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Getting Up To Date
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - March, 1978

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There’s been some activity in the rarer banks recently that deserves recognition, and this is as good a time as any to bring our readers up to date on at least a portion of this activity while it is still in the category of news. This along with some other news.

Oliver Clark, for example, struck again and this time with a gem of a bank, the Chinaman In Boat. This is not a previously unknown example, but rather the one from the collection of the late Ed Richards. It is an extra nice example of this rare bank, all original and in fine paint condition. The writer remembers the bank very well since he saw it the night of the day it came into Ed Richard’s possession. Well, in any case, there is no doubt that Oliver has made a really great addition to his collection, and mechanicals of the caliber of the Chinaman In Boat just don’t come on the market that often.

Ed Mosler comes into the picture with the acquisition of the Snake And Frog In Pond, and is this a tough bank! It is the only one to the writer’s knowledge that has turned up in the past 30 to 35 years. For all this time only two examples of the Snake And Frog have been known to exist — one in pristine mint condition and the other fair to good shape. The mint condition one was in the late Emerine collection and the fair condition example in the late Meyer’s collection. There is no question as to this being one of the great tin mechanicals. It is really with it where action is concerned, the coin taking part in the action, and the subject matter is tops. So now we have three known examples of this rare bank and Ed is to be congratulated on this fine addition to his collection. By the way, condition wise the bank is in very nice shape. It is all original and would rank right between the other two.

Not rare, but of interest, is a mint condition example of the Monkey With Tray (Tin) with wording (a poem) on the top of the base. The poem is as follows:

Place a coin upon my plate,
Gently press my tail — then wait,
Up will go my hands you see,
And that coin goes inside me.

This is an additional desirable factor for the bank and most certainly adds a degree of interest. The poem is separated into two lines on each side of the top to the left and right of the figure of the monkey.

Now to Brian Feltus of Maynard, Massachusetts, and an exceptionally interesting find of Brian’s. This has to do with an original Weeden’s dovetail wooden box 4 inches wide by 7 inches long by 4 inches high made to hold one of their mechanical banks, the Plantation Savings Bank. The original paper label is on the end of the box and it is 4 inches square. This label is where the great interest lies with the information printed thereon. At the top of the label in large letters appears ‘Weeden Manufacturing Company’, and under this ‘Manufacturers Of’. The label now divides into three parts across where printing is concerned. In the center is a picture of a small steam engine marked ‘Pat. May 19, 1885’ and the word ‘Nickel’ appears under this. On the right is the following: ‘Toy Steam Engines, Toy Steam Locomotives, Village Blacksmith, Machine Shop and other toys designed to run with our engines.’ On the left and of importance to anyone interested in mechanical banks is printed this revealing information: ‘Novel line of Performing Savings Banks representing a Plantation Dance, Japanese Ball Tosser, Ding Dong Bell, Jack Horner, Village Schoolmaster, and others.’ So we now have evidence of a possible Jack Horner mechanical bank and a Village Schoolmaster mechanical bank. All we can say is that is the way the Japanese Ball Tosser started years ago, with mention on a label, then a catalog picture, lots of searching, and finally an example of this great mechanical bank.

Well we are off the ground so far as label information from the manufacturer with respect to a Jack Horner Bank and a Village Schoolmaster Bank. The writer has never seen either bank pictured in any old catalogs, so let’s hope this next step can materialize with further proof these two banks were actually manufactured.

The writer has never heard of a Jack Horner mechanical, but over the years he has heard rumors of a Schoolmaster Bank, even a description of a teacher spanking a pupil with a rule or stick. Time will tell and meantime we certainly are indebted to Brian for the information on this very interesting find.


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