Circa 1891: Designed by James H. Bowen and manufactured by the storied J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut, the cat and mouse mechanical bank is difficult to find. This example of the cat balancing variation has an original base, retains over 80% of its completely original paint, and contains no chips, cracks, or repairs. The action of this bank is simple but surprising and works extremely well. One places the coin on the platform below the mouse's head and clicks the lever on the front of the bank. Quickly, the mouse strikes at the coin, and the cat appears with a mouse and ball between its legs. This handsome and appealing antique mechanical bank will be a welcome addition to any fine collection of banks, toys, or early American antiques.
Circa 1873: The J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut manufactured Charles H. Johnson’s Novelty Bank in many color patterns, and this handsome red, yellow, and blue variation is a real stunner. This is a terrific Novelty Bank from the beginnings of the great age of mechanical banks and will be a fine addition to any collection of antique banks, early toys, or American antiques.
Circa 1885: Shepard Hardware Company’s Speaking Dog mechanical bank was so popular that, when J. & E. Stevens took over Shepard’s line of mechanical banks, they produced their own version of the bank. The Speaking Dog, like the Girl Skipping Rope, is one of a handful of mechanical banks marketed specifically for girls. Note that this bank does not rely on stereotypical imagery but on the pure innocent beauty of a yellow-haired Caucasian girl petting her friendly and obedient dog as it wags its tail in approval.
Circa 1886: Shepard Hardware's Uncle Sam mechanical bank is the most widely recognized patriotic 19th century toy, which makes it highly prized among today's collectors of mechanical banks, cast iron toys, and patriotic Americana. This iconic mechanical bank is in completely original condition with no repairs and a high percentage of original paint. This is a very fine bank in exellent condition.
Circa 1891: Shepard Hardware Company’s Leap Frog mechanical bank illustrates the centuries old children's game and depicts two youths playing leapfrog next to the fence in their yard. To operate the bank, one puts a coin into the slot on top of the tree and clicks the button on the rear of the bank. This releases the boy in the yellow shirt who flies over his companion and hits the tree's lever on the way past it, sending the coin into the bank.
Circa 1897: Patented to James Bowen on April 72, 1897 and manufactured by Cromwell, Connecticut's J & E Stevens Company , the iconic boy on bench variation of the I Always Did 'Spise a Mule cast iron mechanical bank stands as one of the most recognizable pieces of 19th century Black Americana and is a must have for all collectors of antique mechanical banks and Black Americana.
Circa 1888: This late 1880s Hubley Trick Dog cast iron mechanical bank with six-part base has excellent original paint with no touch-ups, comes in completely original condition with no chips, cracks, repairs, and includes a key for the coin trap. The bank's mechanism works perfectly, and it is easy to see why the Trick Dog was popular with the youth of the late Victorian era and remains just as popular with 21st century mechanical bank collectors. who are sure to be pleased with this handsome 19th century American bank manufactured by Lancaster, Pennsylvania's Hubley Manufacturing Company.
Circa 1889: Buffalo's Shepard Hardware Co. maufactired a lot of mechanical banks, but the iconic Santa Claus standing at the chimney remains one of its most popular and endearing models. The bank's movement is very simple, but no child could grow tired of Santa Clause dropping the gift of money into the chimney chute. This antique mechanical bank is completely original with no paint touch-ups, chips, cracks, or repairs and has great cross over appeal into several areas of collecting, thus making examples of this quality ighly desirable and especially difficult to find on the open market.
Circa 1888: Originally advertised as the Base Ball Bank, James H. Bowen’s superbly designed Dark Town Battery was manufactured and distributed by Cromwell, Connecticut’s J. & E. Stevens Company and stands as a lasting celebration of America’s first professional Negro Baseball League in 1887. This immensely popular and highly desirable mechanical bank is the finest piece of 19th century sporting Black Americana ever produced, and this example features and incredibly vibrant and nearly complete untouched paint decorated surface.
Circa 1882: Originally marketed as the Bullfrog Bank and the Frog Bank, James H. Bowen’s strikingly visual Two Frogs mechanical bank was manufactured by Cromwell, Connecticut bank giant J. & E. Stevens Company and imitates, in comic fashion, a frog catching its prey, in this case a child’s coin... nearly mint untouched paint decorated surface.
