Published: March 9, 2021
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Morphy Auctions
DENVER, PENN. – At 184 lots, the mechanical bank collection of Bob & Judy Brady went white glove and brought more than $2 million at Morphy Auctions on February 27.
“It’s what I’ve collected for over 40 years,” Brady told us over the phone. The collector/dealer has been extremely active in the trade, serving as president at different times with the Mechanical Bank Collectors of America club and the Still Bank Collectors Club of America.
Brady remembered the earliest banks he ever bought. “When I came to Pennsylvania from Chicago in 1972, I was a typical 30-year-old with a degree,” he said. “Right before the holidays I was at a local auction with a friend – I had started out collecting sleigh bells – and I purchased three Book of Knowledge mechanical banks and gave them to my sister’s kids for Christmas presents. I really liked them because my undergraduate degree was mechanical engineering. We also grew up poor, and the banks implied thrift.”
Before long, Brady was buying more. “I have always been driven towards buying as good a condition as you can afford. Over the years I got pretty high up on the scale of bank collecting, plus I had a pretty good education by being involved. I would regularly go to Renningers Antique Market in Adamstown and Shupps Grove. Every once in a while, a gem would show up. By doing that, I got to meet the who’s who of the collecting world, like Russ Harrington, Tom Sage Sr, etc. We became friends.”
Brady had two prior single owner sales at Morphy to date, releasing at various times parts of his esteemed collection to fund personal matters, like education trusts for his grandchildren. He does not anticipate an end to dealing. “I’ll continue to do this until I drop,” he said.
Many of the banks in the collection were among the finest known examples in impeccable paint and with mechanical bank collector all-star provenance.
Leading the sale was a Shoot The Chute mechanical bank by J&E Stevens that brought a healthy $159,900. It came with its original box, a painted figure, an unpainted figure and the pattern used to make the cart and figures. With provenance to Don Markey, the auction house called it one of the finest examples known.
At $81,000 was a Mikado mechanical bank in the blue base variation, produced by Kyser & Rex. It was in near mint condition and sold on 13 bids. Also in near mint was a Girl Skipping Rope by J&E Stevens, which went out at $73,800.
At near mint plus condition was a Chimpanzee mechanical bank by Kyser & Rex that brought $63,000. The chimpanzee stands over a logbook and deposits the coin into the bank as a bell is rung. The firm called it one of the top examples known with provenance to Steckbeck.
Only four or five Motor Bank trolley mechanicals are known by Kyser & Rex, and an example in excellent plus condition sold for $31,200.
Bronze working patterns proved desirable as a Clown, Harlequin and Columbine brought $24,000 and a Calamity Bank took $22,800.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, www.morphyauctions.com or 877-968-8880.
August 9, 2022
August 9, 2022
August 9, 2022
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