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Pattern Recasts — Part II
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - July, 1978

Now we go to another complicated phase surrounding the patterns and their misuse. This has to do with a bank recast from a pattern and then certain original parts used to make the bank. For example, a side of a bank, or a figure, or part of a figure would be an original part made by Stevens. This was and can be combined with the recast pattern parts to try to add to the legitimacy of a pattern recast bank. What does this mean — not very much — it is not an original bank made by Stevens in any sense of the word. It is merely an effort on the part of certain individuals to add some degree of legitimacy to their activities in trying to fool collectors and dealers alike.

So at this point we have covered patterns of a limited number of different Stevens banks — banks cast from these patterns in recent times, as well as some years ago — and original cast iron parts combined with the pattern recast parts. The bronze master patterns in the hands of reliable collectors are for the most part assembled into the respective bank, polished and lacquered for display purposes. Some have been simply assembled into a bank, but left in a state of minor cleaning. In any case, please understand that the patterns under discussion exist in duplications. That is to say, there is more than one pattern of the Harlequin Bank in existence. There are several original patterns of the Bill E. Grin Bank, for example. This is how it worked out that unfortunately some of the patterns got into the hands of the wrong people. Most collectors of mechanical banks are not interested in collecting patterns. They want the original production bank, and nothing else. So when the patterns were being offered around there was very limited interest among the collectors. Transversely, there was interest on the part of anyone who planned to misuse them. They saw a possible bonanza in their hands and so took advantage of the situation.

Naturally the cast iron banks made from the patterns had to be painted. Initially these were offered as being in mint paint condition. Then, as time went on, they were painted to look old, or in other words, the paint was antiqued. There is no question that some collectors were fooled by these banks some years ago and have been fooled in recent times. It does take experience and certain expertise to judge these banks for what they are, and particularly difficult are the North Pole, Billy Goat Bank, and the Perfection Registering. The painting of these banks is more easily faked to convey an old appearance.

Let’s for a moment take a recent example of a Billy Goat Bank sent to the writer for authentication. It was not right and never assembled by Stevens. For one thing, the rivets did not have the proper markings as those made by the Stevens equipment. The paint was antiqued and not original Stevens paint. And the individual who had done this bank had slipped up on several other points as compared to a Stevens original. This bank comes to mind as an example simply because it is the most recent to come into the writer’s hands. He has seen North Poles, Perfection Registerings, Harlequins, and Shoot The Chutes all in the same pattern recast category. It is a shame, but it exists, and that’s the way it is.

It is meaningful to most mechanical bank collectors to know what they have in their respective collections. Many recasts, reproductions, and so on exist that in most cases are easily identifiable and have nothing to do with the present discussion of the pattern recasts. These are considerably more difficult to identify for what they are and it is important to bring this to the attention of all collectors of the mechanical. It is important in the case of a common bank, but it is even more important with respect to the rarer ones which can run into considerable sums of money.

There is no pat answer to this situation concerning the pattern recasts. There is no way to pass along information in detail so that a collector can judge for himself. It is fortunate that the patterns are in a limited number and that there are no more Stevens patterns around to turn up in the future.

Please understand there are recast banks other than pattern recasts that are difficult to judge for what they are. Mama Katzenjammer comes to mind for being one in this category. Actually there are more recasts of this bank in existence than originals.

 

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