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Toy Shows, Conventions, and Mickey Mouse
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - January, 1979

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There has been a considerable amount of action in mechanical banks and toys in general in the last couple of months. The number one spot for this action was the International Hotel Toy Show at Kennedy Airport, September 24, 1978. This should be a must for all collectors of mechanical banks, cast iron toys, early and late tin toys, wind-up tin toys, comic toys, battery toys, and you name it toys. What a show this was — lots of mechanical banks by the number of exhibitors including Bob McCumber, Lloyd Ralston, Frank Whitson, Haley from England, Mark Suozzi, Joe Olimpio, and others. Fine tin toys and battery toys by the Sadagursky’s and Jean Placente. John O’Connor had a great display of choice battery toys and Larry Eisenstein and several others had some nice battery operated. So if you like toys in the categories mentioned, this show is the place and make it a point to attend the next one. Would you believe Lloyd Ralston one of the top dealers in fine old toys, selling battery operated? How times have changed.

Right after this show, the next weekend in fact, September 29th – October 1st, the Mechanical Bank Collectors of America held their convention in Baltimore, Maryland. Here again there were a lot of mechanical banks around, most of them for sale in numbers of rooms. There was quite a bit of selling action on Friday night and at the auction on Saturday morning. Some special hidden and trade deals were made, but in the main the great majority of the banks were simply for sale to the various members. There were also a few cast iron toys on hand and Jim Maxwell had a great Santa Auto in tin — a bright red car and most attractive. Sufficient to say there was a wide choice of mechanicals at this convention and quite a few stills with a scattering of toys.

Not too long after the above, October 22nd to be exact, another toy affair was held in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. A mob of people attended this one which took place in a Veteran’s Club. Lots of toy cars around at this show and some battery operated, tin wind-up, and so on. Not much in mechanical banks and a few cast iron toys. It was an interesting show and you really can’t tell just what might turn up here in the way of toys. Try it — it’s well advertised and the next one is in May of 79.

Coming up as of this writing is the Antique Toy Collectors of America convention in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It should be a good one and their conventions are well run affairs. Lots of toys usually available and lots of action. And that’s what it’s all about.

Along with these affairs there have been numbers of toy auctions and a few of them with mechanical banks. So keep your eye on the toy auctions for mechanicals — the auctions are becoming more and more the main source for toys and banks.

In closing we cannot neglect Mickey Mouse and the fact it is his 50th Birthday. What is probably the world’s greatest cartoon character became 50 years old in November 1978. The writer is still of the opinion that the Mickey Mouse mechanical bank is most likely the greatest of all Mickey Mouse toys, this in spite of the high auction price of the tin Mickey Mouse Organ Grinder in England and the auction price in the United States of the Lionel Santa Hand Car (with Mickey Mouse in Santa’s bag). There have been a number of the Organ Grinders turn up since the English auction, at least two were at the International Toy Show. In any case, there are two, possibly three, of the Mickey Mouse banks known to exist to date. It’s a top, tough to find mechanical. For Mickey’s birthday we are picturing this fine bank, Figure 1 front and Figure 2 back. The example pictured is in mint condition.


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