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Clever Dick Bank (Tin)
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - June, 1972

72-06.JPG (19676 bytes)It’s been a little while since we have had the pleasure of announcing the discovery of a new find in a mechanical bank. Well it has happened again, and we have come up with a very attractive mechanical previously not known to exist, for description and discussion. This is the Clever Dick Bank, a German tin mechanical made apparently for the English market only, and of necessity at this point, No. 209 in the numerical classification. It is a well designed, cleverly conceived toy savings device with very good mechanical action. It well fits into either of two groups, one having dogs as the subject matter and the other comprising clown representations with their circus background overtones.

Like the Clown And Dog (HOBBIES, March, 1969), the Clever Dick Bank has certain characteristics and things in common with the Monkey And Parrot (HOBBIES, November, 1961). For one thing, we know the bank was made in Germany as it is so marked. Other than this, factual information as to the manufacture and so on is not known at this time. There are, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, no old catalogs or other things of this nature that picture or describe the bank. Based on what we have to work with, plus its similarities and possible close relationship to the Clown And Dog and Monkey And Parrot, we place the bank, circa 1910.

The extra fine original condition Clever Dick shown was obtained through a Paris, France, antique source and, unfortunately, its background prior to this time is not known. It is an exceptionally bright cheerful type of bank with vivid coloring. These colors are as follows: The dog is done in shadings of white, gray, tan and brown. His eye has a blue iris and black pupil with white center. He wears sizeable red shoes and his peaked hat has a large red pompom. The over-size collar around his neck is white with blue definitions and red striping. The two clowns in the background, one on each side of the dog, are in red and white. A yellow recessed section over the dog’s nose contains the following verse in black letters:

I’m a star
Known as
          "Clever Dick"
Place a penny
          on my nose
Then I will
          do my trick

Curving bright red and green sections defined in blue are on the semi-circular top half. The section below this is in green with a blue band across the bottom. The raised base is red, as is the box-like coin container section on the back. The entire back of the face plate of the bank is black. The word "Germany" is impressed along the bottom edge of the box-shaped section in the back. There is a locking coin trap on the underside of the base section.

The writer has found that the large size English penny works correctly with this bank. It fits properly into the upper recessed section as the operation takes place and has the right thickness, weight and diameter. American pennies will not work properly. Since the verse itself directs the use of a penny, the reference must be to the English coin. So to the operation — we first place a large penny on the dog’s nose. Next we go to the lever located by the dog’s tail. This must be depressed slowly — in so doing, the dog’s mouth is caused to open by the tilting of his nose and head. The coin rolls back and up as though balancing on the tip of his nose. As the nose reaches its peak of travel, the dog’s mouth is then wide open and the coin falls therein. The effect is quite realistic and unique. On releasing the lever, moving parts return to their positions automatically.

In closing, to repeat, all three banks, Monkey And Parrot, Clown And Dog, and Clever Dick, have striking similar characteristics, including construction and operation. However, the action of the coin is quite different in the case of the Clever Dick. With respect to configuration or outline of the bank, the base section, and the back box coin container, these parts are just like those of the Clown And Dog.


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