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Mechanical Bank Activity 1970
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - March, 1971

71-03a.JPG (39390 bytes)The results of our first year into the 70’s from the standpoint of mechanical banks and the collecting of these colorful toy savings devices warrants a summary of some of the highlights of this most interesting year.

To begin with, certainly one of the most outstanding events had to do with the fifth known Freedman’s Bank and its addition to one of the more extensive collections. The acquisition of a Freedman’s Bank is a noteworthy occasion and this is one of those "once in a lifetime" occurrences. Each collector of mechanical banks has his own "thing" as to which are his favorites and so on and there is no question as to this being each individual’s privilege. However, the almost unobtainable Freedman’s is the goal and dream of every seriously interested collector of mechanical banks — and few have been privileged to attain this goal. It’s doubtful that this situation will ever change, no other mechanical would seem to have the charisma to the extent of that which surrounds the Freedman’s. In any case, for details on this, one of the outstanding happenings of 1970, please see HOBBIES article, May 1970.

71-03b.JPG (24875 bytes)Who would then believe that a Turtle Bank (Figure 1) would put in its appearance in this same year, and of all things a variety as compared to the others known. Almost unbelievable, but just another fascinating aspect of this most intriguing hobby. This Turtle Bank is a real nice example and unusually enough it had been kept in a safe deposit box for some years prior to its finding its way into a collection of mechanical banks. Sort of a coincidence that the Turtle and the Freedman’s were both individually rather obscurely held items, not in a collection as such in either case — and now they have each found good homes. For details on this Turtle please refer to July 1970 HOBBIES article.

Regina Musical Savings Banks just don’t turn up very often, they are quite difficult to come by. So what happens during our first year into the 70’s — no less than three Reginas come to light. It has always been of interest to the writer that the Regina Savings Bank is such a difficult item to add to a collection. It certainly is large and oversize as we generally accept a savings bank to be. One just doesn’t visualize an item of this size as a bank, but mechanical bank it is and a good one with fine authentic detailed background. The writer, by the way, was quite fortunate recently in obtaining a copy of the page from an original Regina catalog that pictures and describes the Musical Savings Bank. The Regina Company manufactured great varieties and numbers of music boxes, many of which were coin operated, apparently, however, their musical bank was produced in limited quantity and for a limited time, not over a period of years.

71-03c.JPG (19011 bytes)Prior to 1970, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, only one Time Lock Savings Bank (Figure 2) was known to be in a collection. Well that’s no longer the case, at least one other turned up during the year. It is in pretty good original shape but needs some careful work and adjustment to get it in proper working order. This is another of those sort of offbeat tough banks to find — its greatest interest generally lies with the more advanced type collector.

We can also mark off another Clown Bank (Bust). This is one of the more difficult English banks to find and the number known to exist can be counted on the fingers of one hand. This example is all original with the paint, however, in just fair condition. While we are on the subject of a bust type bank, it bears mention that a Darky Bust (Tin) also turned up in ’70 and in fine mint condition.

Not too long ago we mentioned the Signal Cabin Bank (Tin), its scarcity, the fact that none had turned up for years, and then that a couple of examples showed up in a short space of time. Well in 1970 three more went into collections, one of which was a variety with no sliding coin trap. All three were in nice original condition and this is exceptional as the Signal Cabin is an extremely fragile bank.

Other mechanicals during the year worthy of mention include the 10c Adding Bank — two Watch Banks (Dime Disappears), an interesting fine action item and difficult to find (Figure 3) — also two Robot Banks, which are of English manufacture — as well as four Football Banks, also English.

Now we come to another rare bank, the Sentry, and this is a great tin bank with exceptionally attractive appearance and action. Three of these, believe it or not, all in nice original condition went into private collections during 1970.

Finally, last but far from least, we come to the Sambo Bank, a mechanical with years of uncertainty as far as the writer has been concerned. Well late in 1970, December to be exact, not one, but two absolutely original Sambo Banks came to light. Each had been in rather small collections with some degree of obscurity. The Sambo Bank will be detailed in article form in the near future. In closing 1970 with the Sambo Bank — it was a great interesting year with fine mechanical bank activity.

 

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