Banks, bears & mugs to conclude Cowan’s auction Jan. 26


J. & E. Stevens acrobat cast-iron mechanical bank, late 19th century, 5 x 7 x 2.75 in. Estimate: $2,000-$2,200. Cowan’s Auctions image

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cowan’s Cleveland Market Winter Live Salesroom Auction on Friday, Jan. 26, will feature a mechanical bank collection as well as vintage stuffed toys and antique shaving mugs. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The afternoon session will be highlighted by the mechanical bank collection of B. Todd Jones.

More than 80 mechanical banks are listed in the catalog. Expected to earn the most interest is a J. & E. Stevens cast-iron Acrobat mechanical bank from the late 19th century (above). The action is activated by pressing a lever. A gymnast figure kicks a clown upside down, propelling the coin into the bank. This bank is estimated at $2,000-$2,200.

Another classic J.& E. Stevens cast-iron mechanical bank in the auction is Chief Big Moon, which features a frog springing from a pond as an Indian figured deposits a coin. It is expected to sell for $1,500-$2,000.

Dozens of vintage teddy bears will be offered, some in multiple lots. The oldest is a 1905 Steiff mohair bear that is 15 inches tall (below).


Steiff fully jointed teddy bear, German, 1905, 15 in. high. Estimate: $1,600-$1,800. Cowan’s Auctions image

Two German-made bears on wheels will be sold. One is a Steiff pull toy from the 1940s or ’50s, which is estimated at $150-$330.

From a bygone era when a gentleman could get a close shave at a barbershop comes more than two dozen occupational shaving mugs. One of the most unusual ones in Cowan’s auction depicts a physician treating a bed-ridden patient. Unlike many occupational shaving mugs, this one is not marked with the name of the original owner.


Doctor’s occupational shaving mug, porcelain, marked ‘Made in Germany,’ 4 in. high. Estimate: $350-$500. Cowan’s Auctions image

The auction will begin Friday, Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. Eastern time.