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
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%.