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Lion and Two Monkeys
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - March, 1975

75-03.JPG (15858 bytes)A mechanical bank that has direct collector appeal from several angles is our choice as No. 245 in the numerical classification. The bank is the Lion And Two Monkeys, and naturally it has definite interest to those collectors who lean toward the animal-type mechanicals. Then, specifically, there are certain collectors with a very definite interest in monkeys and the representations thereof. As a matter of fact, quite a nice group of interesting mechanical banks have monkeys as their subject matter.

These include the rare Monkey (Coin In Stomach), the various Organ Banks, the Monkey & Cocoanut, Monkey with Tray, Monkey Bank, Monkey & Parrot, Little Jocko, Chimpanzee Bank, and the very rare Rival Bank. Next would be those collectors with a leaning toward lions. For some reason mechanicals offer little in the way of lions as their subject matter. The only three coming to mind at the moment; the one under discussion, the rare British Lion (Tin), and the great Lion Hunter Bank. Still banks are quite the opposite since a number of them employ the figure of a lion and form a nice group unto themselves. Transversely, the still banks offer little in the way of monkeys, about the main one being the Three Monkeys, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

The Lion And Two Monkeys is an unusually attractive bank with particularly fine action which utilizes the coin in the action, a desirable feature since a coin is really necessary to operate the toy mechanical properly. It was designed and patented by Louis Kyser and Alfred C. Rex of Philadelphia, Pa., July 17, 1883, and made by their company, Kyser & Rex, of the same city. The bank as produced closely follows the patent drawings, both as to configuration and operation. The patent text well covers the actual production bank.

The Lion And Two Monkeys shown is an exceptionally fine, all original example with excellent original paint. Colors are as follows: The lion is the color of a lion with his mane accented in dark brown, he has orange-brown glass eyes, red nostrils and mouth, and his teeth are white. The monkeys are brown with light tan faces. Eyes are white with black pupils, and each have a red mouth and white teeth. The base of the bank is an overall green mottled with yellow and red (this type mottling is indicative and characteristic of a number of Kyser & Rex banks). The tree is a very dark brown with green highlights. A peanut-shaped section on the tree is light tan. A red rimmed base plate completes the coloring.

To operate the bank, a coin is placed in the right hand of the front monkey. On depressing the operating lever, the hand and arm of the monkey lowers, dropping the coin toward the lion whose mouth opens to receive it. As this action takes place, the baby monkey moves upward and forward on the other monkey’s back and looks down at the lion. Very clever action, and on releasing the lever all parts return automatically to position as shown in the photo.

In closing, it bears mention that the Lion And Two Monkeys comes in two slightly different versions, one having a somewhat taller tree than the other. To tell the difference, check the peanut-shaped section on the trunk. The double peanut shape is the taller tree, and the single peanut shape is the shorter. And, by the way, watch that rear monkey — he’s vulnerable, and more often than not a replacement. Also watch for the single large monkey where the arms holding the small monkey have been ground off. The bank was never made with a single monkey.


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