Banks vary in type from still banks to mechanical with many different shapes and forms being used. They also come in many different types of materials - cast iron, die cast, plastic, glass, tin, to name a few.
Still banks were the first manufactured in the late 1790's. These are often called penny banks as they were intended to entice children to save their pennies. These banks were usually in the shape of animals, buildings, and other common items.
Mechanical banks were next. These banks were constructed to perform an action either by the weight of the coin or movement of a lever. Today these mechanical banks are one of the most valued toys with those banks manufactured between 1870-1908 commanding the most value. Amazingly, during this time there were over 300 mechanical banks manufactured with some being manufactured for the adult market.
Caution should be exercised, particularly when purchasing a mechanical bank to make sure it is not a reproduction.
By David Moncrief
To read more on vintage banks, visit this link.