This blog discusses old toys from the early 1920's to the end of the 1950's. All kinds of topics are discussed.
The time span was the greatest period for "hands-on" toys, where a young child could actually go outside and play for hours at a time.
You can see the elegance but simple design of these toys. It was a time when huge machines, and people made and finished toys by hand.
The era has long passed, but many of the toys are still around, and that is what I would like to share.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Bertoia Auctions Upcoming Mechanical Banks
Saturday, October 15,2016 Cloudy with Sunny Periods 14 Celsius / 57 Fahrenheit
Upcoming Mechanical Banks
I had already written about the November 11-13. 2016 Bertoia auction, but I decided to return and add a few very interesting mechanical cast iron banks to a new post. From the 18780's-1920's mechanical banks were made by all of the cast iron toy companies. Each company produced different banks for the marketplace. The concept of saving was important to learn, and in those days, a penny was actually worth something and could purchase something. Sadly today, our Canadian penny has been removed from circulation. Prices are rounded down or up, depending whether the price of an item for example is $ 1.32 o3 $ 1.33. The $ 1.32 price will go down to $ 1.30, while the $ 1.33 price will rise to $ 1.35. I miss our penny but that's progress, or is it?
An interesting place to visit is the Mechanical Bank Collectors of America website. Their website is a cornucopia of information about all kinds of cast iron mechanical banks, for those who want more information about these unique American toys.
Mechanical banks were made from cast iron, and most of the toy companies who also manufactured cast iron hardware for homes, also made cast iron toys. Examples of home hardware could include locks and latches, and door handles, just to name a few examples. However, toys and mechanical banks were a very important part of this industry, and helped these companies make good profits in the era of cast iron toys.
Over the years since I have been writing about toys, I have had the honour and pleasure to write about Bertoia Auctions. If you go to their website, and look through their past auctions, then do a search for "mechanical banks", you will literally see hundreds of these fine toys. Today, these items are no longer made, but are reproduced from countries like China. As such, beware of "fakes', or more politely-speaking "reproductions". You should always consult an antiques dealer, or more-specifically an antique toy dealer for authentication of any mechanical bank that you think is an antique and you might be interested in buying. You can find "reproductions" of cast iron banks in some hardware stores, and smaller general stores. However you will find the selections very limited. These "knockoffs", are made for profit, so any labour-intensive mechanical bank will not be found found! I've even purchase a "knockoff" for approximately $ 25.00 Canadian. It looks and feels like the real thing but of course it's a "fake"!
Acrobat Mechanical Bank
Hard to find in any condition, J&E Stevens Co., Cromwell CT, cast iron, patented 1883 Stunning action, circus theme employed in a mechanical bank, extremely hard to find in better paint grades, very colorfully done, designer Edward Norris was noted for exceptional craft for such as this bank, lock gymnast in place and press the lever which causes him to kick clown and stand on his head, pushing coin into slot. All original, no cracks, painted in (VG Cond.)
Estimate: $ 1800-$ 2500.00 USD
Multiplying Mechanical Bank
J. & E. Stevens Co., circa 1890’s, cast iron with internal mirrors that make coins look as if they magically multiplied, very popular bank, this one in a red, white and blue painted version. (Exc. Cond.)
Estimate:2,000.00 - 3,000.00 USD
Mamie and Spoon Mechanical Bank
Beige dress version, Kyser & Rex Mfg., circa 1884, place coin in slot at the knee of mammy’s apron and press the lever, mammy lowers her spoon as if feeding the baby and her head lowers, the baby’s legs rise and the coin falls into the bank. The coin may also be deposited directly into the baby’s mouth. Spoon replaced, (VG Cond.)
J. & E. Stevens Co., Patented 1876, green and red painted version, a very desirable building bank with an added twist, it has a revolving picture roll at window which changes after each coin deposit. (VG Cond.) Estimate:4,000.00 - 6,000.00 USD
Calamity Football Mechanical Bank
J. & E. Stevens Co., Philadelphia, Patented 1904, cast iron and hand painted in red sleeve ball carrier version, certainly one of the most popular banks and always a surprise to see how they survived with such action. Players appear to tackle the ball carrier when lever is pressed and coin is deposited into very ornate embossed playing field. Original paint slightly faded, overall (VG Cond.) for hard to find original bank.
Estimate:8,000.00 - 12,000.00 USD
As you can see from the "authentic" mechanical banks, they are certainly not inexpensive. As such, you do not want to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars for "fakes". So as the expression goes - "buyer beware". If you have the money, then always go to a reputable antiques dealer or a reputable antique toy dealer.