This example is one of many new fake and reproduction cast iron dime banks. Collectors should be alert for these types of items as they continue to appear in the cartoon character collectibles niche. Though it will often be found described as possibly made by them, this bank is not an item produced by that well known maker, 'Hubley' - it is a recent import from China. See also the matching Popeye character cast iron bank listed in this shop. Both banks came from the same reproduction wholesale supplier.
On this example, note that the paint inside of the wells in Phillips head screw holding the two halves together is still pristine. Despite the chip added later to the outside edge of the screw, the untouched paint inside the wells of the screw is an indication the item was painted at the factory with it in place and it has never been removed. Some sellers who know a Phillips screw would not have originally been used in the making of such an item, were it authentic, may try to suggest this piece has been re-painted. Others will simply remove the too-new screw and replace it with a slotted screw that looks older and 'right.'
Despite the dings in the painted surface on this piece that were added to hint it is older, too, none of that false 'wear' is in the places that most logically would have actually seen use or been accidentally damaged. For instance, the paint on the backs of a shoulder and arm are chipped - but not the back of the head. If toppled over backward during the years since when it supposedly was made, that would have been the point of contact with a table or shelf. Likewise, her nose is chipped on one side, but not the front, which again seems illogical to have happened.
If you look through the coin slot on back you will see that the unpainted inside of the piece is very rusty and that rust is orange. The inside of an old bank that was never opened (suggested by the lack of damage to the paint on the screw) would not show that kind of rust. And in the world of cast iron collectibles bright orange rust is new rust, it is not an indication of age. Instead, like the illogical chips in the paint, it is an indication that false aging techniques were used to try to make the surface of this piece look less modern.
The images provided also illustrate well the roughly sanded surface of this contemporary bank and the lack of care in finishing it before painting (heavy excess flash at the seams), and when applying details. Note the haphazard application of her facial features.
This item measures approximately 6 inches tall and it is about 2 inches across the base.
When considering the purchase of a cast iron item keep the tips below in mind. For practice, see how many other tips offered in the list might also be applicable to this item.
1. New reproductions of vintage cast iron toys/banks will be heavier and less detailed than an original counterpart, if one was ever actually made.
2. The individual pieces often don't fit well together. Look for misalignment's and gaps at seams where the pieces meet.
3. Very fine sand was used in the creation of old cast iron pieces, so expect them to be extremely smooth, with fine detail. Surfaces of old cast iron will feel almost silky to the touch.
4. The makers of newer cast iron pieces use a rougher, less expensive sand for casting that results in a surface that is rough and/or grainy, sometimes pebbled. Detail is usually poor, as well, often bordering on crudeness. If it doesn't look as if a skilled craftsman made it, it's almost certainly a contemporary piece.
5. Look for flash (excess metal) at seams or on design elements - inside the spokes of a wheel, for instance, or inside edges on the coin slot of a bank. Even inside the crevices of intricate details like scroll work can be expected to be well finished in antique pieces. Very little to no flash will be present on an authentically old piece.
6. Visible rough grinding marks are the hallmark of the modern power tool. Finishing marks should be virtually invisible on an old piece.
7. Expect an old piece to have a better level of detail to the paintwork. On figural pieces, look carefully at faces as they should not look crudely (quickly) painted. Newer pieces are usually mechanically spray painted with a thin layer of paint, although not always.
8. Patina can be faked, so look for evidence it has been wiped on with a brush or rag at the factory. Other ways to quickly give the appearance of age to new cast iron is to bake newly applied paint in an oven or bury an item briefly to achieve some authentic appearing rusted areas.
9. Sandpapering or abusing an item in some other way after new paint has been applied is done in an effort to mimic the appearance of play wear or use. New items may have 'wear,' but it often won't be in areas of the piece where it would logically be found. Wear in inappropriate areas and pristine surfaces where wear should logically be expected, invariably equals fakery.
10. Authentically old pieces won't be held together with modern Phillip's head screws. However, seeing a slotted screw under 'original' paint doesn't automatically mean a piece must be all right. Since collectors got wise to this fact, many newer cast iron fakes and reproductions are now produced with slotted screws that closely resemble those that would be found in authentic pieces.
11. Reproductions and fantasy items currently in production today are rarely marked. They might originally sport a paper label but, generally, soon after delivery to the first wholesale buyer a paper label tends to `fall' off.
Quite a few 19th and early 20th century foundries incorporated a mark, name or patent number into their molds. However, since some reproductions are produced from molds made from an original piece, as with many other types of collectibles, a maker's name isn't always proof the item is authentic.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
Item listings in this shop are intended to be viewed for educational purposes, only. Items in this shop are not for sale.