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Original Boy on Trapeze Cast Iron Mechanical Bank

Scarce Painted Balancing Bar

Circa 1888: Originally christened French’s Automatic Toy Bank, the Boy on Trapeze is the single mechanical bank produced by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s J. Barton Smith Company. This beautiful and elegant bank works by placing a coin in the acrobat’s chapeau. Then, the boy spins and drops the coin into the coin slot on the base and continues its revolution, coming to a stop in his original upright position. The heavier the coin, the more revolutions the boy will make. Bill Norman’s seminal volume The Bank Book published in 1984 cites the following quotation from an 1891 source: “for one penny dropped in the head the boy revolves once, for a nickel twice, for a quarter dollar three times, for a half dollar six times.” This bit of information has been a source of consternation for bank collectors for several decades because this data has not proved correct. Many early bank collectors tried to calibrate the acrobat’s balancing rod by bending it slightly so that the bank would work according to its 1891 specifications. This resulted in a lot of bent or broken balancing rods. What the early bank collectors forgot to figure is that modern coins weigh less than their predecessors and thus will not produce the same amount of revolutions as the 19th century coins did. In our example, a contemporary quarter makes the boy revolve twice.

The highly desirable and difficult to find Boy on Trapeze is certainly one of the most streamlined and striking mechanical banks ever manufactured, and this example sports an incredibly well painted figure with attractive pastel blue pants and a very scarce painted balancing arm. The bank works perfectly and is completely original with no chips, cracks, or repairs and a completely untouched original painted surface. This wonderful antique American cast iron mechanical bank is sure to please the discriminating collector and will be right at home in any fine collection of mechanical banks, antique toys, or Americana.

Boy on Trapeze  Camp Antique Cast Iron Mechanical Bank in All Original Paint

Boy on Trapeze  Camp Antique Cast Iron Mechanical Bank in All Original Paint

Speaking Dog Mechanical Bank

Boy on Trapeze  Camp Antique Cast Iron Mechanical Bank in All Original Paint

Boy on Trapeze  Camp Antique Cast Iron Mechanical Bank in All Original Paint


Boy on Trapeze  Camp Antique Cast Iron Mechanical Bank in All Original Paint

Boy on Trapeze  Camp Antique Cast Iron Mechanical Bank in All Original Paint

Boy on Trapeze  Camp Antique Cast Iron Mechanical Bank in All Original Paint

Boy on Trapeze  Camp Antique Cast Iron Mechanical Bank in All Original Paint

Boy on Trapeze
Antique Mechanical Bank
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