Trick Pony Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1973

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A well designed, particularly attractive mechanical bank is our choice as No. 220 in the numerical classification. This is the Trick Pony, one of the more graceful and well proportioned banks. The example shown could be referred to as being in superb original condition and is probably the finest one known to exist. There's hardly a mark on the bank, just a small fleck here and there. Generally speaking, due to the nature of the bank itself it is extremely difficult at best, to find a Trick Pony in even nice original condition. In any case, Wally Tudor is the proud possessor of the unusually fine bank pictured, and due to the circumstances surrounding his getting the bank it is one of the more meaningful mechanicals in his extensive collection.

It is unusual, as a matter of fact more usual, for a collector of mechanical banks to have certain meaningful favorites. This can be due to the bank itself, subject matter, and so on, or the conditions or circumstances under which he obtained the bank. Wally Tudor's Trick Pony is typical. It is a bank he likes particularly well and how he came about adding it to his collection has great meaning to him. Briefly, he knew of this particular bank for some time, but had been unable to obtain it from the owner. Over a period of time certain business associate friends of Wally's convinced the owner to part with the bank and they, the friends, held a special dinner and presented the Trick Pony to him. The dinner was in honor of his 35th Anniversary with Sears, Roebuck & Company. He was completely surprised and had no idea of what was to take place at the dinner. His friends even had the owner (of the Trick Pony) fly to Chicago with the bank for presentation.

The Trick Pony was made by the Shepard Hardware Company of Buffalo, N.Y. It was patented by Charles G. Shepard and Peter Adams, Jr., of Buffalo, and Adams was assignor to Walter J. Shepard. The patent papers dated July 7, 1885, define the bank as it was produced. There are nine drawings, designated Figure 1 through Figure 9, showing the Trick Pony and its various parts. The bank as made is identical to these drawings.

Coloring of this very attractive bank is as follows: The pony is an all over reddish brown, his eyes are white and black, and the nostrils red. Hoofs, tail and mane are black. He has a blue saddle outlined in yellow with a red strap. The decorative section around his neck is blue and yellow, and his bridle straps are yellow. The pedestal is gray and light tan. The top of the base and trough are gray with some gold decorations. Side plates and end plates are a dark brown outlined in gold and black. The name "Trick Pony" on each side plate is in gold. On the trough end plate appears the word "Bank" in gold with a gold diamond-shaped decoration underneath. The lever is dark brown and gold completing the colors of the bank.
To operate, a coin is placed in the mouth of the pony and the operating lever pulled. In so doing the pony lowers his head dropping the coin into the trough. The bottom plate inside the trough, which is also activated by the operating lever, drops down allowing the coin to go inside the base section. On releasing the lever the parts return automatically to their positions. Coins are removed by means of the conventional Shepard rectangular key locked coin trap. Cast into the base plate in large letters is the following: "Pat'd June 2nd and July 7th, 1885."

At the time of the production and sale of the Trick Pony, Shepard put out a most attractive colored advertising card picturing the bank in accurate detail. The cards were printed by the Courier Lithographing Company of Buffalo and were distributed by Shepard to various of their sales outlets. Usually the sales agency's name was imprinted on the card. This type advertising card is a quite desirable collector's item today and somewhat difficult to come by. Shepard Hardware would seem to have been one of the main users of these advertising cards insofar as mechanical banks are con-cerned. However, J. & E. Stevens and several other manufacturers of mechanical banks also em-ployed their use.