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Mechanical Bank, "Watchdog Safe" in Cast Iron, circa 1890



"Watchdog Safe" mechanical bank was manufactured by the prolific toy coin bank manufacturer J. & E. Stevens Company in Cromwell, Connecticut in 1890. "Patent Applied For" appears in gold stenciling on the rear lower style, but we know the manufacturing date from advertisements that appeared around 1890 (It was advertised as "Watchdog Bank"). The bank is made of cast iron and is decorated with a Roman type figure in gold raised relief on each side; bird and floral motif to the top; recessed panels to the back; and a white, spotted dog who guards the safe in the front. The action of the bank is quite simplistic, as it operates as follows: place a coin in the slot provided at the top of the bank; raise the lever on the right side; this causes the coin to drop and the dog to open his mouth and "bark", by means of a bellows which is installed on the inside of the door (see image) and is operable. Coins are removed by the combination of three rolled dials in front; that combination being 7--2--1 (only one I have seen with this combination). Bank has a beautiful original finish, in completely original paint and in excellent condition. There is a minor casting flaw to the rear style, which does not affect the overall integrity of the bank. Prices for this bank have exceeded $20,000 in outstanding condition, which attests to the difficulty of finding a good example of "Watchdog Safe" bank in original paint and condition. Dimensions: 4 1/2" wide x 4" deep x 5 13/16" high. I am a leading specialist in the field of antique mechanical coin banks, having been buying, selling, and examining these fine objects for 40 years. This experience makes me well qualified to analyze, evaluate, and guarantee the authenticity of original examples. Note: Please see my other mechanical bank listings I am offering for sale.


  • Creator
    J. & E. Stevens Co. (Manufacturer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 5.81 in. (14.76 cm)Width: 4.5 in. (11.43 cm)Depth: 4 in. (10.16 cm)
  • Style
    Folk Art (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1890
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Great patina Operable bellows.
  • Seller Location
    Incline Village, NV
  • Reference Number
    Seller: #156-12/09101stDibs: LU97321276190

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $110 Standard Shipping
    to anywhere in the world, arrives in 4-5 weeks.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Incline Village, NV
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Incline Village, NV
Recognized Seller
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Established in 1976
1stDibs seller since 2013
183 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 3 hours
Art Dealers Association of America
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