Artillery Bank (Helmeted Figure)
A different and very interesting example of the Artillery Bank has recently come to light. There is no question as to its authenticity and originality or to its being a production bank. Everything about it is right. It will be known as Artillery Bank, Type II (Helmeted Figure) and necessarily at this point classified as No. 214 in the numerical classification.
There is not a great deal to say with respect to the general appearance and operation of this bank since it looks like and has the same action of the regular Artillery Bank, (HOBBIES, April 1971). The figure of the soldier however is another matter. It is quite different than that of the regular Artillery. The helmet and other casting differences very definitively represent a German or Prussian type soldier. It possibly could have been made as an export item but in any case it is obviously quite a scarce bank and undoubtedly had limited production.
The bank has the rectangular locking coin trap, over all bronze finish and based on what we have to go on it was a product of the Shepard Hardware Company rather than J. & E. Stevens. Bear in mind both companies made the regular Artillery Bank, but we know of no painted examples by Shepard, no bronze examples by Stevens and none were made by Shepard with the round Stevens trap. Likewise Stevens did not use the locking rectangular trap on their Artillery Banks. They modified the original Shepard patterns to accept the use of their round trap.
Back to the helmet type figure for a moment, it is important to note that the entire figure is of necessity a different casting than that of the regular soldier wearing the visor type cap or hat. The spike peak of the helmet fits through the helmet itself and locks in place inside the head of the figure thus holding the headpiece in place.
Figure I (top) shows the bank before or after the action. Figure II (below) pictures the bank set to operate. As with the regular Artillery the soldier drops his positioned firing signal arm and the coin is fired or propelled from the mortar into the blockhouse. A paper cap can be used in the mortar to cause a loud report as the action occurs. The patent date of May 31st, 1892 is cast in the base and the same patent papers thus apply to this bank as with the regular Artillery.
The bank shown has been, more or less, under wraps for some years. It certainly is an intriguing item and makes a great companion piece when displayed with the Stevens painted type. The bank can in many respects be considered a new find, to the best of the writers knowledge, prior to this time, it was not generally known to exist.