Antique handmade coin bank or fare deposit box coated with a dark thick textured toleware-style lacquer covering tin plated iron from the late 1800s or early 1900s (see all nine Photos). This is a wonderful example of a box made out of hand cut and soldered tinware pieces that is in very good condition especially for being over 100 years old. The toleware label is assigned here because the tin is covered with several asphaltum-like layers that reveal fine crackling and minute crevices similar to an old oil painting.
Tole ware style coatings were first developed by Thomas Allgood of Pontypool, South Wales in the late 1600s according to some authorities (see entry for Pontypool Japanware in Wikipedia). The coating was designed to make iron more corrosion resistant and was produced by mixing and heating asphaltum, linseed oil, umber and a couple other lesser components to yield a sticky black lacquer that remained cohesive as a balled droplet when tested for fluidity. The material was then dissolved in white spirits (turpentine) to produce a varnish that could be applied to metal, paper mac he and wood, often in three coats to yield a thick durable glossy finish. The glossy finish could then be painted or left plain.
The coin box listed for sale here has two metallic gold stripes painted as accent bands, one on the cover and the other along the base (see Photos 4, 5 and 6). The bands contain very fine metal filings of either copper or gold sealed within a clear glossy varnish or shellac (metal filings visible up close using magnification and strong light). There is also old varnish covering the entire exterior tole coated surface of the coin box that reveals upon close inspection evidence of crackling indicative of several coats typical of the process of toleware.
The round top and bottom ends on this coin box are attached using flat overlapping joints that are about 1/8 inches wide and soldered tightly to close each end. The round end at the top is soldered to a short cylinder segment to create the cover. This short cylinder segment was originally 10/16 inches tall, but subsequently was then shortened by folding the bottom most 3/16 inches back over itself to reinforce the rim edge opening (partly visible in Photos 7 and 8). The overlap rim edge is evident on the exterior of the cover that simple slides over the top of the 4.6 inch tall main cylindrical body of the coin box. The top edge of the main body is also folded back on itself for about 1/4 inches along the inside of the box to strengthen the rim.
The following five additional parts complete construction of this coin box: rectangular funnel-shaped coin slot soldered to top of cover (Photos 3 and 4), triangular attachment plate soldered to side of cover for fastening the hasp (Photo 5), circular loop soldered to side of box for holding a lock to secure the hasp (Photo 4), a hinge made of two triangular pieces to secured the cover to the top of the box (Photo 6; same style double pin used to join each hinge segment, see Photos 6 and 8), and an interior cloth baffle ( Photo 7) to reduce noise and prevent easy removal of contents.
As such, this coin box dates from the 1885 to 1915 period, and could possibly be even older given its hand made construction. It is formed from simple overlapping joints sealed with solder and has no machine crimped seams. Machine crimped seams replaced overlapping seams in the 1890s as tin vessel production was mechanized. Consequently, this bank or coin box has an estimated production mid-date of about 1900 as the mid-point of the 1885 to 1915 time span just noted. Boxes and cans mass produced with the assistance of machines have special interlocking seams that help retain a vacuum and made canned goods widely available and much safer for 20th century households. However, custom designed tinware items like this coin box still had to be hand produced by tin craftsmen before readily adjustable machine templates and dies became common place.
There is also one way, independently, to derive an approximate production date for this coin collection box. The slot that accepts coins will allow only those coins with diameters just under 1 1/16 inches to fall into the box. Larger coins will not pass into the box. Coins with diameters of just under 1 1/16 inches and smaller suggest that this box is likely American and not British or Canadian since their pennies from the 1800s or 1900s would jam the collection slot. However, all American coin denominations up to the size of a U.S. quarter dollar and produced after 1858 would pass easily through the coin slot. This fact supports the suggestion that the collection box listed here was ideally designed for practical use when U.S. pennies, two-cent pieces, three cent pieces , nickels, half-dimes, dimes, and if necessary, quarter dollars were being use. All of these denominations would have been in common usage in the United States after the much larger and older US large cents had dropped out of circulation. This would have occurred for all general purposes by about 1875 or 1880. And while quarter dollars would fit through the coin slot, the design of this collection box seems to be intentional limited to coins and coin amounts totaling under 35 cents or so since half dollars and silver dollars were fully excluded. And so this coupled with the other information provided above place this coin box in the late 1800s to very early 1900s.
