19th-Century Chimpanzee Mechanical Bank

Value (2006) | $8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction

GUEST:
It came from my grandmother. It originally came from Hackensack, New Jersey. And then from upstate New York, Saratoga Springs, where it was on the fireplace mantle when I was a little boy. The tooth fairy used to leave money there for me. My parents built a new house in Saratoga; this disappeared. A box of my mother's things came to Philadelphia, 20 years in San Francisco, just came back, and we unpacked it.

APPRAISER:
Well, it's certainly traveled well--

GUEST:
Good.

APPRAISER:
--over the years, and I think it's really interesting that it ended up here at the Philadelphia ROADSHOW, because not only is it a fairly scarce bank, but it was made in Philadelphia.

GUEST:
Oh. That I didn't know.

APPRAISER:
Made by a company called Kyser and Rex, who is not one of the premier makers, but one of the good makers in the 1880s. And it's called the Chimpanzee Bank.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And let's show how it works. We didn't hear the bell. (bell rings) There we go. We hear the bell. (chuckling) Well, value on banks is heavily dependent on condition. And so, when we evaluate a bank, particularly one as rare as this, we have to look at it very carefully. Typical places for breaks are in these fine bits of casting here in these gothic windows. It seems to be all in very fine condition, and the paint is quite nice, which is also very important, with the red and gold around the arch. A little paint loss on this tin insert. A bonus is, it has the original trap, which is often missing. I think on today's market, this bank, if we were to have it at auction, would probably carry an estimate of the $8,000 to $10,000 range.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
So, I'm glad you... glad it found its way back.

GUEST:
Holy crow. Wow. Well, I'm glad my mother... Saved the string. Saved... tied the key on it. Holy crow. I'm absolutely astounded.

APPRAISER:
Great bank. Thank you very much for bringing it in.

GUEST:
Thank you very, very much. Wow. (laughing)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Appraised value (2006)
$8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Event
Philadelphia, PA (August 05, 2006)
Period
19th Century
Form
Bank
Material
Cast Iron

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.