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About Cast Iron Mechanical Banks
Cast-iron mechanical banks have been popular with collectors for decades, and the prices prove it. It is rare to find an authentic mechanical bank for less than a few hundred dollars these days, and most of them top $1,000 when sold at auction. Some of the rarest and most desirable sell for well over $10,000 and a few even top the amazing sum of $100,000.
Even banks with paint wear can be valuable, and the paint should never be touched up on these cast iron pieces. Collectors value original condition more than anything when it comes to these pieces, just as with Hubley toys and cast iron door stops. Banks should be in good working order to bring high values as well.
With that said, the reason they are valuable is that they are not plentiful. And because the prices are so high, reproductions of many of these banks have been made and most are artificially aged to look old. The chance of you having an authentic mechanical bank worth thousands, especially if you found it at a flea market, is slim. Be sure to have yours authenticated and appraised by a professional before trying to sell it.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Butting Buffalo Mechanical Bank
This rare bank was manufactured by Kyser & Rex Company. The auction house described it as an "all original and beautiful example in working order." It is said to display great highlights on tree and base; the condition was assessed as near mint. This bank sold for $21,850 at Morphy Auctions in 2008. Note: The selling price does not include buyer's premium.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Stump Speaker Mechanical Bank
Made by Shepard Hardware Co. and designed by Charles Shepard and Peter Adams, this bank was assessed as near mint by the auction house. The trap is original but from another bank.
The caricature appearance to the face is an example of Black Americana, with the lower jaw being balanced on pivots and easily kept in motion. To use the bank, you place a coin in the hand. Pressing the small knob on top of the box lowers the arm and opens the satchel to receive the deposit, with the lower jaw moving at the same time. This bank sold for $10,000 at Morphy Auctions in 2008. Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Hold The Fort Mechanical Bank
This is a working, all original, seven holes variation of this hard-to-find mechanical fort bank. The item comes from the Edwin Mosler and F.H. Griffith Collections, and the condition was assessed by the auction house to be excellent.
It sold for $11,500 at Morphy Auctions in 2008. Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Organ Grinder & Bear Mechanical Bank
This hard-to-find bank was manufactured by Kyser & Rex. It is a working, all original, and beautiful example with great highlights on the base, according to the auction house description. The original key was included in the sale.
It sold for $14,950 (Morphy Auctions - 12/08). Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Roller Skating Mechanical Bank
Designed by R.M. Hunter, and manufactured by Kyser & Rex, this rare and valuable bank was reported to be in near-mint condition. According to the auction description, this example combines an appealing subject with nice action and significant rarity to make up a quite valuable bank. It operates by placing a coin in the slot on the roof and pressing a lever; the skater glides to the rear of the rink as the coin falls into the bank and the man turns as if to present a wreath to the little girl. An interesting oversight in design is that the fallen skaters have no skates on their feet.
This bank sold for $160,000 (Morphy Auctions - 4/08). Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Confectionery Mechanical Bank
Manufactured by Kyser & Rex, this is a working, all-original example of this mechanical bank. Even with touch-up to the figure and a repaired tray, it was deemed to be in excellent condition by the auction house.
It sold for $14,950 (Morphy Auctions - 12/08). Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Uncle Sam Mechanical Bank
Manufactured by Shepard Hardware Co., this is a beautiful example of a hard-to-find bank. Even with repaint to the stripes, the overall condition is deemed excellent. Be aware that many reproductions of this bank exist, and the rarity of originals drives the high price.
This one sold for $23,000 (Morphy Auctions - 4/08). Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Girl Skipping Rope Mechanical Bank
This bank manufactured by J&E Stevens & Co. is considered to be a beautiful, original working example of this mechanical bank. The girl skips rope 25-35 times when the bank is wound.
It sold for $29,000 (Morphy Auctions - 4/08). Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Lion Hunter Mechanical Bank
This bank was manufactured by J. & E. Stevens Company. It is working and all original, and described as near mint.
It sold for $11.500 (Morphy Auctions - 12/08). Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Magician Mechanical Bank with Original Wooden Box
This hard-to-find bank was designed by Charles A. Bailey and manufactured by J&E Stevens & Co. and comes from the Charley Duff/Bill Bertoia Collection. The condition was reported as near mint. To operate the bank, you place a coin on the table and as the lever is pressed the magician covers it with his hat; when he raises his hat it will be found that the money has disappeared.
It sold for $32,500 (Morphy Auctions - 4/08). Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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Cast Iron Mason Mechanical Bank
This hard-to-find bank was designed by Charles G. Shepard and Peter Adams and made by Shepard Hardware Company. The condition was reported as near mint. The comical hod carrier receives the coin in hod and throws it forward, depositing it into the bank. The Mason raises and lowers his trowel and brick, while the hod is moving forward and back.
This one sold for $32,000 (Morphy Auctions - 4/08). Note: Selling prices do not include the buyer's premium.