THE YEAR WAS 1955. Antique dealer, William J. Stackhouse of Ellenville, New York, walked into a second hand shop in Norwich, New York. After rummaging through a number of magazines and old catalogs, he came upon an Ehrich’s Fashion Quarterly Wholesale Catalog, “Winter 1884”. Within its pages he noted a leaf which offered several mechanical banks for sale, including an ad for “Coasting Bank”.
At the time of the catalog’s discovery, no actual example of “Coasting Bank” was known to have been in any mechanical bank collection. To bank collectors and historians of the day, exposure of this catalog page was the impetus to search for this previously unknown mechanical. Discussions and conjectures referring to the actual existence of such a mechanical bank continued at great length with no resolution to the quandry.
It was not until some fifty-eight years following Stackhouse’s discovery of the Ehrich’s Catalog advertisement that an original, complete, and working example of “Coasting Bank” has finally surfaced. It
appears to have journeyed to distant shores, as it was discovered in the attic of a home located in Peebles, Scotland. Its owner subsequently consigned it to Lyon and Turnbull Auction House in Scotland. Lyon and Tumbull then proceeded to send it to Freeman’s Auctions, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reasoning it would create greater interest for a bank manufactured in the United States to be auctioned in its country of origin.