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The Mosler Collection
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - June, 1982

It is with regret that we inform our readers of the death of Edwin H. Mosler, Jr., a leading collector who formulated one of the top mechanical bank collections.

His collection in size or numbers of banks was the largest known due to the fact that he collected variations. As example, there were over thirty Stollwerck banks in the collection, some in different languages, some with different lithographed figures and design, and others with other types of variations.

The collection at the time was the only one known to have two Bowling Alley banks, the only two known to exist. One is a variation of the other with differences in the bowling figures and coin boxes.

Unsurpassed in the collection were the Jolly Nigger bust type banks in a great number of variations, probably fifty or more would be a close estimate of the number of this type bank. Others of the same type bust banks with different names or no names at all were included. In any case, the Mosler bust group of the mechanical banks was by far the most complete known to exist. It bears mention that the rare Queen Victoria bust is the finest example in any collection. About the only one the writer can think of not in the group is the Indian Chief bank, another rarity.

In the collection were some of the rarer more desirable banks such as the Freedman’s Bank; Football Bank (Darky and Watermelon); Clown, Harlequin and Columbine; Bank Teller Bank (a fine example); Ding Dong Bell; Merry-Go-Round; Mikado; Red Riding Hood; and Chinaman in Boat. Two other mechanicals, which in each case are the only ones known to exist, are the Darky Fisherman and the Bow-ery Bank. The Darky Fisherman was formerly in the Gerken collection and the Bow-ery in the Hegarty collection.

The Mosler collection also had a number of the mechanicals in excellent original condition. One in particular comes to mind. This was one of three Magician Banks in the collection. It is absolutely mint with the original flocking in unbelievable shape. No chips on the face or anything like that. His Jonah and Whale (Jonah Emerges) is another top condition bank and one of the best original paint for this rare bank.

Among the tin mechanicals were such banks as Flip the Frog Money Box and the Clown and Dog. These are two tin mechanicals that are quite difficult to come by. Other rare banks in tin included the Frog on Arched Track, British Lion, Royal Trick Elephant, and Snake and Frog in Pond.

Ed Mosler also formulated an extensive collection of still banks and this included some of the more desirable and rarer stills. His interest in still banks was, however, secondary to the mechanicals.

Another collection, one of the most extensive in existence, consisted of bell ringing toys. These in the main were cast iron and animated. The bell ringers form a special group in the toy collecting field. Here again were some of the top rarities in this specialized field. The majority of bell ringers utilize a figure or figures of one type or another in connection with a bell, so that when the toy was pulled along the figure or figures moved causing the bell to ring.

Yet another collection consisted of a more or less select group of cast iron horse drawn toys. Included were animal drawn such as dogs, goats, or whatever. Here again were some outstanding desirable toys. Not an extensive collection in this case.

There were other small collections of toy pistols, blinking eye clocks, Mickey Mouse watches, and so on, but these have been disposed of in recent years.

Another sizeable collection consisted of mechanical banks in the modern category, 1935 on. This is one of the top collections of its kind and included a number of the more desirable battery operated type.

At the present time of the preparation of this article the writer understands that Ed Mosler sold a number of the rare or better mechanicals somewhat prior to his death. This in reference to the old or antique banks, not the modern category. The writer further understands that they were sold privately to several collectors.

In closing at this time full credit and recognition is given to Ed Mosler for the outstanding mechanical bank collection he formulated over a number of years.


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