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    Rutherford B. Hayes: An Almost Certainly Unique Mechanical Bank Depicting this Controversial President. Hayes actually lost the popular vote in 1876 to New York governor Samuel J. Tilden. However, a brokered deal in the Electoral College put Hayes in the White House in return for the withdrawal of the hated Federal troops in the still-occupied South.
    The bank is ingeniously designed: One places a coin on Hayes' hand, and he drops it into a clear glass globe "ballot box" with paper ballot slips marked "Hayes." The weight of the coin causes it to fall through the slips, and it is funneled into a drawer in the base. Unlike most mechanical banks of that era, no key was required to access the money; one just pulls the knob and the drawer slides open. It measures 6.75" x 4.5".
    The bank has an interesting history. This is the actual patent model, and it is believed never to have been put into production. The condition had deteriorated when the bank was offered in 2011 in a prominent New England auction. Much of the paint had flaked or worn away, particularly on the base. The ballot box was restored, but the figure of Hayes was original with largely intact paint. The original patent office tag and drawings were included in the lot, which failed to sell against a $15,000-$20,000 estimate.
    Since then, the bank was unfortunately in a fire. The paperwork was destroyed as well as the glass globe and paper "ballots." Fortunately this bank is well documented, as the original patent papers are pictured in Bill Jones' definitive 1998 reference book Toy Money-box Patent Papers. Since then it has been masterfully restored, as the photos demonstrate. The metal parts show just enough "wear" and paint flaking to give an appearance of age and use, and quite frankly had we not been told that bank had been restored we would never have suspected. The mechanism in Hayes' arm and hand is in good working order. Thankfully copies of the original patent drawing and document had been kept, and those are included with the lot.
    The bank has distinguished provenance, having previously been in the collection of James Maxwell. It was featured in a September 1983 issue of Antique Toy World, with a photo appearing on the front cover of the magazine. A very special opportunity for bank, toy, and political specialists alike.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,389

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