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The International Antique Toy Show and M.B.C.A. Convention
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - December, 1976

Bob Bostoff and Phil Caponi did it again — the 2nd International Hotel Antique Toy Show, a real fine display of old toys for sale covering a wide range of kinds and types. It really is a top show in its specialized field. This one was held Sunday, September 26th, and there were 180 exhibitors with a great variety of toys for sale and a few for trade only. Exhibitors consisted of dealers, collectors, and collector-dealers. It was a well attended affair and crowded with buyers and lookers from beginning to end. There was a lot of action and quite obviously numbers of sales were made, as well as some trade transactions.

A very interesting unexpected surprise had to do with the number of mechanical banks for sale at this show as opposed to the first one held in 1975. There were mechanical banks all over the place. Bob McCumber was in attendance as an exhibitor and had a nice selection of mechanicals. John Haley from England flew over for this and the Mechanical Bank Convention (see below), and he displayed a fine group of mechanical banks, including some of the rarer ones such as the Tommy Bank. John mentioned that business was brisk and he did well both selling and buying.

Ron Van Anda flew in from California and he had nearly 100 mechanical banks for sale, several of these were exceptionally nice mechanicals, all original and fine paint condition. For example, the Trick Pony he had was in unusually fine paint and this is one of the really hard mechanicals to find in this condition. An excellent Speaking Dog Bank and Bull Dog Bank were on a par with the Trick Pony, as well as a number of others.

Joe Olimpio exhibited a nice group of banks, as well as the Werbell’s with a good selection of still banks. There were numbers of other exhibitors with mechanical banks, and while we will not attempt to name all of them, sufficient to say mechanical banks were certainly there and available to buyers. The writer stresses this because of the number of letters he receives asking where mechanical banks can be purchased, where they can be found for sale, and so on. Well this is certainly one of the places.

Lloyd Ralston had some real fine cast iron toys, as well as a mechanical or two on display. In particular a Trick Dog Bank (6-Part Base) in exceptional original condition. Also, a cast iron motorcycle with a regular dressed man, rather than a policeman as the rider-driver. This is unusual.

Tin toys were everywhere, including comics and you name it. One of the outstanding tin toys of the show in the writer’s opinion was displayed by Mark Suozzi. It consisted of a flat embossed tin rectangular base showing the Atlantic Ocean and part of the United States and Europe. Forming a triangle on this base are three buildings — one over Germany with the roof marked Friedrichshafen, one over Buffalo, and another over New Jersey with the roof marked Lakehurst. There is a pulley on an extended shaft on each of the roofs of the three buildings.

An endless cord runs on these three pulleys by means of the motorized pulley on the Friedrichshafen building. Suspended on the endless cord is a Zeppelin. Three upright ships are on the ocean, as well as others in lithograph. New York City is shown with the Woolworth Building and the Statue of Liberty. It is a very attractive, colorful, well made tin toy and the Zeppelin travels from Germany to the U.S. The historical background of the toy is well represented by the toy itself and is of great interest. The LZ126 Zeppelin Airship of 2,470,000 cubic feet was constructed in Germany as a war reparation payment to the U.S. — later it was christened the Los Angeles. It was then delivered to the U.S. by transatlantic flight in October, 1924. This interesting toy was made to commemorate this flight.

Other exhibitors had toy trains in cat iron and tin, as well as Lionel, Ives, American Flyer, and so on. There were Mickey Mouse items including an animated clock or two. Battery operated toys were well in evidence and these are fast becoming a thing to increasing numbers of collectors. The Sadagursky’s specialize in these and had a fine display. Around the show of particular interest in the battery type were — a large monkey that went through the three motions of Hear, Speak, and See No Evil. A large dinosaur ‘Dino’ with Fred Flintstone astride, Dino moves each leg, moves his head and neck up and down, turns his head, and Fred rocks back and forth all this accompanied by a weird noise. A large tin tree trunk with tree limb arms and a face, the eyes go up and down and the arms move back and forth, it wanders around the floor emitting a most ominous sound. Oh, yes, the top of the trunk is a leaf representation that rocks back and forth. Not for sale this one, just displayed.

For those interested in toys, this is the place to go.

* * *

The Mechanical Bank Collectors of America held their convention October 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the Sheraton Valley Forge Motor Inn. It was well attended by about 94 members. Things really got rolling Friday night and numbers of mechanical banks changed hands. Actually there was some jumping of the gun on Thursday, September 30th, when quite a few showed up to beat the crowd more or less. Which is certainly o.k. of course, since they say the ‘early bird gets the worm.’

On Saturday there was an auction of mechanicals followed by a display of banks by dealers and then a continuation of the auction. Mechanicals were also for sale in various of the rooms. Involved in all this was John Haley and Van Anda (also at International). Bob McCumber has some nice mechanicals, as well as still banks. He was also at International. Norm Crider had a fine display during the Dealer’s Exhibit, as well as Max Berry with a Little Jocko and a Monkey & Parrot among others.

It would seem to the writer that the biggest news of the convention as far as any one mechanical bank goes would be the acquisition by Al Davidson of the Turtle Bank. This is a really tough bank to come by and the one Al obtained is a real nice example, all original with no repairs — which is important — and very nice paint condition.

Good action continued even after the banquet Saturday night and on Sunday members were invited to Lee Perelman’s fine Museum of Toys in Philadelphia.

A lot of buying and trading went on in various categories of the mechanicals and a somewhat rare one here and there changed hands, such as, for example, the Tommy Bank. All in all it was an interesting affair and afforded member collectors an opportunity to add to their respective collections. There were certainly a goodly number of mechanical banks around the place.


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