Mechanical Bank Ramblings
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - November, 1975

75-11.JPG (11877 bytes)It’s been a long time since we have had mechanical bank ramblings and a number of people have inquired "how come?" This, including a recent inquiry on ramblings from our good friends in Paris, Nicole and Emmanuel Rodrique, so anyway here it is and here we go.

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A very important find of one of the quite rare banks, as yet not seen by the writer, is the Jonah And Whale (Jonah Emerges From Whale’s Mouth). We understand the underside coin container box, which also supports the bank, is missing. We also understand there is some question as to the paint and its originality. Please note the writer has not seen this bank as yet and, therefore, cannot pass judgment, other than the fact it is another example of this rare bank and not a known Jonah Emerges sold or traded from one of the large collections.

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Another Magie Bank has turned up in fine all original mint condition. This is a tough tin bank to obtain with exceptionally good action completely similar to that of the Magician. Like some of the other tin banks, it is rather fragile and can get out of order rather easily unless handled properly and carefully. This is part of the reason it’s a difficult mechanical to come by.

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There is a new find in a tin Tiger Bank. It is quite similar in makeup and operation to the British Lion (Tin) and undoubtedly both were manufactured by the same German concern. The Tiger would seem to be in the same period as the Lion, and more about it at another time.

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Some talk concerns the possibility of the recent find of an original Uncle Sam Bust Bank. Also an original catalog showing the bank. Up to now all examples of the Uncle Sam Bust seen by the writer over the years have been fakes or recasts from a possible original bank. We say "possible original" since such may exist, however, the writer has never seen this or any other original example to date. If and when he does, readers will be advised.

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Of particular recent interest is the discovery of a Lehmann mechanical bank. Where this bank has been all these years and why one has not turned up before now is a real mystery, but that’s the way it goes with the mechanicals and it’s another intriguing aspect in collecting them. Most everybody familiar with cast iron toys and mechanical banks is aware of the fact that the German made Lehmann tin toys have increased in value considerably over the last few years. It wasn’t too long ago that they were considered just a routine foreign made tin toy. Not so now, and possibly this increased interest and value had something to do with the discovery of the Bobby In Tower Bank. It’s an interesting, rather small bank with the figure of an English policeman holding a British flag in his hands. He is inside the top open section of the tower. On depositing a coin in the provided slot in the top, the flag is caused to go up and then drop back down of its own accord. Various pictures of well known structures in London are depicted on the sides of the tower. It is a well made sturdy little bank and the German patent covering it is dated July 12, 1925 and issued to Ernst Paul Lehmann. The only part of the bank that is not too sturdy is the quite small British flag held by the policeman. It is a cloth-like material held in place by a clamped over part representing the flag holder. Believe it or not, one of these banks turned up, then another, then another, and to date there are four, possibly five, known to exist. We will probably do more on the bank at a later date, however, at this time we will classify the bank as No. 254 in the numerical classification.

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For still bank collectors and the many mechanical collectors who also collect stills, we have some rather interesting news concerning the very fine Key Bank. We have known of three varieties for some time and now it turns up there are two varieties of the St. Louis Exposition World’s Fair Key Bank. This one is not riveted together and the front or end section that revolves comes completely out, then a U-shaped piece is removed, and the two halves of the key come apart. Also two different examples of the Eiffel Tower Bank have turned up. One is cast iron with the wording in French and similar to the English cast iron version, only somewhat taller. The other is a finely detailed example made in a lead-like metal and tin. It is a handsome bank with a fine lock and combination trap in the base. A reclining lion is embossed on this coin trap and at some point this may be helpful in ascertaining who made the bank — it looks of French manufacture. It is nicely decorated in two shades of gold.