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Monday, September 29, 2008

STARKIE'S JOLLY NIGGER BANK - ORIGINAL IDENTIFIED v. OLD REPRODUCTION

In the process of liquidating a living estate, we came upon a rare and original Starkie's Jolly Nigger (Moves Ears) Mechanical Bank. The bank was patented in 1920 by Robert Eastwood Starkie of Burnley, England (British Pat No 152,588). All known banks were made of Aluminum. In 1945, a patent was issued to Robert Patterson Starkie for a similar bank. This is the bank that is most often seen in Antique and Collectible circles and is often mistaken for the original from 1920, even by major auction houses. At first glance from the front, the banks look identical. However, there are at least 8 differences:
1) Original: Ears are located closer to the eyes. A "V" shaped section from the back half of the casting fits into a "V" groove in the front half. Later Version: Ears are located in the middle of the castings.
2) Original: Back has the inscription: "Starkie's Pat No 152,588" Later Version: Blank back.
3) Original: Base plate has circular holes and is unmarked. Later Version: Base plate has square waffle type holes and is inscribed: "Reg. No 844,290 Starkie's Pat No 32,537 Patented in Foreign Countries"
4) Original: Holes in the back of the head. Later version: No holes in the back of the head.
5) Original: Moving the ears cannot make the arm move up. Later Version: Moving the ears makes the arm move up.
6) Original: Bow tie and ears are larger that the Later Version.
7) Original: Thumb is part of one casting of hand. Later Version: Thumb is separate casting from hand.
8) Original: Right arm is raised up a bit from the elbow. Later Version: Right arm is not raised up from the elbow.

So...you can see that identifying the 2 Starkie's banks is easy, but, as a practice not done in the antique world.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

HI-- found this posting and wondered if yo might be able to help me identify a bank I found in Mumbai India? It's cast aluminum and I've looked at tons of images but can't find another exactly like it- a few similar ones but this has been a real mystery to me. I've posted images here---

http://www.flickr.com/photos/73306007@N06/

If you have any guesses or thoughts I'd be truly grateful ! Thanks much and thanks for keeping the graeat blog! Saw some very neat stuff on here including the valet chair- I've seen only one of those before ages ago at a small shop in Tennessee.

cheers,
Rosey

Anonymous said...

I have a sonny boy w/reg#844290 and starkies pat no. 32537, patented in foreign countries. After searching various websites, this bank matches all descriptions w/exception: bow tie is red w/ white polka dots (not blue). anyone w/ideas what the red bow tie is indicative of?
Many thanks
Donna

Anonymous said...

This bank is a Stevens made Jolly Nigger. It is not an antique as the term goes. It is more likely a bank made within the last 30 years give or take a few. The original Stevens banks have flat base plates with writing on them that identifies the bank. The older versions have the holes as depicted and the metal stopper hole that you remove the coins from. The bank comes with a metal stopper. I would say this is definitely a reproduction made by the the Stevens co.

ANTIQUEHAVEN said...

Thanks for your comment. I believe this was a comparison photo from 2008. My original photos were lost due to a change Google made on their photo storage site. I think that photo was the 1940's Starkie version as I checked my computer and found a photo of the bottom plate. J.E. Stevens stopped producing mechanical banks in the 1930's. The bank I had a photo of had a Starkie's patent on the bottom plate which was the 1940's version. I sure wish I had my original photos