Buying and Selling Collectibles: Mechanical Banks

About the hobby of collecting, buying, and selling old and used items for fun and profit, in this case mechanical banks.

Banks. All old mechanical banks are worth big premiums. Minimum value for a pre-W.W. I bank in good condition, not badly scratched or dented, is $50. They go all the way up to $3,000. The $3,000 plum is called "Shoot the Chute." Other valuable banks (over $1,000) are Turtle, Giant, Girl Skipping Rope, Bank Teller, Bowling Alley, Cat Jumping for Mouse, and many more. Mechanical banks were made of heavy cast iron. A penny or some other coin was placed in a holder and a spring fired it into the bank, which could be a whale's mouth, the trunk of a tree, or a baseball catcher's mitt. Mechanical banks were 1st made around 1870. Their heyday was 1890 to 1910. After 1920 some of the old designs were reproduced. Because of collector interest, reproductions are still made today. Naturally these are worth comparatively little. "Still" banks--those that do not move--nearly always bring less than mechanicals, except for early "personality" banks (Mickey Mouse, Popeye, and other comic and film characters).

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