cvt primart header
Shopping Cart (empty)
Your cart is empty.
Product 196/211

Uncle Sam Cast Iron Antique Mechanical Bank Shepard Hardware


19th Century Cast Iron Antique Mechanical Bank, 1886 
Shepard Hardware of Buffalo, New York
"The Uncle Sam Bank"



Foreword:  I have tried to over 40 years to Acquire this Holy Grail of 19th century mechanical banks!

Very Rare and original,working 1886 Cast Iron Mechanical Bank by Shepard Hardware of Buffalo, New York titled the "The Uncle Sam Bank" in outstanding, original surface paint

This large size, original, Cast Iron Mechanical Bank measures approx. 11 1/4" tall and 3 7/8" by 4 7/8" at the base. There is text on the blue banner held in the beak of the eagle on the front panel of the base that reads “Uncle Sam” and the word "Bank" cast on the side panels of the base. There is cast text on the underside of the base that reads "Pat. June 8, 1886". The Bank retains the original trap cover.   No lock or key but it is easy to get one for these.

CONDITION: The surface paint is 100% original and exceptionally well preserved as can be seen in the images above and  below.    If you are a seasoned collector and have seen many of these, you already know that the condition and astonishing Original paint quality of this find is extremely Rare.    99% of these that appear on the market have a substantially deteriorated paint surface including most all the paint worn off of the face.    As a matter of fact,  this is the ONLY one we have ever come across that has survived with 95% of the original “pink flesh color face” as described in more detail below.    

When I first saw images of this Amazing Historical Bank I thought the back of his jacket had been repainted because the condition of the paint was too extraordinary.  But, after researching and seeing several others, I noticed the paint on the back of the jacket maintained a fresh appearance on many Uncle Sam banks that were even in much worse condition

Note:  There are Uncle Sam banks online for $5000 that are NOT nearly in as good condition as this one 

The following is taken from a description that was written in 1965 by F. H. Griffith in his article on the Mechanical Banks of The Shepard Hardware Company published in Collectors Weekly Magazine:

Only four mechanical banks have a degree of sustained action by means of a counter-balanced part which moves of its own accord after the operating lever, in each case, is released. The Uncle Sam Bank is one of these banks. The others are Jonah & The Whale, Stump Speaker, and the Speaking Dog Bank. The part that continues moving after the operating lever resets is Uncle Sam’s lower jaw and beard. The Uncle Sam Bank, as well as the other three, were made by the same concern, The Shepard Hardware Company of Buffalo, N.Y. Uncle Sam was covered by a design patent dated June 8, 1886 and a regular patent November 16, 1886, both of which were issued to Charles G. Shepard and Peter Adams, assignor to Walter J. Shepard, all of Buffalo, N.Y.

The Uncle Sam offered here, actually has better preserved surface paint than usually found - for one reason or another, the paint simply didn’t stay on most of the Uncle Sam Banks too well. The paint work itself, however, was exceptionally well done with fine facial detail and other parts in bright appropriate colors. These are as follows: Uncle Sam wears a fine gray hat with a wide blue band, having silver stars thereon. His face and hands are a pink flesh color, and the facial detail is exceptional as to the eyes, eyebrows, red mouth, and so on. His long hair and beard are a light gray.   It is Highly rare to find one of these 19th century banks with most of the original fleshy pink paint on the face.  And even more extraordinary is how the pink face has aged with a natural light human like pink.  

 His shirt cuffs and collar are white and the flowing tie is white with red stripes. The swallow-tailed coat he wears is dark blue and the lapels are lined with red. His vest is light blue with a number of silver stars on same. The long trousers are white with red stripes and he wears black boots. A green umbrella, in his left hand, with tan handle, gold strap, and black top and bottom, complete his outfit. The large carpet-type bag is brown with the initials "U. S." in gold. The handles and binding are black with a gold line. The rectangular shape box which Uncle Sam stands upon has a gray top with white lines to simulate a platform made of boards. The concave underside edges of platform, the corners of the front, back and side plates, and the concave edges of the bottom plate are in green with yellow striping. The front, back and side plates are in bright red. Each side plate has the name "Bank" in gold. The large eagle on the front is gold and the name "Uncle Sam" on the blue banner held in the eagle’s beak is also in gold. This completes the original coloring on a bright, attractive mechanical bank. (The Bank offered here displays the original surface paint exactly as described above!)

To operate the bank, a coin is first placed in the extended right hand. A lever to the back of the umbrella is then pressed down. The bag opens and the right arm lowers so that the coin falls into the bag where it stays temporarily. At the same time the mouth of the figure closes tilting the beard forward and upward. On releasing the lever, the arm raises to the position shown in the picture, the bag closes, and the coin drops on inside the base. Uncle Sam’s beard, being counter-balanced, then swings up and down, and his mouth opens and closes for some time as though he were talking. The action is clever and quite realistic. Coins are removed by means of a key lock coin trap in the back plate. Uncle Sam is a true typical American bank and a fine patriotic item. It is unquestionably one of the most attractive of all the mechanical banks and makes a very desirable addition to a collection of the mechanicals.

This 1886 “Uncle Sam Bank" Mechanical Bank is large, slightly heavy and is in excellent, original condition. There are no cracks, breaks, chips, repairs or physical damage of any kind to the cast iron elements. The Bank is in excellent working condition and the mechanism is smooth, strong and as manufactured. Uncle Sam’s mouth and beard continue to move quite long after the bank is operated. The Bank retains the vast majority of its original surface paint especially considering the usual condition in which unrestored examples are usually found. The surface is 100% original and the surface has never been repainted, touched up, restored or altered in any way. 

Here are a few specifics with this find that you rarely if Ever see on this 140 year old mechanical bankAnd what makes this particular bank Extraordinary. 
1.  Rick fleshy pink face
2. Hat green ribbon and gold stars  (because most of the banks lost these colors many collectors don’t even realize the hat Band was originally green and stars were/are gold). 
3.  Tie and beard have maintained their white/gray paint
4. The FIRST one we have ever seen where some of the original red paint is STILL on the bottom of the base!

Please see images above and below for a good indication of the form and condition of this wonderful, Historical Americana Cast Iron Mechanical Bank.