Published: October 25, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy RSL Auctions
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — “We had some wonderful still banks from noted collections and the sale worked out just as we had hoped. It was excellent and Saturday proved to be a happy day for many collectors who were able to add some pristine banks to their collections,” Leon Weiss, the “L” in RSL Auctions, said a couple of days following the sale. The two-day auction totaled $1,284,000, including the buyer’s premium, with $137,000 on Friday and $1,147,000 on Saturday.
The auction kicked off on October 14 with 429 lots of still and mechanical banks, ceramic banks, cast iron toys and celluloid pocket banks. Doug Rait, an auctioneer from Kansas, called the sale, with lot 1, a Home bank and a Roof bank by J&E Stevens that brought $96, and finishing toward the end of the day with a mechanical standing bear with slot in chest, Kenton Hardware, that went for $270.
A Hanging Stork bank, England, circa 1910, sold for $840, followed shortly by a German Ornamental Chest, cast iron and in excellent condition, $360, and a New Bank, without legs, circa 1872, from the collection of Tom Kellogg, realized $2,040. An English Golliwog in very fine condition brought $570, a Hippo that had been repainted many years ago sold for $1,440, a Santa with Tree made it to $480, and a Transvaal Money Box, circa 1895, England, pristine condition, went for $1,020.
Pigs took up a page in the catalog, ten different ones to be sold in six lots. Most of them carried some sort of advertising, such as lot 242, a large example with turned up tail reading “Novelty Stock Waterer” on one side. It was 6½ inches long and in fine condition. It went for $840, followed by two pigs, one seated with “Murphy’s Rotary Pig” on its side and the other speaking for “Laconia Malleable Iron.” The pair brought $540.
Among the last few still banks on the first day were a Yellow Cab with cast iron wheels, Arcade Mfg Co., circa 1921, for $600 and a battleship Maine by J&E Stevens, very fine condition, at $1,920.
Among the cast iron toys, a Popeye “Spinach” Motorcycle by Hubley, circa 1935, sold for $480, and an Andy Gump 348 Car by Arcade went for $570. An All Iron Phaeton, 1895 by Hubley, very fine condition, brought $960 while a two-horse Dray by Arcade, circa 1925, went over estimate, bringing $300.
Richard “Rick” Opfer of Timonium, Md., got Saturday, the second day, off to a flying start with lot 500, the Saddle Horse on Wheeler Platform, that sold for $40,800 and went down in the record book as the second highest price paid at auction for a still bank. This bank was probably by Ives, Blakeslee Company of Bridgeport, Conn., circa 1890s. It was in pristine condition and listed Edwin Mosler and Tom Steckbeck in the provenance.
The Santa with Removable Wire Tree followed the horse (see photo) and a few lots later a near mint Andy Gump by Arcade, circa 1920, brought $2,040. Santa with Pack, Arcade, circa 1932, pristine condition and from the Bob McCumber and Ralph Dye Collections, sold for $13,200, over the $10,500 high estimate. The third Santa in the sale was Santa with Tree by Hubley, another pristine example, that sold for $960, just within estimate.
Selling for $4,200, just shy of the high estimate, was Barrel with Arms, multicolor, J&E Stevens, dating circa 1890. The catalog mentions that “only 4 or 5 multicolor examples are known to exist” and the provenance lists Rich Garthoeffner Collection.
Cats always seem to be popular and a spelter Cat with Bandaged Eye, German, circa 1925, 4¾ inches high, Mike Henry provenance, brought $1,560, while Snowflake, a small round black baby, spelter, German and in excellent condition, brought $2,880.
Pigs again took a page to show eight examples, six with advertising, including “Invest In Pork” from the Ralph Dye Collection, $1,020, and a Bismark Pig, spreading the word for “Compliments of Economy Foundry & Machine Co., Syracuse, N.Y.”, went over estimate, selling for $900.
The Alphabet Block, probably by A.C. Williams, circa 1895, took $3,240, as did the Padlock on circular base, American, circa 1890, 7¼ inches high; Chantecler, probably by A.C. Williams, Ravenna, Ohio, went for $3,240, within estimate. Four examples of Mulligan the Cop, each with advertising on the back, ranged from $330 to $780, with “Kennedy Clothing House” coming out on top.
Lot 762, the Yellow Cab painted yellow and blue, Dent Hardware, mint and bright, went for $1,800, chased by a Checker cab, painted green and black, the rarest color combination for an Arcade cab, that also sold within estimate for $2,280. A John Deere Hay Loader, Vindex Toy Co., circa 1930, went over estimate to bring $1,680.
A Nodders Wagon by Kenton Hardware, Ohio, 15 inches long, with the correct figures in the carriage, went within estimate for $4,200; Horseless Phaeton, Wilkins Hardware, Keene, N.H., cast iron and sheet tin, went over estimate at $1,080; and Three Bicyclists by Ideal Mfg. Co., circa 1890, sold for $2,160 with only three to four examples known.
Boy on Trapeze by J. Barton Smith Company, Philadelphia, circa 1890, pristine, went within estimate for $5,400; the Yellow Magic Bank by J&E Stevens, “one of the finest examples we have ever seen,” Donal Markey Collection, went for $6,000, the low estimate, while Hall’s Excelsior Bank in red and gray, near mint plus condition, also by Stevens, brought just over the high estimate at $6,600.
Lot 920, the Bugatti Boat Tail Racer, Spanish, circa 1920, 19 inches long, tin in excellent plus condition, went over the $4,000 high estimate, selling for $6,000, and a Juno floor train by James Fallows, Philadelphia, circa 1880s, painted tin in pristine condition, exceeded estimate at $2,160; $24,000 was paid for Old Woman with Boy Hooking Behind, Ives, Blakeslee Company, circa 1880, in excellent plus condition.
The Overhead Swinging Golfer doorstop by Hubley, circa 1930, was within estimate at $840, and among the folk art lots was a Star Lines lake boat model in case, circa 1910, of wood, glass and gesso in pristine condition. It sold just over the high estimate at $2,280.
A Donal Markey and Tom Steckbeck provenance helped a nickel-plated State Bank, a superior example by Kenton hardware, go more than double the high estimate, realizing $1,800, and again the surface on a medium Cupola Bank, red, green and yellow, helped it surpass the estimate and go for $1,320. A large version of the Statue of Liberty, lime green and gold, one of the finest and brightest known specimens of this bank, Kenton hardware, circa 1915, went $1,000 over the high estimate, attaining $6,600.
Toward the very end of the auction “Old Quebec,” a small cottage/house type building in the original colors, unknown maker, Canadian, dated July 1908, went within estimate for $9,600. According to the catalog, there are only three or four known examples, perhaps this one is the best. Bill Bertoia is listed in the provenance. The sale of the three sizes of the House with Bay Window (see photos) followed. Bringing up the rear was the Home Bank, multicolored, near mint plus condition, H.I. Judd Co., Connecticut, circa 1895, for $7,800, just over the high estimate. According to the catalog, “This is perhaps the most colorful and best condition example known and it is from the Donal Markey Collection.”
The last page of the catalog was used to announce another RSL sale, a major auction featuring the Jim Rocheleau Collection of still and mechanical banks for March 18. Since the printing of the catalog the auction has been extended for one more day, Sunday March 19. For more information, 908-823-4049 or www.rslauctionco.com.
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