Mechanical Banks Identification and Value Guide

  • 01 of 11

    Cast Iron Butting Buffalo Mechanical Bank

    Cast Iron Butting Buffalo Mechanical Bank. - Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    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...MORE 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 because 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, are slim. Be sure to have yours authenticated and appraised by a professional before trying to sell it.

    All the banks featured in this price guide brought in $10,000 or more at various Morphy Auctions.

    About the Bank Shown Above: 

    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 displays great highlights on tree and base. Condition was assessed as near mint. This bank sold for  $21,850 at Morphy Auctions in 2008. Note: Selling price does not include buyer's premium.

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  • 02 of 11

    Cast Iron Stump Speaker Mechanical Bank

    Patented 11/16/1886 Stump Speaker Mechanical Bank. Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    Made by Shepard Hardware Co., designed by Charles Shepard and Peter Adams. The trap is original but from another bank. Condition on this bank was assess as near mint by the auction house.

    Caricature appearance to the face, an example of Black Americana, with the lower jaw being balanced on pivots and easily kept in motion. Coin is placed 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....MORE This bank sold for $10,000 at Morphy Auctions in 2008. Note: Selling prices do not include buyer's premium.

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  • 03 of 11

    Cast Iron Hold The Fort Mechanical Bank

    Cast Iron Hold The Fort Mechanical Bank. - Photo Courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    This is a working, all original seven holes variation of this hard to find mechanical fort bank. Provenance: Edwin Mosler and F.H. Griffith Collections. 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 buyer's premium.

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  • 04 of 11

    Cast Iron Organ Grinder & Bear Mechanical Bank

    Cast Iron Organ Grinder & Bear Mechanical Bank. - Photo Courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    This hard to find bank was manufactured by Kyser & Rex. It is a working, all original and beautiful example with great highlights on base, according to the auction house description. Original key was included with the sale.

    It sold for $14,950 (Morphy Auctions - 12/08). Note: Selling prices do not include buyer's premium.

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  • 05 of 11

    Cast Iron Roller Skating Mechanical Bank

    Ca. 1880s Cast Iron Roller Skating Mechanical Bank. - Photo Courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    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. 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...MORE 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 buyer's premium.

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  • 06 of 11

    Cast Iron Confectionery Mechanical Bank

    Cast Iron Confectionary Mechanical Bank. - Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    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 buyer's premium.

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  • 07 of 11

    Cast Iron Uncle Sam Mechanical Bank

    Cast Iron Uncle Sam Mechanical Bank
    Cast Iron Uncle Sam Mechanical Bank. - Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    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 buyer's premium.

     

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  • 08 of 11

    Cast Iron Girl Skipping Rope Mechanical Bank

    Cast Iron Girl Skipping Rope Mechanical Bank. - Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    This bank manufactured by J&E Stevens & Co. is considered to be a beautiful, original working example of this mechanical bank. Girl skips rope 25 - 35 times when wound.

    It sold for $29,000 (Morphy Auctions - 4/08). Note: Selling prices do not include buyer's premium.

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  • 09 of 11

    Cast Iron Lion Hunter Mechanical Bank

    Cast Iron Lion Hunter Mechanical Bank. - Photo Courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    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 buyer's premium.

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  • 10 of 11

    Cast Iron Magician Mechanical Bank with Original Wooden Box

    Patented 9/17/1901 Magician Mechanical Bank. - Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    This hard to find bank was designed by Charles A. Bailey and manufactured by J&E Stevens & Co. Condition was reported as near mint. Provenance: Charley Duff/Bill Bertoia Collection.

    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 buyer's premium.

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  • 11 of 11

    Cast Iron Mason Mechanical Bank

    Patented 2/8/1887 Cast Iron Mason Mechanical Bank. - Photo courtesy of Morphy Auctions

    This hard to find bank was designed by Charles G. Shepard and Peter Adams, and made by Shepard Hardware Company. 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 trowel, also a 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 buyer's premium.