Shepard Hardware Mechanical Banks

Value (2007) | $3,800 Auction$5,000 Auction
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GUEST:
They were my grandfather's, and then they passed to my father, and now they belong to me.

APPRAISER:
Well, both banks were made by the same manufacturer.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Made by the Shepard Hardware Company in Buffalo, New York.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And it was the rage in the late 19th century to start creating these mechanical banks, these penny-saving devices.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And we have two really nice examples. An interesting thing about all Shepard banks is that they didn't use a primer before they put on their finish coat. So it's very difficult to find a lot of Shepard banks in good condition. And, as you can see here, with the trick pony, you can see a lot of losses of paint, and that's quite typical of Shepard. This is what I would consider slightly above-average condition, not the best condition.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
I've also loaded it with a penny so we can see the action, so we'll do that right now. And he drops the penny in. There it goes; yeah. And you can have that penny.

GUEST:
Thank you. (laughs)

APPRAISER:
And this bank was designed by Charles Shepard and Peter Adams in about 1885. And it was in production for many years, up to around 1900. So a nice trick pony like this, the value is $800 to about a thousand dollars.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
But now I want to talk about this Shepard bank.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Now, this Shepard bank has an iconic image: Santa Claus.

GUEST:
Absolutely, yeah.

APPRAISER:
And it has a wonderful, wonderful action to him. He's dropping the penny in the chimney. We'll go ahead and show you that now. So that's how that one works. A very simple mechanism. It's all cast iron, and it just has a wonderful folk art, sculptural quality to it. This was also designed by Charles Shepard and Peter Adams, in about 1889. Now, it's so important, with all mechanical banks, and especially Shepard, that they have a lot of paint. And that's how we grade and figure out what a good mechanical bank is worth. It is... what I would term as excellent. It's not near-mint, but it is a really nice example. So, value-wise, you have any idea? Have you ever had the banks looked at?

GUEST:
No clue-- I know my dad just coveted them and took care of 'em and was very careful with them, and that's all that I know.

APPRAISER:
Considering the condition of this bank, I would say an auction estimate would be $3,000 to $4,000.

GUEST:
Wow! Really?

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
Oh, God, he would be so pleased.

APPRAISER:
Oh, that's wonderful.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Village Doll Shop
Adamstown, Pennsylvania
Morphy Auctions
Appraised value (2007)
$3,800 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Spokane, WA (August 04, 2007)
Period
19th Century
Form
Animal, Bank
Material
Cast Iron

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