COLLECTORS ROUNDUP - December 27, 1946
By Richard M. Lederer, Jr.
Every collector dreams of finding, some day, in an out-of-the-way place, a
prize item for his collection in proof condition. Mechanical Bank collectors are
no exception. All banks are wanted by collectors, but there are perhaps 100
banks which are more desirable than the others. Of this group there are 10 or 20
for which a collector would metaphorically gladly give his right arm. Of course
desirability varies from person to person but to me some of these prizes are:
Chinaman with Rat on Tray
Little Red Riding Hood
Moody and Sankey
Old Woman in Shoe
To describe them all
would take more space than we can afford, but to pass all of these by with no
more mention than their names would be unfair.
The Freedman's Bank is perhaps the outstanding prize; only 5 are known and of
these only one is complete. A darkey seated at a table sweeps the coin into a
hole, then thumbs his nose and nods his head. This rarity was made by Jerome
Secor of Bridgeport, Conn., about 1880. Made of wood, clothed in cloth with
intricate spring winding mechanism, they were easily broken and soon discarded.
In addition, they were sold wholesale for $5.50 each, a factor which did not
help to sell many banks. The value of this bank is untold, it is so greatly in
demand. One collector however, found his in Mexico and paid only $25.00 for it.
Harlequin, Columbine and
the Clown is also very desirable. The dancing motion with Columbine's graceful
pirouette is most attractive. This bank, patented in 1887, did not appear on the
market until 1906. Although there are more specimens than you can count on the
fingers of one hand, it is still very rare.
The Initiating Bank First
Degree takes its name from the words cast in the base. A goat butts a man,
forcing him to deposit a coin into the mouth of a waiting frog. This old timer
is not very interesting in action or appearance but is rare and in demand by
It is said that there are
only two known specimens of Little Red Riding Hood and one of these is broken.
The little girl is seated beside her grandmother in bed. A mask tips forward
revealing the wolf and the girl tosses her head in fright. A sizeable sum is
waiting for the person who discovers another copy.
Shoot the Chutes shows
Buster Brown and his dog Tige in a boat or sled which knocks the coin into the
back when it shoots down the chute. Patented as late as 1906 by Charles A.
Bailey and manufactured by the J. E. Stevens Co. Very few can be found today.
I an sure that more
specimens exist of these rare items. Hidden away in some attic, these prizes
will come to light through perseverance of collectors and dealers. Think of the
pleasure you would get in finding one, to say nothing of the money waiting for
the lucky hunter.
1946 Richard M. Lederer, Jr.
- September Article,
1946 Richard M. Lederer, Jr.
Roundup, Part III
1947 Richard M. Lederer, Jr. - March Article,
1947 Richard M. Lederer, Jr. - April Article,