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Dinah & ‘Husband’ (Aluminum)
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - January, 1971

71-01a.JPG (23996 bytes)Three English mechanicals, one cast iron, the other two unusually fine aluminum castings, are our choice in the numerical classification at this particular time. The cast iron Dinah is No. 190, and Dinah and her "husband" are No. 191 and 192 respectively. As mentioned in previous articles, the bust type of banks are mechanicals in which the English excelled and the three under present discussion are fine examples of their technique. While a great number of mechanical banks (in total) were made in England, the different kinds and types were comparatively few as compared to those made in the United States. Just why the bust type was so popular with the English manufacturers is a factor of interest and apparently it was just a matter that they sold better than other types and were more popular with the public than others.

The cast iron Dinah, Figure 1, was made by John Harper & Company and entered in the Reg. of Designs on March 29, 1911. On March 11, 1916, the copyright was extended for five years, and on October 5, 1920, it was extended for the third period of five years. So the Dinah Bank was made for quite a few years and in quantity. This is borne out by the exact circumstances that have happened to the bank as a collector’s item. Going back to the earlier days of collecting mechanicals the Dinah sold at a rather high price on a comparative basis with the other mechanicals. Today the bank is worth little more than it was then due to the fact that numbers of them have turned up over the years and its rarity has been considerably lessened. This is in no way disparaging this fine bank, it’s simply "that’s the way it is."

The bank shown is in fine original condition. It was found in England and has been in the writer’s possession for some years. Colors are as follows: Her face, hair, left forearm and hand are black, she has red tongue and lips with white teeth, her eyes are white with tan pupils, the pupils are outlined with black and have black centers. She wears silver earrings, necklace and brooch. A yellow dress completes the coloring on this attractive bank. On the back appears the name Dinah in large capital block letters. The pictured Dinah, by the way, is the one with the so-called "flowing sleeve." This is the earlier, somewhat more desirable type. A variation of the bank comes with the regular Jolly Nigger type arm and was made by Harper in this fashion. This is a later version and apparently it was more economical and practical to produce, utilizing the same arm as on some of the other Harper bust banks. It bears mention that the Harper Dinah Bank came with other color dresses, brown and blue for example, and they are original this way.

Operation of the bank is the same as with most all the bust type. A coin is first placed in the extended hand. On depressing the lever in the rear left shoulder the arm lifts dropping the coin in the mouth. At the same time the tongue recedes and the eyes roll upward. Release the lever and all parts return to position as shown in Figure 1.

71-01b.JPG (16782 bytes)

Now to the aluminum Dinah and her "husband" as shown in Figure 2. To begin with these are both unusually well made aluminum castings, particularly as compared to some of the Starkie aluminum banks, for example. Unfortunately we have not as yet been able to find out what concern made these two banks. On first glance one would think that this Dinah is the same as in Figure 1. This is not the case. Various features of the casting are quite different – the earrings, eyes, mouth, and hair to mention a few, plus the fact that it is slightly smaller overall. Also there is no name on the back of the bank, and it is put together quite differently than any of the other bust type banks. Two screws are at the ears which is routine, however, two screws are also in the lower back on each side. This is unusual as a center screw in the back was the common practice to hold bust type banks together. Dinah’s "husband" is made in the same fashion.

The Dinah Bank shown in Figure 2 is in fine condition and colors are as follows: Face, hair, forearm and hand are black, she has red tongue, lips, and white teeth. Her eyes are white with brown pupils having black centers. Earrings and necklace are gold. She wears a red dress with white collar. The entire back half of the figure is black.

The operation of this Dinah Bank is the same as the other with one exception, the eyes roll down instead of up.

Dinah’s husband, Figure 2, is the typical Jolly Nigger type bust with some variations in the casting as compared to others of its kind. He is slightly smaller overall than the usual negro bust in the larger sizes. There is no name on the back and he is put together quite differently with the two screws on each side of the back.

This bank, like Dinah, is in fine original condition with colors as follows: Face, hair and hand are black; he has red lips and tongue with white teeth; eyes are white with brown pupils having black centers. His shirt is red with white collar and cuff. He wears a blue tie and the two buttons on the shirt front are also blue. Unlike his companion Dinah, the back half is painted in colors with the red shirt, white collar and black hair. It bears mention that this bank and the companion Dinah are painted in the exact same colors, that is, the same type and shades of paint were used on both.

Operation of the bank is the same with the eyes rolling downward.

For the record this bank is known as Jolly Nigger (Aluminum) (Ear and Side Screws). He and Dinah (Aluminum) make an attractive pair as "husband" and "wife."


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