Thursday, April 15, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Grandpa's Lion

When I look back on my childhood one of the things that I always remember seeing on my grandparents bookshelf is this cast iron lion. It belonged to Hurley T. Tharp, my paternal grandfather. I was never really allowed to take it down and play with it or really touch it all that much. I do remember it always being on the bookshelf. You know one of those things you don't really notice unless it was moved or missing.

The one or two times that I really showed some interest in it my grandfather told me that he had been given it as a child. Sadly, I don't
remember asking him more about it than the "what's this?" question that a youngster asks any elder about an object that can't be touched let alone played with.

I'm thinking I vaguely remember him telling me he received it as a gift either for his birthday or Christmas. He was born in 1914, so if he was given it when he was about 10 years old, say 1924, then he could start saving money. And it would make sense as to the theme of the bank being a lion....Ha! Ha! I totally didn't plan that out, no pun intended.

As I said in the beginning it is made from cast iron. It is two halves that are held together by a screw that you see in the left picture. When you look at it straight on you can see a small gap between the two halves. At some point and time pennies were put into it and now it is completely full of them. Before writing this posting, I had never seen nor taken it apart. I could tell from looking into the gap, that the pennies in there were not really that old (you know from the 1940's or 50's). Also knowing my grandfather as I did, I had realized that any pennies from his childhood would have been spent long ago.

After starting to write this my curiosity got the better of me and I found a screwdriver and opened it up. I will also use the excuse that I wanted to look for a maker's mark, name of manufacturer or date. After I opened it up and found none of the above I looked at the pennies. As I had suspected, all the pennies in there (I was surprised to find one quarter from 1953 in there) were from the 40's and 50's. So much for finding a really rare penny from the 20's or 30's that would send my kids to college, if there even is one that would. :-p

Anyway, you can tell by looking at it that he played with it. But judging from its present condition (me being a non-expert appraiser), not very much.

I did do a search of the internet (again Google is my friend) using the search parameters of: lion, "cast iron" bank and circus. I got 95,900 hits using these. Fortunately for me on the first page I found a couple of examples like this bank. Unfortunately, none had a maker's name or year of production.

Regardless of what it's worth or how many examples I can find of it, I feel very fortunate to have it. As I have said in previous postings, it is something that they touched and used. Therefore it is something that I will treasure.

Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again ;)

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