This American cast iron bank is regarded as the first patented mechanical bank; having a December 21, 1869 patent date. It was designed by John Hall, Watertown, Massachusetts, thus the name “Hall’s Excelsior.”
J. & E. Steven’s Co. of Cromwell, Connecticut was the manufacturer. The bank was made for a number of years because of its widespread popularity. It came in many different color combinations, and some people try to obtain several different variations. This particular hand painted red variation is one of the more difficult variations to acquire.
To operate: pull the glass pull chain next to the front door; the top of the cupola will pop up exposing the monkey who revolves his head while rising;
place a penny on the platform in front of the monkey;
the weight of the coin typically causes the top and monkey figure to fall back into the bank with a deposit having been made.
Coins are removed by undoing the screw at the top of the bank which goes through to the bottom. It would have been very difficult for a child to put the bank back together, probably requiring adult assistance.
The condition of the bank is excellent with all original paint and original condition. The monkey is made of wood and is in its original paint, however his arms are lacking. They almost are always lacking and only a few with original arms are extant.
I am a leading specialist in the field of antique mechanical coin banks, having been buying, selling, and examining these fine objects for 40 years. This experience makes me well qualified to analyze, evaluate, and guarantee the authenticity of original examples.
Dimensions: 5 1/4″ high x 3 3/8″ wide (base) x 3 3/4″ deep.
Provenance: Clive Devenish Collection.
Note: Short one minute video showing operation of the bank is available as an
attachment via email upon request.