Clown and Harlequin mechanical bank to make $175,000?

A cast iron Clown and Harlequin mechanical bank, produced by J&E Stevens Co circa 1907, will carry an estimate of $125,000-175,000 to Morphy Auctions' February 15 sale in Denver.

The lot, designed by James H Bowen, is among the rarest and most desirable mechanical banks - with the example offered in the sale the finest known.

Clown Harlequin Mechanical Bank
The Clown and Harlequin is among the rarest examples of a mechanical bank

The design is based on the Italian Commedia Dell'arte and features three of the stock characters (the clown, columbine and harlequin.

When a coin is placed in the slot, the clown and harlequin swing round - a motion that sets the columbine spinning.

A near mint example sold for $103,300 at Morphy Auctions in 2007.

A Cat and Mouse mechanical bank, also designed by James H Bowen for J&E Stevens, is valued at $18,000-25,000.

The mechanism features a cat, which emerges to perform a somersault while holding the mouse, and is in near mint condition.

Another near mint example realised $31,200 at Morphy in 2012.

The finest known example of a cast iron artillery target bank, designed by Samuel Clark circa 1877, is offered with an identical estimate of $18,000-25,000.

The coin is inserted over the target before a spring-loaded cannon fires a ball that knocks the coin into the body of the bank.

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