Cast Iron Standing Bear Dime or Still Bank

This example is a modern reproduction of the original circa 1910 Bear on Hind Legs cast iron coin or penny still bank originally manufactured by an English maker, John Harper. John Harper produced a variety of cast-iron still and mechanical banks and toys from the late 1800's through the 1920's. A modern, round headed screw was inserted into this much later-made reproduction example to hold the two halves of the bank together. Other than the fact the method of joining on an authentic example was done as unobtrusively as possible, flush with the bear's back, the screw seen here is also much too long. The other end of it thus protrudes out the front of the bank, beneath the bear's paws. Authentic antique cast iron banks were never joined with this type of screw, nor in such a visually unappealing fashion.

The bank in this listing is a copy of an early original example, from which the mold was taken. But not much care was taken in the reproduction process, so its maker didn't succeed in copying the original piece very well. See our side-by-side comparison image showing the back of the new bank compared to the back of an original bear bank. Note how the coin slot on the authentic bear bank goes well up on the back of the bear's head, between the ears. This was a useful feature in a time when coins, specifically pennies, were typically larger than they are today. The coin slot on the reproduction is much smaller and so clotted with excess metal its doubtful a coin could be inserted, at all. Only a vague impression of the extra long coin slot that existed on the old bank can be seen on this contemporary copy.

Characteristics to watch for which help to identify modern copies are rough surfaces, lack of detail, poor quality casting, new orange colored rust, bad joining at the seams and grinding marks made with modern power tools.

Measures 6 inches tall.

Item ID: 2007RP000236

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies


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