November 13, 2013 10:00 EST

American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts

 
Lot 285
 

285

An extremely rare painted cast iron and lead mechanical "Coasting Bank"
design attributed to charles a. bailey (1848-1926) for j. & e. stevens co., cromwell

The painted lead figure of a baby with outstretched arms sits atop a sled, his legs straddling the coin slot; the sled plummets down a steep, cast steel, gold-painted track, held aloft by two poles stemming from the red-painted, rectangular base with openwork, geometric design flanking the cast iron title "Coasting.Bank"; the coin is deposited in a triangular cast lead receptacle, painted green with gold floral scrollwork.

H: 5 3/4 in. L: 9 1/2 in. W: 2 1/2 in.

Provenance: Found in Peebles, Scotland.
Descended in the family to the present owner.

Sold for $266,500
Estimated at $30,000 - $50,000


 

The painted lead figure of a baby with outstretched arms sits atop a sled, his legs straddling the coin slot; the sled plummets down a steep, cast steel, gold-painted track, held aloft by two poles stemming from the red-painted, rectangular base with openwork, geometric design flanking the cast iron title "Coasting.Bank"; the coin is deposited in a triangular cast lead receptacle, painted green with gold floral scrollwork.

H: 5 3/4 in. L: 9 1/2 in. W: 2 1/2 in.

Provenance: Found in Peebles, Scotland.
Descended in the family to the present owner.

The "Black Tulip" of mechanical banks, the Coasting Bank had heretofore existed only in an 1884 illustrated catalogue. To the extent of our knowledge, this is the only known example of the Coasting Bank and consequently, is the first of its kind to be offered at auction.

In his article "Coasting Bank," Hobbies Magazine, April 1955, F.H. Griffith chronicles William J. Stackhouse's discovery of an illustration and description of the Coasting Bank on page 426 of Ehrick’s Fashion Quarterly, Volume X, No. 4, Winter 1884 (see figs. 1 & 2). According to Griffith, "this bank is not known to be in any collection and the catalog offers us our first information about it."

Although there is no patent information available for the Coasting Bank, certain strikingly conspicuous features warrant an attribution to the illustrious bank designer Charles A. Bailey. Bailey worked for J. & E. Stevens Company from the 1880s to about 1915 when he established himself as an independent designer and manufacturer. He is responsible for many great mechanical banks, including the rare Bismark Pig Bank and the Germania Exchange Bank, both featured alongside the Coasting Bank in the aforementioned advertisement. Bailey had a known penchant for utilizing lead or white metal; the Coasting Bank's cast lead figure, therefore, serves to reaffirm the attribution. Given their similarities in general action and overall design--especially with regards to the cast floral scroll work present on both triangular coin receptacles--, this bank might have served as the predecessor to the "Shoot the Chute" mechanical bank designed by Charles A. Bailey for J. & E. Stevens Co. in 1906.

Images *

Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.