There are some other notable design feature also to mention about this coin box. The box has a cloth baffle attached under the coin slot on the inside of the cover apparently to reduce the noise created as coins glided into the box. The baffle would also help prevent the removal of coins with a knife blade or by turning the box upside down and shaking it. Additionally, there are two circular pieces of cloth set on the inside bottom of the box that further reduced noise of coins dropping down into the can, but they also did not completely eliminate the clinking sound a coin would make whether the box was empty or half full. And so if a conductor or attendant was sitting next to the collection box, they would be able to hear the coins drop into the box even if they were busy at some other task (e.g., such as the driver or conductor of a trolley, or the attendant on a ferry, etc.).
Last of all, this specific coin collection box was not produced in large numbers. Apparently not enough demand was present to encourage a manufacture to mass produce the various parts needed. Consequently, one can see that this coin box was hand made since each part is unique in size and shape (e.g., compared the two hinges where the upper triangular parts attached to the cover are different for each hinge; compare also the two similar elongated hinge pins that allow each hinge to swing are different in size). Such variations would not be found in coin boxes produced by the hundreds. Instead, this coin box was made by a tin worker who cut out a few pieces of tin coated iron that were subsequently joined together with the aid of a couple of tin-working hand tools. This simple tools helped bend, fold and shape specific parts (the hasp, the covers, the loop for the lock, etc.). The expanded bead that seat the cover over the upper neck section of main cylindrical body of the can, for example was formed with a tin working tool available by the 1860s to sheet metal workers who wished to order them by mail (e.g., see Dover Stamping Company catalogue for 1869: pp. 162 to 205).
So if you are looking for a nice antique American coin collection box covered with a toleware-style varnish with simple gold striping in very good condition and dating from about 100 to 130 years ago, then make sure you seriously consider this one while it is still available. And as always, this coin box also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy (see complete Return Policy details farther below). You also have the option to ask for a customized lay-away plan for purchasing this item (and others when combining orders) by simply requesting the terms you wish to use and then let Doc take care of setting it up and combining any items together as desired (payment installments may be modified at any time should the unexpected ever arise, just let me know by email and I’ll change the due dates).
SIZE & CONDITION: This cylindrical box stands 5 1/8 inches tall to the beginning of its cover and measures nearly 3 1/2 inches across (diameter) at both the cover and base. The rectangular funnel creating the coin slot on the cover adds another 1 1/4 inches to the height of the box. The hasp and lock loop along with the hinge on the opposite side of the box add to the maximum width of the box bringing that measure to about 4 1/4 inches across at its widest part. The box when empty of any coins weighs about 1/2 lb. It is in very good condition with just one small lightly wrinkled area that is not readily visible near the bottom of the box (see Photo 6 where light catches the edge of the wrinkle just about one inch to the right of the seam midway across the right bottom portion of the box). The black lacquer coating is more than 99.3% intact with just a few tiny chips here and there and some wear along the bottom outer edge from more than a century of existence. Major stains and deep scratches are virtually absent and there are no repairs or restoration. There is one tiny spot of corrosion on the cover (see Photo 3) while the interior is more than 99.5% free of any corrosion or rust. The box displays well as all the Photos show, and if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return this item for a refund (see our complete return policy for all details as stated below).
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $9.70 for well packed USPS Priority Mail and this is an estimated savings of $2 to $4 since insurance and tracking are INCLUDED in this amount. A faster shipping option is also available (see Shipping menu). That is, the insured postage you pay for delivery in the US is always less than our actual costs or we refund the difference back to you, and there are never any handling or packing fees added to any of your Docs Antiques purchases, ever. All international buyers will also pay less than the actual shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the Continental US mainland. Send us your address and we will email you up to four options for sending this item to your country. These are estimated to range from about $33 USD up to $68 USD depending on shipping choice and final destination. We only use the USPS for International shipping to reduce broker fees and certain Custom’s charges when an item is over 100 years old and the option you select allows for enclosing a special waiver. Please note that international import duties, taxes and other special charges are not included in the item price or our shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition waiver for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce certain import taxes when your country grants such petitions for items over 100 years old and the shipping option you select allows a waiver request to be included. Please check with your country's Customs Office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques listings here on Ruby Lane. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with a purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within fourteen days of the original receipt of the item at your address for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable, please insure the item upon return and add tracking). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we pack professionally, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary. Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help if you have any questions and we will gladly assist.
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Checks on US Banks (no temporary checks, all checks must have 9 digit routing code; item ships after check fully clears), USPS money orders, PayPal, or contact us with your verified address for more options. If you wish to use a credit card by way of PayPal, then that option becomes available after you submit a Ruby Lane purchase order. Once submitted, a PayPal icon will appear at the bottom of this listing and then you may proceed from there if you wish to pay via PayPal by way of a credit card. Or see our Terms of Sale for additional information should you wish to ask for a customized layaway plan customized to your own needs and situation (email me a request for a customized layaway). Thanks for looking and we invite you back again when you have more time.
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