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English Bust Banks — Part II
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - June, 1971

71-06.JPG (14487 bytes)

Figure 3, the Jolly Nigger High Hat, is our choice as No. 199 in the numerical classification. The operation is the same as the others discussed and as is the usual case the eyes move, rolling up. Face and hand are black, eyes are white with brown pupils having black centers, tongue and lips are red with white teeth. He wears a red jacket having gold buttons and blue ties. His top hat is white with a black band. The name "Jolly Nigger Bank" appears on the back in gold letters. The moving right arm on this bank is a sheet iron metal stamping. It was also made with a cast iron arm. The bank shown is in practically mint condition and was found in England. It was made by John Harper & Company, Ltd., and was shown in various of their catalogs from the 1890’s through the 1920’s.

Well we reach sort of a milestone when we go to Figure 4 and the Jolly Nigger Butterfly Tie, No. 200 in the classification. Later this year the writer will have written for HOBBIES for 20 years, which doesn’t seem possible, and now we come to the 200th bank in the classification articles, and believe it or not we still have lots to cover. Down to business and back to Figure 4. Like the others discussed, the action is the same and the eyes roll up. We are specific about eye direction since some bust banks have the eyes moving down. The colors on this bank are identical to the Jolly Nigger High Hat. As a matter of fact it is the same bank without the hat, has the same name on the back, and also made by Harper during the like period.

The bank shown is in excellent all original condition and was found in England. The name Butterfly Tie was originally used years ago to describe this bank in order to differentiate it from our regular Jolly Nigger as made by Stevens and Shepard. The name has served its purpose well and is completely appropriate as to a definite difference in the type ties without too much noticeable difference otherwise. Of course the date always appears along with the name on the Stevens and Shepard Jolly Niggers. No dates are on the High Hat or Butterfly Tie.

It bears mention that there are variations in some of the above discussed banks. As example, the High Hat and the Butterfly Tie come with a cast iron right arm and a metal stamping right arm. Either case is o.k. and they are the same banks. These are not "type" banks. However, for those interested in knowing about varieties and for that matter anyone interested in mechanical banks it is well to point this out.

A word of caution exists where the High Hat is concerned. Any bank with the name and date on the back, which would be Stevens or Shepard, and having a hat is not a completely original bank. The hat has been added since neither Stevens nor Shepard made a Jolly Nigger with a hat. Only the English type came originally with a high hat. There are other known cases where different type hats have been put on both Stevens and Shepard bust banks. None of these have any authenticity about them and none as yet have been proven original in this fashion. To repeat, there is no indication or proof of any kind that Stevens or Shepard ever made anything but regular Jolly Nigger banks with no hats whatsoever. And the American made Jolly Nigger only comes in two variations — one Stevens and one Shepard. The differences here are just in the base plates, nothing else. It is true that Shepard painted some of their production banks with jackets in blue instead of red.

In closing, however, in the case of the English bust banks there are quite a number of variations involved and there are other different types that will appear in the series articles at a future date. Some of these we are still trying to authenticate as to age and then the manufacturer if possible. A few of the English bust banks have been difficult with respect to placing them with certainty in the so called antique category. Actually, of course, pre-1935 and, therefore, collectible as an old bank.


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