Published: July 30, 2015
Review and Photos by R. Scudder Smith
STATE COLLEGE, PENN. — The joint convention for the Still Bank Collectors Club of America and the Mechanical Bank Collectors Club of America got off to an official start on Thursday, July 16, with a visit to the home of an area collector, a couple of board of director meetings, a preview of the trip to Germany the still bank group is taking in 2016 and an orientation seminar for new members.
Most of the 200-plus people attending arrived at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on Wednesday; however, a number of early birds came a few days ahead of the event to take part in some buying and selling of banks at the hotel. This feature of the convention is very popular, well represented and virtually runs by itself. Those who bring banks to the convention and want to sell or trade them, merely put a bag outside their room door, in the hallway, with large red lettering reading “Banks For Sale” and leave the door to the room open. Members can also sell through an auction run by each of the clubs.
This time a portion of the three days was spent visiting the nearby town of Bellefonte, a region that was the scene of major ironworks during the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries. Seven state governors were born and lived in Bellefonte during the Nineteenth Century, and it was also home to the Old Match Factory, constructed in 1899, that produced wooden matches for the Diamond Company for 50 years. That building complex is now home to the Philatelic Society and open to the public for visits and tours.
The Thomas House, also known as the Wren’s Nest, the oldest house in the valley, built around 1783, was open and shown by a club member, and the interesting architecture of many of the homes in the center of town provided a lively walking tour.
Saturday got off to an early start, with registration for the still bank auction starting at 6:30 am and ending at 9 pm with dinner and a brief meeting. The day was filled with another auction, a visit and picnic at the home of Betty Jo and Don Heim, and cocktails before dinner. The Heims also presented those attending the convention with a reprint of the 1906 J.&E. Stevens Company catalog, a manufacturer of iron banks and toy located in Cromwell, Conn.
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