A number of numismatists have a crossover interest in old-fashioned mechanical banks. A recent auction in Denver, PA featured a wide array of rare banks.
Several major collections anchored the three-day sale, which realized $2.76 million, inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium. The Al Winick collection of 100 fine mechanical banks was described by Morphy as “the best mechanical bank collection to come to auction since the world-record Steckbeck sale of 2007.” More than 100 bidders turned out to bid in person during the bank portion of the event.
The Winick banks certainly lived up to Morphy’s assessment, with a rare blue variant of Kyser & Rex’s circa-1886 “Mikado” mechanical bank claiming top-lot honors at $198,000. A beautiful example in near-mint condition, the cast-iron depiction of a magician performing a sleight-of-hand shell game trick had been estimated at $100,000-$150,000.
With crossover appeal to black Americana collectors, an 1880 “Freedman’s Bank” was in enviable near-mint condition and came with provenance from both the Tudor and Steckbeck collections. It cashed out at $138,000, comfortably within its $125,000-$150,000 estimate range.
Other Kyser & Rex cast-iron mechanical banks that finished in the top 10 included a Merry-Go-Round, ex Steckbeck collection, $126,000; and Roller Skating bank depicting an old-fashioned skating rink with skaters, $84,000. Also finishing well in the money were two desirable productions by J. & E. Stevens: a football-theme Calamity bank in superb condition, $38,400; and an 1880 Chimpanzee bank, $37,200.
To read the complete article, see:
Mechanical banks of fine pedigree dominate Morphy's $2.76M auction of toys, dolls, sports memorabilia
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