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Automobile Taxi-Cab Bank
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 (Figure 6).
     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 Kidd proprietors.
     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".

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