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Q: My son inherited a cast-iron mechanical bank that has been in the family for five or six generations. I think it’s called a “Hoover bank.” It’s in the form of a man sitting in an office chair with one hand extended. When you put a coin in his hand, he puts it in his jacket pocket and nods his head. The bank has its original paint and has never been refurbished. We are curious about its value.

A: The design for your son’s mechanical bank, known as the “Tammany Bank,” was patented by John Hall of Watertown, Mass., in 1873. It has also been known as “Little Fat Man Bank” and “Boss Tweed.” Tammany Hall was a New York City political organization, and William “Boss” Tweed was its corrupt leader. He was jailed for embezzlement in 1873. J. & E. Stevens Co. of Cromwell, Conn., introduced the bank in 1875 and continued making it for about 45 years. Early versions of the bank did not include its name, but later banks were labeled “Tammany Bank” on the side of the chair. Both 1873 and 1875 patent dates can be found on the bank. In most versions, the man is wearing gray pants. A rare version with brown pants sells for the highest price, $500 to $600. The bank is very popular and has been reproduced.

 

Comments  

#2 Tammany BankOldTimer75 2017-04-17 06:57
I was most amused at the first question--that the Boss Tweed bank was called the HOOVER BANK! Obviously by a family of depression DEMOCRATS!

I have my Grandfather's Boss Tweed bank from his childhood in the early 1880s. Obviously our family bank is from when my Grandfather was four years old in 1884. The slide has the 1875 patent date and Tweed wears gray pants. The Tamany name is on the chair side as described. I can attest to my own bank's authenticity and date. But it might not have been new in 1884? I did not ask my Grandfather. Like most authentic versions, the paint is poor, but has been this way during my lifetime. (75). The paint must have been poor in the beginning. Those with good paint were probably repainted over the years. To think of Tweed being called HOOVER--THE president who never took a salary--shame.
#1 Tammany bankLaurieMc 2015-02-23 18:30
I'm wanting to sell a Tammany Hall mechanical bank for a friend, and stamped on the back of the bank is "PAT O DEC 23, 1818." The chap wears a black coat and yellow vest. The Tammany Bank logo is on the side of the chair. I've read that these banks were made starting in 1973, so is this a reproduction? If so, how much do you think it's worth?

thank you!
Laurie

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