J & E Stevens Co. Frog Bank, ca. 1875
Appraised Value: $800 - $1,200 (1998)
$800 - $1,200 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:12)
Collectibles, Sports Memorabilia
Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
GUEST: I was setting rat traps in a house that I used to live in in Norwalk.
APPRAISER: Rat traps?
GUEST: Rat traps. We had a bad rat problem. I must have been about 13, 14 years old. And while setting the rat traps I had to get into, like, a small crawl space. And I was digging around with my flashlight, trying to get a good spot to put the trap down. And crawling back out, and I looked up, and it just... an odd shape caught my eye. And I didn't really want to put my hand in, because there's spider webs and all kinds of stuff. But I pulled it out, and it was this bank. So I don't know exactly who the owner was, but I took it as my fee for setting the rat traps.
APPRAISER: So you've had this bank for over 20 years, then.
APPRAISER: Wow, well, let me tell you a little bit about the bank. This is one of the first banks ever made by J&E Stevens out of Cromwell, Connecticut. J&E Stevens is probably one of the best-known bank makers for mechanical banks.
GUEST: It's actually from Connecticut? Oh, that is too cool.
APPRAISER: And they started making banks for themselves in 1872. This is one of their earliest. This has a patent date of just about that, 1872, 1873. And you'll start finding it in jobber catalogs in 1877 and 1880.
APPRAISER: And it's called-- and I know this is shocking-- Frog on Latticework Bank. And what's great about this... this is not a rare bank. They made a number of these. What's unusual about it-- A, it's got this wonderful pink latticework. Most of the time the latticework is in different colors. And I'm sure you know how this works. You press his foot.
APPRAISER: You feed it, and ribbit, there it goes.
GUEST: I like the fact the eyes move, also.
APPRAISER: Exactly. Originally he had brighter eyes. And this paint up here was brighter. If you clean this, I think a lot of this paint would come out.
GUEST: I didn't want to touch it. I never did anything with it. I had it in an old wool watch cap.
APPRAISER: Really? Well, the fact that mechanical banks are so collectible today, even though there are a lot of them out there, with this paint level it's worth between $800 and $1,200.
GUEST: Oh, my God.
APPRAISER: So this frog truly is a prince.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.