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Back in the good old days when THRIFT seemed a virtue, even to the extent of attempting to influence the child to save its pennies, several enterprising iron foundries were competing and striving to produce the most attractive and best selling Mechanical Bank.

These clever and interesting units of mechanism were constructed of intricate parts and timed to perform their respective stunts with promptness and precision. They were sold by the general store as ‘toy banks’ and presented to the boy or girl, often serving as a Christmas gift, and many a Grandfather today recalls with pleasant memory his old boyhood penny bank.

Over six hundred different varieties were made, resulting in many thousand banks being sold between the years 1875 and 1910, some two hundred and sixty of the six hundred having had moving parts and been known as ‘Mechanical Banks’ while the others are called ‘still banks.’

A large percentage were patented, patents being granted as early as 1868 and continuing in considerable number until about 1895.

When consideration is given to the fact that the early banks were strictly hand made and individually hand decorated it is indeed surprising to learn of the very low price for which they were sold.

Imagine if you can, going into a Toy Shop or General Store and buying a Circus Bank, Dentist, Horse Race, Merry Go Round, Harlequin, Initiating First Degree, Shoot the Chute, or any one of forty other good banks, all done up in a neat wooden carton with name there on, for $1.25 to $2.00.

Old Catalogues issued about 1880 to 1910 list practically all of the old Mechanical banks to wholesale to the Shop Keeper at $8.00 and $9.00 a dozen mind you, and he in turn retailed such as Wm. Tell, Eagle, ’Spise a Mule, Speaking Dog, Creedmore, Clown on Globe and many others of this common class at $1.00 each, while Tammany, Owl, Darkey in Cabin Door, Pig in Highchair, Dog on Turntable and many others sold for Fifty and Seventy-five Cents each.

The simple still banks of animals and poultry sold for five and ten cents each, while larger still banks of buildings and animals sold for twenty-five and fifty cents each. There were some elaborate banks in the form of Safes with combination locks which sold as high as $1.00 each. Girl Jumping Rope sold for $2.50 and the Bull Dog Savings Bank for $3.50.

Without doubt the Freedman’s Bank is one of the rarest, manufactured by Jerome Secore in Bridgeport, Conn., about 1880 and listed in a Jobbers Catalogue issued by Oscar Strasburger, New York City, to sell at $66.00 for a dozen. From the best information available it is safe to say that this was the highest priced mechanical bank.

The common mechanical bank today is one of the many varieties that was produced in vast quantities while the rare and extremely rare are the few survivors of those whose production was limited to a very few.

As a result the common bank does not command much of a price and where one is treasured to any extent in the family it is advisable to make no disposition of it, but if a rare one the situation may be different.

Broken common banks are of little worth, while a damaged rare bank, capable of restoration retains its given value.

Here will be found a list of the more desirable banks, and if you are fortunate enough to possess one or more named, you will experience no difficulty in disposing of them at reasonable prices.

Afghanistan (Two Dogs)
Alligator in Trough
Atlas Bank
Aunt Dinah and Good Fairy
Beggar with Peg Leg
Bill E. Grin
Billy Goat
Bird on Church Roof
Bismark Bank
Blind Man and his Dog
Bowery Bank
Bowling Alley
Boy and Dog Bank
Boys stealing Watermelons
Bread Winner
British Tank 1919
Bucking Buffalo
Bull and Bear
Bull Dog, Snapping, Key Winder
Called Out Bank
Camera Bank, on Tripod
Cannon U.S. Shoots Mast of Spain
Cannon shoots into 8 sided Fort
Carnival Bank
Chinese Beggar Kneeling
Circus Ticket Collector
Circus Bank
Clown, Harlequin, and Columbine
Clown on Trapeze
Colored Mammy and Child
Confectionery Bank
Dentist Bank
Ferris Wheel Bank
Football Calamity
Fortune Teller Bank
Freedman’s Bank
Germania, Goat on Keg
Giant Bank
Girl in Victorian Chair
Girl Rolling Hoop
Girl Skipping Rope
Girl named "Feed the Kitty"
Goat, Frog and Old Man
Goat and Darkey, Miniature
Grenadier (This name on bank)
Hannibal Bank
"Help the Blind" (beggar)
Hindu Bust
Home Bank — Mechanical
Hoopla Bank
Hold the Fort
Hungry Pelican
Initiating Bank, Darkey, Frog and Goat
John Bull Money Box
Jolly Nigger — Moves Ears
Jolly Nigger — High Hat
Kicking Cow
Kick Inn — Wooden bank
Leap Frog
Mamma Katzenjammer
Merry Go Round — Mechanical
Monkey, mechanical, small
Monkey and Coconut
Moody and Sanky
Motor Bank, Trolly Car, Spring winder
New Bank
Old Woman in Shoe
Organ Bank, Tiny-Monkey revolves
Organ Grinder, Dancing Bear
Parrot and Monkey
Peg Leg, has high hat
Picture Gallery
Presto, Mouse on Roof
Professor Pug Frog
Pump and Bucket
Race Horse
Ram, Boy thumbs Nose
Reclining Chinaman
Red Riding Hood
Rival Bank
Roller Skating
Sambo and his Banjo
Sambo (Name on Bust)
Santa Claus at Chimney
Sewing Machine Bank
Shoot that Hat Bank
Shoot the Chutes — Buster Brown
Snake in Pond, Tin
Sportsman Bank — Hunter shoots Bird
Steam Engine
Squirrel and Tree Stump
Three Clowns and Elephant
Trick Donkey
Turtle, moves head
Two Acrobats
Uncle Remus
Uncle Sam Bust
Uncle Tom
U.S. Bank Building
Whale Bank, Base on four legs
Wishbone, Sambo and Dinah
Wood Pecker in Tree Trunk
Wood Chopper

The Old Paper Cap Pistols, now but the echo of the "Eighties," can well hobnob with the Old Penny Banks having originated from the same foundries at about the same time, and made with the same purpose of delighting and satisfying the noise craving youngster.

Animated Pistols were made in the shape of Chinamen, Cats, Ducks, Fish, Monkeys, Ships, Cannons, Donkeys, Punch and Judy, Locomotives, and etc., with dozens of different shapes and sizes of the conventional Pistols, ranging in size from two to ten inches.

No doubt the most desirable pistol of the lot is one marked "The Chinese Must Go" Patented Sept. 2, 1879 and Manufactured by E.R,. Ives at Bridgeport, Conn.

The small common Cap Pistols were sold for five and ten cents each, while the trick Pistols were listed at $1.50 and $2.00 per dozen and retailed for twenty-five to forty cents each.

The old pistols of sixty years ago are as dangerous as ever, but they have acquired a new value today, being considered desirable defense weapons by the collector




1941 Emerine Brochure, side 1

 1941 Emerine brochure, side 2


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