Patented 1871 Cast Iron Mechanical Horse Race Bank

This example is a crude reproduction of a mechanical cast iron bank originally manufactured by the J. & E. Stevens Company in the late 19th century. If you know where to look and take the time to look closely modern copies can often be identified as to country of manufacture. In the case of this example, a faint 'Taiwan' is visible on the base under the 'original paint.' Disreputable sellers almost invariably will fail to mention permanent modern identifying marks like 'Taiwan' or 'Made in China' and often will go out of their way to make such marks hard for potential buyers to see when showing the base or other areas of an item where they appear. And even if they bought it brand new from a modern maker last week as a 'nostalgic decorative item,' some may also try to represent their example to you as at least 'vintage' in age or an 'collector's estate' item, in an attempt to gift the item with greater value.

New cast iron banks are often 'distressed' so they won't so much resemble the brand new merchandise they really are. The intent will be to make them look just a bit shabby and second-hand, with wear similar to that which might be expected on a truly old painted, cast iron item. Several modern fasteners can be spotted on the underside of this reproduction. One is a modern Phillip's head screw also under the 'original' paint. Some sellers who know a Phillips screw would not have originally been used in the making of an authentic 1870's toy may try to suggest this piece must have been re-painted at a later date. Others will simply remove fasteners that are too-new and replace them with slotted screws or similar connectors that look older and 'right.'

The fact cannot be hidden, however, that not much care was taken in the reproduction process, nor that its modern maker didn't succeed in copying the original piece very well. When parts molds were being made from an original authentically old race course bank, so that it could be copied to make the new reproductions, the head of an antique screw that held the original together was replicated during the mold-making process. See picture five which shows this area highlighted. This kind of feature on any type of cast iron article is a clear indicator it is a copy, not an original.

There was also a rubber stopper in the bottom for easy coin removal, but since that was a feature that would never have been found on an original bank it no longer remains in this example. The surface is grainy, not smooth, and while the colors mostly correspond to those that would have adorned an original, the overall detail of the painting is very poor.

See the other cast iron bank listings in this shop for additional information on details and characteristics that help identify modern reproduction, fake and fantasy cast iron pieces, including mechanical banks.

Measures 7 by 5 inches

Item ID: 2007RP000287

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies

Ruby Lane, Comparisons, CA   

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