J & E Stevens Co. Frog Bank, ca. 1875

Value (2012) | $800$1,200
Watch  

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.

GUEST:
Yes.

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.

GUEST:
Wow.

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.

GUEST:
Ribbit.

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.

GUEST:
Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
Washington, DC
Update (2012)
$800$1,200
Appraised value (1998)
$800$1,200
Event
Hartford, CT (August 22, 1998)
Period
19th Century
Form
Bank

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