J. & E. Stevens & Co. "Darktown Battery" Mechanical Bank, ca. 1890
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000 (1997)
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:08)
Collectibles, Sports Memorabilia
Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
GUEST: Well, it belonged, I believe, to my grandfather and then to... my daddy handed it to me. I'm going to give it to my son, and he, in turn, will give it to his son, all named Joe, by the way.
APPRAISER: Well, let me tell you a little bit about the bank. First of all, it's called the Darktown Battery, as you can see, for obvious reasons, because the players here are black. You have a pitcher and a catcher. The bank was originally made by a company named J&E Stevens. They are out of Cromwell, Connecticut. And this was made probably from the late 1880s up through the early 1900s. There are several very interesting things about this particular bank. One is that it's very sought-after by a lot of collectors. They love to collect anything that has to do with sports. The second thing that's very interesting about this bank is that it's black-related. You had a lot of things that were produced with black images in the late 1800s. The third thing that's very interesting about this bank is the paint. I mean, this paint is magnificent. Look at the reds and the greens. This was never played with very much. One big thing about this bank is that the bat is often replaced. This bat is not replaced. The only flaw in the bank is that if you put a penny here, you push it back, it's supposed to press down, but it won't work. But with the collector market, that's not as important as the fact that all these pieces are original, intact, and the paint is just brilliant. Joe, let me ask you. What do you think this bank is worth?
GUEST: My aunt said she thought it would be over $100.
APPRAISER: Over $100?
GUEST: A little over $100, yeah.
APPRAISER: Well... Not quite right, because this bank, the paint is almost 100% flawless. It is the best Darktown Battery I've ever seen. $15,000 to $20,000.
APPRAISER: Your great-grandfather hit one out of the park.
GUEST: How about that? Wow!
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