Ask Antique Trader: Boss Tweed still pocketing cash

Q My late uncle was a bank executive, and I remember seeing this metal toy bank on his desk. It is now mine, and I would like to know who this figure represents and the value. Place a coin in his hand and he puts it in his jacket pocket.
— M.K., Chicago , Ill.

A Your mechanical bank depicts a corrupt New York official in the 1880s, Boss Tweed. This is also known as the Tammany Bank, since the scandal involved Tammany Hall in New York. A bank similar to yours recently sold at auction for $300.

Q I would like to find out about this grandfather clock. It has always been in my husband’s family. It was made by the Colonial Mfg. Co. of Zeeland, Mich. It is approximately 84 inches tall. What would be the value for insurance purposes?
— M.B., Rockford, Mich.

A Your tall-case clock was made in the 1920s. Similar examples can sell for around $2,000.

Q This antique medicine bottle came from my grandmother. It is frosted and marked McKesson. What do you think the value is?
— B.A.P., Haleyville, Ala.

A Collectors of old medicine bottles would love your bottle. If it had the original stopper, the price would be higher. The company was founded in New York City in 1833 and was renamed McKesson & Robbins in 1853. So your bottle dates to some time between those dates. It could sell to a collector in its present
condition for $75.

Q I would appreciate any information on this all-wood safe I found in a carport, covered with a tarp.
— H.L.S., Tujunga, Calif.

A Safes for home and business use have been made in America since the 1820s in a variety of metals and wood. Yours appears to have been made in the late 19th century, judging by the legs and style. There are serious buyers and sellers on the Internet. Yours could sell for $500 or more.

Anne Gilbert is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of eight antiques and collectibles books, and is well known for her lectures to business and professional groups. She is a member of the Newspaper Features Council and Society of Illustrators. She can be reached via e-mail at

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