Circa 1883: The J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut, hit a
homerun on the popularity scale when they contracted for production
Chicago, Illinois, independent designer Charles M. Henn's graceful and
complicated Eagle and Eaglets mechanical bank. Originally marketed as the
American Eagle Bank and the Eagle Bank, the Eagle and Eaglets portrays our
national symbol feeding her young and serves as a metaphor for our
government continually nourishing its nest of citizens with the
opportunity for financial growth through saving money a penny at a time.
Circa 1912-1917: The Boy Scout Camp Bank does not often find its way to the open marketplace, and this wonderful example of the scarce and complex J. & E. Stevens Company masterpiece mechanical bank is attributed to highly acclaimed bank designer Charles A. Bailey and celebrates the 1910 formation of The Boy Scouts of America.
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.
Circa 1877: New Creedmoor mechanical bank in original polychrome painted finish with William Tell figure shooting penny into tree stump, base with raised escutcheon reading New Creedmoor Bank with patent number, 2.8" x 10.15" x 6.75" high. A very interesting mechanical bank that was designed to fire a gunpowder cap while sending coin into tree truck.
Circa 1880: Patented to James Bowen on April 22, 1879 and manufactured by Cromwell, Connecticut's J & E Stevens Company in 1880, the iconic jockey over variation of the I Always Did 'Spise a Mule cast iron mechanical bank stands as one of the most recognizable pieces of 19th century Black Americana and is a must have for all collectors of antique mechanical banks and Black Americana. This example hasexcellent all original paint decoration with no touch-ups, has no chips, cracks, or repairs, and includes its coin trap. This timeless antique cast iron bank's mechanism functions perfectly and is sure to please its new owner.
Circa 1884: This bank represents a typical Punch and Judy theatre, scenery, curtain and all. Judy receives the coin in a plate in her hand, a lever is pressed and Punch rushes forward brandishing a club, when Judy turns quickly and deposits the coin in the bank. Name "Punch and Judy Bank" above the stage opening. Two varieties, one has smaller letters in the name than the other. Buffalo, N.Y. July 15, 1884.
Fresh to the Market with No Apologies: Circa 1890: There are approximately 30 original Girl Skipping Rope mechanical banks known today, and it is extremely rare and exciting when an undocumented example of this holy grail of mechanical banks surfaces on the open market. This bank was found on the fireplace mantel of a New York home and had been passed down through the family since its purchase in 1890. In other words, this bank has never seen the inside of an auction house or has never been passed through another collector’s hands and is an important and completely fresh to the market specimen of this truly wondrous invention. The J. & E. Stevens Company’s Girl Skipping Rope is mechanical bank designer James H. Bowen’s paramount creation.
Circa 1890: Designed by Peter Adams, Jr. and produced by Shepard hardware Company of Buffalo, New York, the Jonah and the Whale mechanical bank plays on the famous Old Testament story of Jonah being swallowed by the whale. However, in true comic fashion, this version of the bank depicts Jonah feeding the whale coins and is meant instead to teach children the moral value of saving money.
Circa 1880: Cromwell, Connecticut cast iron bank manufacturers J. & E. Stevens Company relied on James H. Bowen to create the visually formidable Bull Dog Bank or, as it was first named, the Bull Dog Bank, Coin on Nose. It is easy to see that any youngster of the day would consider the fearsome bulldog with its penetrating glass eyes and disturbing toothy jaws a perfect receptacle to guard his hard-earned coins. After all, one would have to be out of his mind even to consider stealing from a creature so ferocious as the ever-attendant bulldog. This eye catching antique mechanical bank features a superb untouched paint decorated surface, perfect action, and no chips, cracks, or repairs, is of true collector quality, and will surely be a hit in any fine collection of Americana, banks, or antique cast iron toys.
Circa 1901: Designed by virtuoso bank inventor Charles A. Bailey for Cromwell, Connecticut’s J. & E. Stevens Company, the Magician Bank is based on the timeless vanishing rabbit trick. When one places a coin under the magician’s top hat and presses the lever, the hat covers the coin, and the coin “magically disappears,” sliding down a cleverly designed (and hard to detect) chute. Upon the lever’s release, the magician raises his hat, revealing an empty table. This ingenious optical illusion was sure to delight its young turn of the century owners and help them save their change for that proverbial rainy day.
Circa 1876: The J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut manufactured Henry W. Prouty’s Magic Bank in a number of color variations, and this handsome light green version is a real stunner. This bank is interesting because it accepts coins in two ways: mechanically via the cashier on the reverse side of the bank’s entrance and manually through a coin slot on the bank’s roof.
