Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS


Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    "Jonah and the Whale" Mechanical Bank, ca. 1890

    Appraised Value:

    $6,000 - $8,000

    Appraised on: August 7, 2010

    Appraised in: Des Moines, Iowa

    Appraised by: Noel Barrett

    Category: Toys & Games

    Episode Info: Des Moines, Hour 2 (#1508)

    Originally Aired: February 21, 2011

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Bank
    Material: Cast Iron
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $6,000 - $8,000

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW


    Appraisal Video: (1:56)


    Appraised By:

    Noel Barrett
    Toys & Games
    Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: I purchased this from my aunt's estate about six months ago. I paid $4,500 for it. It came from the family, it's a family item, and it is rather unique, and I like unique items like this.

    APPRAISER: Well, it's a mechanical bank. They were primarily popular in the late 19th century in America. They were popular because they promoted thrift, which was a very great Victorian value of the day. This particular bank was popular because it promoted another aspect of what they wanted to teach, namely the Bible.

    GUEST: Correct.

    APPRAISER: They're made of cast iron. It's really a unique American art form, frankly. We were the only country in the world that made a lot of toys out of cast iron, and the mechanical banks are the best examples of the work, because they were incredibly intricate, incredibly complex mechanically. I just wanted to demonstrate how it works.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: You put the penny there. And the lever's over here.

    GUEST: The lever's over here. And it goes in.

    APPRAISER: And there goes the whale. It was made by Shepard Hardware. $4,500 is generally a little high for a "Jonah and the Whale" bank.

    GUEST: It was a lot of money, yes.

    APPRAISER: The average examples of these generally run $1,000 to $1,500, sometimes as much as $2,000. Are you concerned at all that you overpaid?

    GUEST: No, because, as I say, my aunt is family.

    APPRAISER: It's an emotional thing.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: This is above average condition. It does have remarkable paint retention all along here. It is really an exceptional example. I think at auction, a conservative estimate on this bank would be in the $6,000 to $8,000 range.

    GUEST: Well, thank you very much. That's nice news.

    APPRAISER: So, let's do it one more time.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: I love the way the jaw just is...

    GUEST: Floats up and down, yes.

    APPRAISER: Perfectly balanced there.

    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 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.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube