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J.E. Stevens Co. catalog from 1906- Banks, Safes, and Cast Iron

1906 Was a prodigious year for J & E Stevens and we are blessed to have paperwork to prove it.  The Great War to End All Wars and then the second World War  converted countless pieces of paper and metal toys into munitions and fuel.  Yet there was at least one surviving catalog to enjoy from the Don and Betty Jo Heim Collection.  The Still bank and Mechanical Bank Collectors of America have blessed us with a reprint.

In honor of the publishers and rights, I will keep photos to a minimum, and quality grainy, but wish to share a overview of this treasure.  The republishers printed details on a thick, glossy stock with blue text and white paper.  Details harken back to Delft Ware dishes with their crisp blue and white designs.  Details span over 46 pages.  My hope is that others will become available online or through trading.

I noted that toy numbers started at #40, jumped to the 300’s, went back to number 1, then finalized in the 400’s.  One can speculate that the other 250-missing entries represent toys that have were phased out by 1906.

Curiously, Safe Banks and House Banks start the sales pitch.  No mechanical banks or pistols started things with a bang… only a static Safe.  One can surmise that the best way to entice parents of the day was to teach thrift.  Number 40. on the first page is a Burglar Proof House Safe with a large retail price of $1.00.  Others cost as little as .25. “Most desirable patterns ever put on the market.  Finely Polished and Nickel Plated.  Packed 3 dozen to a Case.  Height 6 in, width 4 3/4, and Depth 4 1/8 inches.”  It could be purchased with either a key or a combination, each at the same price.

Premium banks, and most with some form of action fill out the middle of the catalog– U.S. Navy Bank, Owl Bank, Cabin Bank, Little Fat Man, Educated Pig (I’ve not seen this one before), Eagle Bank, Base Ball Bank, Jolly, Bad Accident, Artillery,Kicking Mule, Speaking Dog, William Tell, Funny Clown, Bear Hunt, Indian Camp, Hen and Chicken, Magician, Foot Ball Bank, Shot the Chute (Buster Brown and Tige in boat), Tree Bank, and Teddy and the Bear Bank round out a stellar cast.  The list is a Who’s Who of desirable toys.

In the following section you get a Donkey or Pony Wheel toy, but no others.  Interestingly, the Donkey goes with the black man and the Pony gets a jockey.  -Racism was rampant.  Horses or donkeys in carts were about to be phased out by the horseless variety.

Later there are Ranges, Stoves, Penny Toys, then cap guns and a cannon.  As with music, lead with your best and finish strong.  The final cap gun was a Colt styled “Scout” that got a nickel plating.  The spring was tempered for durability.  Retail was a thrifty 10 cents because the packed 3 gross to a case (144 to a gross times three).

Thanks to the Mechanical and Still Bank Collectors of America.  -Wish I could attend the annual convention at State College, PA.  We will catch up soon.






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