19th-Century Chimpanzee Mechanical Bank

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

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.

Well, it's certainly traveled well--


--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.

Oh. That I didn't know.

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.


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.

Oh, my God.

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

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

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

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

Appraisal Details

Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Appraised value (2006)
$8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Philadelphia, PA (August 05, 2006)
Cast Iron

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