ASK AT: Vintage View-Master, cash register worth more for play than money

Q  I was going through some old things and I came across a couple of older items that I’m curious about. I hope you have more of a clue about them than I do. One is an old toy register with some coins. It’s an oldie that’s made out of metal and the coins are metal too!
The other item is a View-Master with its original box and about 20 reels, including the “Forging a Nation” set of View-Master reels. If you have any clue about these items or would know of someone/place that might be interested in them, let me know. — L.D., Arnott, Wis.

vintage view master model cA View-Masters have been in continuous production since 1939, when Sawyer’s of Portland, Ore., first introduced the View-Master at the New York World’s Fair. The earliest viewers (known as the Model A viewer) are marked “PAT.APPLD.FOR”; they are made from lightweight Kodak Tenite plastic and are prone to warping. Some versions of the Model A have speckles encased in the plastic, which makes for an attractive design, but are potentially noxious: the speckles are made of asbestos.

You, however, have a View-Master Model C, which was produced between 1946 and 1955 and retailed for $2. The Model C is made from much more stable and sturdy Bakelite, so many of these viewers are still around and in great condition. This was the first model of View-Master that had a slot to accept the photo reels; previous models were hinged, opening up like a clam to accept the reels.

Using recent online auction results as a guide, the Model C View-Master with its box is trading at about $10. Add in consideration for the reels, and you might add another $5 to $10 in value, bringing your View-Master kit’s total value up to about $20 or so.
This is as sturdy a toy as you will find, so you may want to share it with a youngster rather than selling it.

A Your Junior Merchant bank was made in the 1950s by Kamkap Inc. of 200 Fifth Ave., New York. Promotional advertisements promised, “Boys and girls love to play store and make change with this clever life-like register!”

The Kamkap company produced several models of the Junior Merchant Bank over the years, some with working buttons, and some without, with varying graphics and color schemes. Your version features an all-red body, working cash buttons and a steel-colored drawer. Collectors report the Junior Merchant Bank as being common, i.e. easily found and inexpensive.

After analyzing online auction and store results, I would give your steel toy cash register a value of $15 to $25. This is another toy that may be worth more for developing a child’s imagination and interactive play skills than padding your pocketbook.

Karen L. Knapstein is Print Editor for Antique Trader. A lifelong collector and student of antiques, she lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Joe, and daughter, Faye. She can be reached at

*Appraisals are personal opinions of value and are to be considered for entertainment purposes only and may not to be used for any other purpose, either legal or personal. Personal replies are not possible.

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