“Professor Pug Frog Great Bicycle Feat” Mechanical Bank. American, Circa 1886

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American, Circa 1886 c.

7 1/2"
3 1/2"
11 1/4"
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“Professor Pug Frog Great Bicycle Feat” is the quintessential antique mechanical bank, embodying all of the attributes that collectors want in such a saving’s device. To start out with, it’s stature is highly appealing and it looks outstanding on the shelf. The action is second to none in the opinion of most collectors; it is almost beyond the imagination. It is one of the more ingenious methods of getting a coin to be deposited into a bank. The final element of desirability is it’s rarity; especially to find in all original and unrestored condition, let alone original paint. It is worth mentioning that this particular example with the white on yellow is more rare than the red on yellow variation. For collectors this is a “must have” antique mechanical bank. The bank was made by the J. & E. Stevens Company, Cromwell, Connecticut, circa 1886; possibly designed by, renowned bank creator, Charles Baily. It is made of hand painted cast iron.

To operate:

with the frog locked in place and secured on his platform; wind the crank (just below the frog) two revolutions (clockwise). Place and balance a penny at the base of the bicycle just above the small wheel and lean against the tab provided. DO NOT PLACE IN FROG”S MOUTH; this was a mistake made by children which was disruptive to the action. There is a gold painted lever just below the small wheel of the bicycle; when you are ready, press on that—-the frog will make one (sometimes two) revolutions (rotating forward), depositing the coin into the bank and resting (locking) in place ready to take another coin.The frog rotating causes the book to be thrown into the face of Mother Hubbard making her tongue wobble. It doesn’t always work to perfection and sometimes the frog winds up between revolutions, but it is not worth over-winding to make sure he stops in place. Sometimes the penny is thrown elsewhere before getting into the bank, but usually it will end up inside the coin box. Coins are removed by twisting the coin trap underneath the coin holder at the bottom of the bank.

With all that can go wrong with this bank; considering it’s rough action; potential to over-wind; coin in the wrong spot; large size bank to handle for a young child; it is a miracle that any of these Pug Frog banks survived. This example is certainly in the upper echelon of “Professor Pug Frog” mechanical banks extant. It is from my own collection. It is completely original in every aspect; the figures are intact and in original paint; there are no cracks or repairs; the mechanism is original as is the lever, and Mother Goose has her original tongue which is, more often than not, replaced. The paint is nice and bright with a green and yellow frog; red yellow and blue to Mother Hubbard and the clown; a silver bicycle, a yellow and white base; and some of the red highlights to the embossed raise lettering to the name of the bank on the side facing. Life like flesh tones to the two end figures complete the color scheme. The book in front of Mother Hubbard is in great original white paint with embossing saying “Mother Goose Circus”.

Dimensions: 7 1/2″ high x 3 1/2″ wide¬† x 11 1/4″ long (base plate= 10 1/16″)

This bank has been reproduced so it is necessary to exercise caution when purchasing an example of “Professor Pug Frog”. The base MUST be 10 1/16″ long; no shorter. I am a leading specialist in the field of antique mechanical coin banks, having been buying, selling, and examining these fine objects for more than 40 years. This experience makes me well qualified to analyze, evaluate, and guarantee the authenticity of original examples.

* Note: Please see other mechanical banks I have listed for sale.