat and jacket are green. The face of Judy, her hat, and baby are all white. Her dress is green. Both Judy and baby have a red mouth and eyes in black. The tin background of the stage is green, as is the entire tin back coin section of the bank.
On the back of the peak of the cast iron front appears the word NESTOR and under this Made In England. The tin box shape back of the bank is riveted in each of the four corners to the cast iron front. The tin bottom plate of the box shape back is a hinged key locking coin trap.
To operate the bank a coin is placed on the upward tilted protruding lip under the One Penny wording. Depressing the lever on the left side of the bank causes the figures to rise into position as shown in Figure 2, and in so doing the coin slides into the provided slot and on into the tin box-like back coin receptacle. Coins cannot enter the coin slot until the figures are in the up position. On releasing the lever the figures automatically drop into position as shown in Figure 1.
A vertical slot is just under the coin holding lip. This serves as a centering guide for the figures of Punch and Judy as they lift into position. The figures move up and down in the provided space between the cast iron front and the tin back.
So far only three of these banks are known to exist in collections. The one pictured was recently obtained by Wally Tudor and it makes a nice addition to his fine extensive collection. It is all original and in quite good condition as to bronze finish and paint.