Antique toy banks can be collected at different price levels including very high price levels. Perhaps it is the connection with money that has made bank collecting a hobby that has appealed to many who were involved in the business of money.
The legendary bank collector Ed Mosler (1918-1982) ran the Mosler Safe Company which was founded by Gustave Mosler in 1867. Ed tried to collect every type of mechanical bank ever made, old and new.
Covert and Gertrude Hegarty were a major toy and bank collecting husband and wife team. Covert (1902-1968) was president of the First National Bank of Coalport, served on the board of directors of the County National Bank at Clearfield, and was involved in a number of other businesses in the Coalport area. Gertrude (1903-2003) and Covert were avid collectors beginning in the 1940s.
Collector Mary Roebling (1905-1994) was the first woman in the United States to be president of a major commercial bank, the Trenton Trust Company. Roebling had a cast iron mechanical bank made that depicted the Trenton Trust with her sitting in front of it.
Many mechanical bank collectors have come from the ranks of company owners and entrepreneurs. Profits from the sale of interior cardboard cylinders of toilet paper rolls paid for the toy and bank collecting habit of Leon Perelman who founded the Perelman Toy Museum in Philadelphia where he displayed his collection.
All of these oldtime collectors competed with each other to get the best and the most rare banks for their collections.
Consequently, with that kind of history in the hobby, bank collectors are used to stiff competition from other collectors when they want to add particularly beautiful and/or rare banks to their collections.
A funny thing about toy banks- they were made to encourage the saving of money by children. Then collecting them became a way for much bigger kids to spend money! And that spending of money can end up making money in some cases but can also lose money in others. If the bank is not what the collector thought it was, then they may well lose money. Possibly a lot of money. But losing money due to a lack of knowledge is unnecessary.
If you are interested in collecting antique banks and toys, one of the first things that you need to do is educate yourself about them. There is nothing wrong with buying or collecting a restored bank or a reproduction or a second casting as long as you know what it is that you are buying. No one likes unpleasant surprises when they learn that their "bargain" purchase was not a bargain at all!
Here are 15 tips on what to look for when collecting cast iron antique banks: