Elephant Bank (black with 3 stars) and the Tabby Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - March, 1973

73-03a.JPG (16098 bytes)A member of the elephant group of the mechanical banks is our choice as No. 218 in the numerical classification and unfortunately we know very little of its background. The bank is known as the Elephant (Black With 3 Stars) and it is quite an attractive representation of an elephant. The only factual information we have concerning its background is contained in an Ehrich Brothers Catalog for the winter of 1884. It is pictured herein and offered for sale as the Jumbo Bank. Needless to say we do not use this name for the bank since it would only add to confusion with the regular Jumbo that has this name on the bank itself.

The Elephant (Black With 3 Stars) shown is in the extensive collection of Wally Tudor of Chicago, Ill. It is all original and the paint is in fine condition. The overall figure is done in a hard glossy type of black enamel. He has a gold blanket with three red stars. His eyes are red and definitions of gold are on his hoofs, tusks, ears, and the coin section of his trunk. Cast into and along the side of his trunk is the wording "Pat Appld."

To operate the bank a coin is placed in the provided section on the end of his upraised trunk. The tail is then depressed causing the trunk to move back depositing the coin into the head of the animal and on into its body. Coins are removed by means of a side screw which holds the bank together.

This Elephant is one that we could call handsome as it is most attractive. The bank is very well made and a fine casting.

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73-03b.JPG (19094 bytes)Every now and then we come across one of the mechanicals that has a rather weird subject matter for a child’s savings device. This is the case as we reach No. 219 in the numerical classification and our choice of the Tabby Bank. The idea of a cat lying in wait and ready to pounce on a chick emerging from an egg is not what one would ordinarily call a pleasant sight or experience. Nevertheless, that is the subject matter of the Tabby Bank.

Once again, we know very little about the background of the Tabby. Fortunately, however, it is pictured for sale in the C. F. Rice Catalog for September 1887. The illustration in the catalog is of large sizes, exceptionally well defined, but somewhat exaggerated as compared to the bank itself. In 1887 Rice sold the bank for $1.50 a dozen. Rice, by the way, was known as "The Giant House" and they were located in Chicago, Ill.

The bank pictured is in fine all original condition and paint colors are as follows: The egg is lavender purple and the name Tabby Bank and decoration between are in gold. The base on which the egg rests is blue with gold edging. The cat is gray-white with some yellow definition and the chick is yellow with a red lined bill and black eyes.

As to operation, when a coin is placed in the provided slot in the back of the cat the weight of the coin on dropping inside the egg causes the chick’s head to move.

Actually if one does not think about the subject matter too much the Tabby Bank is a rather interesting attractive item.