Factors in determining the value of antique mechanical banks

Occasionally people send emails with questions about antique mechanical banks that probably occur to many people who don't collect or deal in antique mechanical banks. When Jim's  answer seems like one that might be of interest to many people, I will include it on the Banks page on our website and occasionally here on my blog as well.

This first answered question relates to factors to take into consideration in determining the value, and thus the price, of an antique mechanical bank.

August 23, 2012 Question received about our Mule Entering Barn Bank which is priced at $4,500:
Hi, dont mean to be rude but is that price for real?? i have one of these and I'd sell it to you for half that if your interested?

Jim's Answer:
Mule Entering Barn antique mechanical bankThank you for your email, interest, and mention that you have a Mule Entering Barn bank for sale. I have also had examples which I have sold for one half of this price (and still would if in inventory). I have also had examples which I have sold for under one tenth or less of this price (and still would if in inventory). Actually, I have even had examples which were complete and working that I sold for as little as $285. However, just like most items that people collect the precise condition of the specific example is critical in formulating the price. 

Banks are just like coins and stamps as condition is paramount in determination of price. Some coins which are $100 in one condition are $100,000 in another condition.

Several examples of Mule Entering Barn which are in identical condition and/or slightly better than ours have sold privately in the range of $6,500 to $9,500 several times. That was a few years ago when the economy was stronger and at a point that we turned down $6,500. for this exact bank as it was not for sale at that time.

Actually, I know of one example of the Mule Entering Barn that is in a collection which a friend of mine paid $16,000 for and I have offered him a profit for it. That bank is in a crisp original box and has 99.99% paint. It pays to keep in mind with banks that the the first 90% of the paint is worth less than the last 10%, the first 97% is worth less than the last 3%, and the first 99% is worth less than the last 1%.

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