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.
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