Circa 1880: The Mule Entering Barn was one of three spring-operated mechanical banks created by independent Boston, Massachusetts, designer Edward L. Morris for Cromwell, Connecticut’s storied manufacturing firm the J. & E. Stevens Company. This bank portrays the stereotypical stubborn mule that does not want to go easily into its stall. The action on this unique mechanical bank is so swift and fierce that th
Circa 1880: One of only two mechanical banks manufactured by Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania’s Enterprise Manufacturing Company, famous for their
production of painted coffee grinders and other cast iron accessories, the
Elephant Howdah (Man Pops Out) bank brought to the child’s imagination the
exotic east Indian culture where people trained the gargantuan pachyderm
and harnessed its legendary might as a symbol of their own power and
wealth. This neat antique American mechanical bank works perfectly, has no
chip, cracks, or repairs, and is decked in completely original and
untouched paint decoration. This is a perfect starter bank on which
beginning collectors can wet their whistles.
Circa 1905: Scarce Large Gold Version— This nice Ravenna, Ohio, A. C. Williams Manufacturing Company
Elephant Swings Trunk – Large cast iron mechanical banks simply moves its
trunk when a coin is inserted into its slot. The bank features a
completely original and untouched painted surface, has no chips, cracks,
or repairs, and works perfectly. This is a great little beginning tier
antique cast iron mechanical bank in the scarce gold paint version, and
will fit in perfectly into a collection of period toys or banks.
Circa 1885: Designed by Wilmington, North Carolina’s Juleus Mueller for the Shepard Hardware Company of Buffalo, New York, the Trick Pony is modeled from the wildly popular carousel horse. In the child’s imagination, the carousel horses come alive when the ride lurches into gear and the wooden steeds begin their circular jaunt. Similarly, the Trick Pony resting on its decorated column and adorned in carousel horse’s garb, comes to life when its button is pressed and its head moves forward to drop the coin in its maw into the slot. In effect, this handsome 19th century American mechanical bank truly does epitomize the one trick pony. This specimen has perfect action, is free of any chips, cracks, or repairs, and retains a fine untouched original vibrantly paint decorated surface.
Circa 1901: Charles A. Bailey’s scarce and desirable Hen and Chick mechanical bank was produced by the J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut and is a tribute to rural America’s barnyard. The bank was manufactured in both white and brown hen variations and theoretically had a bellows to make the hen cluck as the lever was pressed and the chick popped out from its nest.
Circa 1896: The Bank features the figure of William Tell pointing his rifle at an apple on the head of his young son who stands in front of a castle tower. The William Tell Bank was patented in 1896 by Russell Frisbie and manufactured by J & E. Stevens for a several years. It remains one of the most popular mechanical banks ever produced. This example has good original paint with no touch-ups, breaks, or repairs and comes to you in completely original condition.
Circa 1882: It is more than safe to say that the Jolly Nigger is the most popular mechanical bank ever created because no other mechanical bank has been made in more variations, manufactured in more nations, or produced for a longer span of time. Note that kingpin mechanical bank collector Steve Steckbeck kept only the first bank he ever acquired, Shepard Hardware’s Jolly Nigger, when he liquidated his vast collection at Morphy’s Auctions’ now historic Steckbeck sale. Shepard’s Jolly bank is the first one produced And is thus the most interesting to collectors of banks, Antique toys, And Black Americana, And it is this bank that retains its iconic status as the most famous 19th century comical image of the stereotypical African American. This pleasing example of Shepard’s Jolly has vibrant paint And extremely well done And well-preserved eyes, which make it both attractive And desirable to collectors.
Circa 1885: This end of the day Cabin mechanical bank contains the partial fingerprint of its original decorator. This literal human touch adds a fine folky feel to this desirable piece of early black Americana.
Circa 1882: Manufactured by J. and E. Stevens, the Frog on Round Base was issued in many color combinations. Because of the high percentage of original untouch paint on this bank and the fact that it works perfectly and has no breaks or repairs, it is a prime example and this very desirable to antique bank and toy collectors.
Circa 1882: James H. Bowen of Philadelphia, Pa., was the inventor and designer of Paddy And The Pig. It was manufactured by the J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Conn. They pictured it for sale in a number of their catalogs and at the time the name "Shamrock Bank" was used.
Circa 1934: Hubley Manufacturing Company began operation in 1894 and was located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They expanded their basic line of toys in the 1920s to include bookends, ashtrays, and doorstops.