Banks: a cast iron investment?

14 September 2016
RSL-8-76146.JPG This is the finest known example of The National Bank. It is estimated at over $50,000.
Banks: a cast iron investment?
Banks: a cast iron investment? Images

Arguably more of an American predilection, money boxes, especially of antiquity and interesting appearance, continue to exert a fascination amongst the collecting public. 14-15 October will see RSL Auction sell off the massed banks of three well-known collectors in New Jersey, America. With 1,000 lots, between them account for some 110 years of collecting,  anticipation will be running high amongst those eager to get their hands on some real collectables of high provenance. There is already interest in a pair of fretwork Rocking Chair banks, with the standard version of the bank is estimated at $2,000-3,000; but a previously unknown larger variation, which is believed to be the only one of its kind in existence, could reach $4,000-6,000.

The Saturday session opens with a large, one-of-a-kind Saddle Horse on Wheeled Base. This rare equine beauty was made by the revered Connecticut firm Ives, Blakeslee & Co. The bank has survived the test of time in pristine condition and is expected to make $25,000-35,000.

Also up for grabs is a beautiful, polychrome-painted Ives Santa bank with removable Christmas tree. The perennial gift-giver clutches a variety of toys and boasts exquisite paint detail and highlights. This jovial character enters the auction with a $12,000-18,000 guideline. There is a rare Boston State House bank on offer too, and although  small in size, it is very desirable to collectors. A pristine example of this wonderful bank, with provenance from the Tom Kellogg collection, it is estimated at $14,000-18,000. Spelter banks, which have captured collectors’ attention in recent years, continue to increase in value. Of the grouping offered in RSL’s sale, a notable example is the rotund standing Prussian Officer, who is estimated at $4,000-6,000. Wannabee film directors will appreciate the elusive Camera semi-mechanical bank that depicts an old-fashioned model on a tripod: this could snap up a winning bid of $9,000-12,000.

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Finally, for those who desire authenticity rather than fantasy, attention should be drawn to The National Bank. Painted white with blue and red trim, and with a bank teller visible through a front window, this coveted building could well pay a dividend on an initial investment to the tune of $50,000-70,000.