Bowling mechanical bank will sell on January 14

Dan Morphy Auctions will offer a Kyser & Rex bowling mechanical bank in its January 14 sale.

It’s in exceptional condition and is offered with an estimate of $60,000-90,000.

Bowling mechanical bank

The Kyser & Rex bowling bank features an unusually complex mechanism

Mechanical banks became very popular, particularly in the US, in the mid-19th century.

They’re designed to perform an action each time a coin is inserted into a slot. These actions can vary wildly in their complexity.

The present example features a bowler that releases a ball, which knocks over a set of pins and rings a bell.

A limited edition second casting of the bank produced in the 1990s sold for $11,000 at RSL Auctions in 2006, indicating the regard the model is held in.  

The company behind the design, Kyser & Rex, was founded in Frankfort, Pennsylvania in 1879. It only operated until 1884, but during this short period produced a range of models that are highly sought after today.

A Jonah & the Whale bank by J&E Stevens of Connecticut is offered with an estimate of $50,000-80,000.

Another Jonah & the Whale model holds the record for a mechanical bank at auction, having achieved $414,000 at Morphy in 2014.

This one is unlikely to match it, as parts of the mechanism have been repaired.

Still, it’s a hugely popular bank and competition will be fierce.

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