Auction of the Week: Morphy Auctions Toy, Doll & Figural Cast Iron sale March 13-14, 2019
This week's featured sale is Morphy Auctions' Toy, Doll & Figural Cast Iron sale, which takes place in Denver, Pennsylvania on March 13-14. The sale features a treasure trove of antique toys, and in particular a superb selection of cast iron mechanical banks. Here are 10 of our favourites...
J. & E. Stevens William Tell Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
A William Tell bank, designed by Russell Frisbie and manufactured by J & E. Stevens in Cromwell, Connecticut, for several years, starting in 1896.
The bank depicts the story of William Tell, the 14th century Swiss folk hero and expert marksman who once shot an apple from the top of his son's head.
When a coin is placed in Tell's crossbow and the mechanism activated, it fires into the castle above his son's head and rings a bell. The William Tell bank was one of the most popular ever produced by J & E. Stevens.
Shepard Hardware Jonah & the Whale Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $4,000 - $8,000
A Jonah & the Whale bank, designed by Peter Adams, Jr. and produced by the Shepard Hardware Company of Buffalo, New York circa 1890.
This early bank depicts the famous biblical story of Jonah, who is thrown overboard during a storm and swallowed by a giant fish.
When the mechanism is activated, the figure of Jonah is tossed forward and deposits a coin into the whale's opening mouth.
J. & E. Stevens Speaking Dog Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
A Speaking Dog mechanical bank made by the Shepard Hardware Company, circa 1885.
When the lever is pulled, the girl deposits a coin into the bank and the dog opens its mouth and wags its tail. This bank was one of the few models marketed directly at girls, and proved so popular that when J. & E. Stevens took over the company in 1892, it continued to produce its own version for several years.
J. & E. Stevens Teddy & The Bear Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $5,000 - $8,000
A Teddy & The Bear bank, made by J. & E. Stevens circa 1907.
This bank depicts the famous incident in which President Roosevelt refused to shoot a baby bear during a hunting trip in Mississippi in 1902.
The moment was immortalized by newspaper cartoonists across the country, and led to the invention of the Teddy Bear.
When a coin is placed in Roosevelt's rifle and the trigger is pulled, the coin fires into the slot in the tree and a startled bear pops its head out of the top.
J. & E. Stevens Boy Scout Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
A 'Boy Scout' bank designed by Charles A. Bailey for J. & E. Stevens, circa 1912 – 1917.
This rare mechanical bank was designed to commemorate the founding of The Boy Scouts of America in 1910, and features a scout raising a flag as each coin is deposited.
J. & E. Stevens Magician Cast Iron Mechanical Bank with Original Box
Estimate: $25,000 - $50,000
A 'Magician' bank designed by Charles A. Bailey for J. & E. Stevens, circa 1901.
When a coin is placed on the magician's table and the lever is pulled, the magician lowers his hat and the coin slides down a hidden chute, in a variation of the classic vanishing trick.
One of the hobby's best-known examples of this popular mechanical bank.
Shepard Hardware Picture Gallery Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000
This rare 'Picture gallery' bank, made by Shepard Hardware circa 1885, was designed to help children learn numbers, the alphabet and spelling.
A coin is placed in the hand of the figure, and deposited when the lever is pulled. A second lever then rotates the wheel, and displays a letter of the alphabet and its corresponding number, along with a small image of an object that begins with that letter.
J. & E. Stevens Calamity Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
A cast iron 'Calamity' bank produced by J. & E. Stevens, circa 1905.
The mechanism of the college football-themed bank depicts two Yale players tackling a running fullback from Harvard.
Kyser & Rex Merry-Go-Round Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $50,000 - $80,000
A rare Merry-Go-Round bank produced by Kyser & Rex of Frankfort, Pennsylvania circa 1885.
When activated with the handle, the merry-go-round revolves, bells chime, and the attendant raises the stick, which gathers in coins deposited on the stand.
J. & E. Stevens Girl Skipping Rope Cast Iron Mechanical Bank
Estimate: $60,000 - $90,000
A Girl Skipping Rope bank produced by J. & E. Stevens, circa 1890.
When wound, the skipping rope rotates as the girl jumps up and down, turning her head and kicking her legs as she goes.
This highly rare bank was designed by James H. Bowen, and was produced in low numbers due to the complicated nature of the mechanism and the fact that many small parts would crack during production.
Today is regarded by many collectors as one of the hobby's 'Holy Grails', with approximately 30 examples known to exist.
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