by Sy Schreckinger – ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine – December, 2013
A MOST UNIQUE and impressive penny bank, and one that deviates from the
type generally discussed, is this article's subject. The "Automobile
Taxi-Cab Bank" (Figure 1) may be considered a bank with a dual
personality since it is desirable and appealing to collectors of
mechanical as well as coin-registering banks.
Bank collectors typically place coin savings banks into one of
three categories: mechanical, still, or coin-registering. Most
collectors generally express their preference for one of the
aforementioned. Occasionally, within each of the categories exists an
example that is desirable aesthetically, historically, or perhaps
philosophically, one that may be appealing across bank collecting lines.
Examples possessing such qualities include: "General Butler" still bank
(Figure 2), Kyser and Rex's cast iron "Coin-Registering Bank" (Figure
3), the semi- mechanical "Lighthouse Bank" (Figure 4), and the
coin-registering "Automobile Taxi-Cab Bank" featured in this article.
In comparison to other examples categorized as coin-registering
banks, "Taxi-Cab Bank" is unique and innovative insofar as design,
action and subject matter. Composed entirely of colorfully lithographed
tinplate, its qualities of bold graphics, vivid colors and charming form
all lend itself to "fit" comfortably within each of the three
categories, i.e. registering, still and mechanical.
"Automobile Taxi-Cab Bank" displays the classic design, materials
and brightly lithographed surface so evident in mechanical and still
banks produced in Germany during the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. An advertisement appearing in a 1939 Bishopsgate, London,
England Wholesale Catalog, (Figure 5) pictures the "Taxi-Cab Bank"
offered for sale at a price of 8/6 pence per dozen. In addition to
'Taxi-Cab Bank", two other tin mechanicals of German manufacture were
featured in the same advertisement. These are "Tin Monkey With Tray" and
"Royal Trick Elephant Bank".
Thanks to fellow collectors and historians, John and Adrianne
Haley, for supplying information that revealed the manufacturer of
"Automobile Taxi-Cab Bank" as Fischer and Company, Nurnberg, Germany.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this company
was a leading producer of tin penny toys, tin toy automobiles and
brightly lithographed tinplate novelties.
The reclamation of coins from "Taxi-Cab Bank" differs significantly
from most other registering-type banks. Banks within this category
typically contain an internal mechanism that, only when satiated with
coins, automatically opens a coin release door that expels Figure 4 the
deposited monies. However, "Taxi-Cab Bank" utilizes a key lock,
trap-door type coin retainer, allowing the depositor access to
accumulated coins upon demand.
Action of "Taxi-Cab Bank" is uncomplicated and appropriate to the
subject. A coin is pushed through the slot provided in the roof of the
Cab. Simultaneously, the total amount of deposits is displayed through
two small "meter" windows located under the cab driver's left arm
Interestingly, "Automobile Taxi-Cab Bank" had also been offered for
sale in the catalog (Figure 5) as a clockworks toy vehicle. This also is
evidenced by two holes in the lower side sections of the bank's rear
wheel wells, which may have been designed to accommodate a key-wind,
clockworks spring motor. In addition, the front wheels' axel of
"Automobile Taxi-Cab Figure 3 Bank" was installed at an angle. The
purpose, apparently, was to enable the taxi-cab to run in concentric
circles. Despite its offering in the aforementioned catalog, to date, no
example of a key-wind clockworks "Automobile Taxi- Cab" has surfaced.
Although it is modest in size, i.e. Length: 7-3/4 inches, Height:
3-3/4 inches, "Automobile Taxi- Cab Bank" is an attractive and desirable
addition to a mechanical bank collection. It is also extremely rare,
with only two examples presently known to exist and these are parked on
the shelves of two fortunate collectors.
Acknowledgments: The line example "Automobile Taxi- Gab 13ank"
(Figure Ii is in the collection of the Kidd Toy Museum. Frank and Joyce
Many thanks to know collectors John and Adrianne Haley for
supplying a copy of the catalog page seen in figure :5. The Haley's are
in possession of the other fine example "Automobile Taxi-Cab Bank".