Elephant Bank

1960s/1970s Circus Elephant Still Bank

When I stumbled across this little elephant my first reaction was: what is it? The slot in the top suggested it was some kind of bank and the penny rattling around inside was evidence I was not the only person who thought that. Yet, I turned it over several times, trying to figure out if it was part of a larger item or some kind of metal-work art project. Finally, it became clear this required further investigation – so I brought it home.

It turns out this is a cast metal 1960s/1970s reproduction of a 1920s era Still Bank, which means it’s a bank without moving parts. The original 1920s banks were manufactured by Hubley A. C. William. I have no idea who manufactured this reproduction because there’s no imprint or logo (or anything).

You’re probably thinking I got all of that off of the internet – and you would be mostly correct. A google image search for cast iron circus elephant and metal circus elephant turned up quite a few items that were very similar, thereby providing the words ‘still bank.’ This new information led me to John Marquand and his Etsy shop: The Still Bank Shop.

John’s Etsy profile invites anyone with a Still Bank question to contact him. So, I sent a photo of my little elephant and provided as many details as I thought relevant – being a complete novice in this area, I was floundering around trying to figure out what details he might need.

After sending the message, I went to work on the list of 1000s of tasks always in need of being done, assuming I’d hear back in a few days. He must have been working at his computer at the same time as myself because I get a reply in less than 15 minutes!

Here’s what he had to say: “Your bank is a modern reproduction of the elephant on the tub bank. Any old banks will have flat head screws, not Phillips head. The paint is not correct for an old bank but yours is pretty colorful! I would say it’s from the 1960’s or 70’s.”

As you can imagine, I thanked him for his amazing help! I also learned two helpful little tidbits about cast metal still banks: 1) The little screw on the side provides crucial information (who knew?) and 2) John Marquand is a really helpful guy!

What’s the moral of this story? If you ever have any questions about Still Banks, stop by The Still Bank Shop and chat with John!

If you would like your very own elephant bank, you can purchase this one at the Wild Raccoon Market or visit The Still Bank Shop for a larger selection. 🙂

Art Rescue in Blue

This post will begin with a shameless plug: I’ve created an Etsy shop! Please visit the Wild Raccoon Market and consider buying something. 🙂

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…

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Adora helping with the flea market booth in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

When I was a kid, my family spent large quantities of time locating sale-able items and hawking them at flea markets. It was less profitable than collecting recyclable materials (plastic, metal and glass) and selling them to recycling plants (at first) and recycling collection machines (later).

After spending many grueling, and often humiliating, childhood-hours sifting through garbage, discount bins, second-hand shops and garage sales; I entered adulthood ready to never, EVER, deal with the used-items market again. Coming from poor family, I quickly learned the new-only lifestyle is not an option available to the likes of me – no matter how hard I work, how many hours I put in or my level of education. Some of us are born into a second-hand, tossed-away world. That is reality. It does not go away. (Deal with it.)

Over the years, I learned to appreciate this aspect of my life and have come to view discarded objects as treasure troves filled with fun decor and fine art – most in need of nothing more than a careful cleaning, a new frame and (maybe) a few small repairs.

Which brings me back to the Etsy site. The reason I went with Etsy instead of eBay is because I have developed something of a talent for spotting and rescuing artwork. Some of it is truly valuable. Some of it simply appeals to me or does not belong in the garbage.

An example of rescued artwork featured in the Wild Raccoon Market is Rita Orr‘s winter trees serigraph. I found this piece in the ‘frames’ bin of a second-hand store. It was encased in (and protected by) a dreadful, heavy, scratched and chipped glass frame which was on the verge of breaking and either destroying the artwork or simply dragging the art into the local dump by virtue of association.

I really liked the painting, so I bought it with the intention of getting an icy, winter-blue, rough-wood frame and either a blue or purple mat, to go with the image. Every time I look at it, I can see the colors being drawn out by a different mat and frame.

Sadly, my finances have not allowed for the re-framing efforts. In fact, the original frame continued to deteriorate, despite it’s protected location on my wall, and had to be removed and disposed. Luckily, the artwork survived the ordeal unharmed.

Recently, I located and emailed Rita Orr, asking for confirmation – is this one of hers? She took a look at the photo I sent and replied in the affirmative. This is, indeed, one of her limited edition prints, from the 1980s. How cool is that?

I hope I can find a good home, where it will be properly respected and appreciated.