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Ives Santa bank carries low estimate of $12,000

An Ives Santa still bank is one familiar bank set to sell Oct. 14-15, when RSL Auction Co. offers 1,000 lots representing 110+ year of bank collecting.
Painted Santa bank

Ives polychrome-painted Santa with removable Christmas tree still bank, est. $12,000- $18,000. (All photos courtesy RSL Auction Co.)

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. – Three top-notch collections with prestigious provenance headline RSL Auction’s Oct. 14-15 sale of still bank examples plus select clockwork, tin and cast-iron toys and mechanical banks. It is titled “Spectacular Stills: The Collections of Ralph Dye, Tom Kellogg and Tim Steckbeck." Approximately 1,000 lots jointly represents 110+ years of active collecting.

“The name value in this sale tells bidders everything they need to know,” said RSL partner Ray Haradin. “Most of the still banks were previously in the collection of Ralph Dye, a judge from McConnellsville, Ohio who was a founding member of the Still Bank Collectors Club of America. Entering the hobby in the 1960s, Ralph became well-versed in the topic. He always focused on early banks of extreme rarity. And to find the best examples, he traveled extensively and attended countless auctions.”

Before he passed away, Ralph Dye sold his banks to a fellow collector. The collector is the consignor of 300 of the banks formerly owned by Dye – to RSL.

October's sale also features a 200-lot assemblage of still bank specimens amassed by Ohioan Tom Kellogg. “Tom is another collector who goes for rarity and has a fantastic eye for spotting it. He became interested in banks in the 1980s, and his collection is distinguished by its many exceptional architectural banks,” Haradin noted.

Noted Names in Collectible Banks

Among the names deemed royalty in the bank-collecting world is “Steckbeck”. The third featured collection – the still banks of Tim Steckbeck of Scottsdale, Arizona – adds gilt-edged quality to the Oct. 14-15 auction triumvirate. Stephen and Marilyn Steckbeck, parents of Tim, first made collecting news back in 2007 when their mechanical bank collection came to auction. “While Steve was building his mechanical bank collection, Tim would go along with his father to auctions and shows. He quietly put together his own still bank collection, mostly during the 1980s and 90s,” Haradin said. “Now it’s Tim’s turn to showcase his great collection of around 100 stills, all of which are in exemplary condition.”

There are so many rare and unusual discoveries in the selection of banks with Dye provenance, it’s

Hook Behind horse-drawn toy

Early Ives ‘Hook Behind’ horse-drawn tin toy, est. $20,000-$30,000

challenging to predict which will rise highest during the auction competition, but there is already interest in a pair of Rocking Chair banks. As a standard version, it carries an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000 into the sale. A previously unknown larger variation, which is believed to be the only one of its kind in existence, may see between $4,000 and $6,000.

The Saturday session opens with one of Tim Steckbeck’s top prizes, a large, one-of-a-kind Saddle Horse on Wheeled Base. This rare equine beauty, which was chosen by Haradin and his business partners, Steven and Leon Weiss, to grace the cover of RSL’s auction catalog, was made by the revered Connecticut firm Ives, Blakeslee & Co. The bank has survived the test of time in pristine condition and is expected to make $25,000-$35,000 at auction.

Eying Still Bank and Spelter Bank Examples

A polychrome-painted Ives Santa bank, featuring a removable Christmas tree, is also a highlight of Steckbeck’s collection. The perennial gift-giver clutches a variety of toys and boasts exquisite paint detail and highlights. It's estimate is $12,000 to $18,000.

A rare Boston State House still bank, while small in size, is very desirable to collectors. A pristine example of this wonderful bank, with provenance from the Tom Kellogg collection, is estimated at $14,000-$18,000.

Spelter banks, which have captured collectors’ attention in recent years, continue to increase in value. Of the grouping offered in RSL’s sale, a solid highlight is the standing Prussian Officer, estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

Prussian spelter bank

Standing Prussian Officer spelter bank, est. $4,000-$6,000.

Extremely high-conditioned cast-iron mechanical banks will make an appearance. A fine example of The National Bank is one of the mechanicals that may vie for top lot. Painted white with blue and red trim, and with a bank teller visible through a front window, this coveted bank could pay off to the tune of $50,000-$70,000.

A superb US and Spain bank, which pits an American military cannon against a colorful Spanish ship, could sail into favorable bidding waters with its $40,000-$50,000 estimate.

An elusive Camera semi-mechanical bank depicting an old-fashioned model on tripod, could snap up a winning bid of $9,000-$12,000.

Toys Round Out Sale Offerings

The parade of early American toys is led by one of only two known Ives articulated Horse and Rider pull toys. When in motion, the toy cleverly replicates the action of a jockey bobbing atop a galloping horse. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000.

Another iconic Ives toy is the clockwork tin “Hook Behind,” designed as a horse-drawn carriage with the figure of a seated woman inside and the figure of a boy hooked behind the vehicle. Marketed around 1880 with a retail price of $5, its auction estimate is $20,000-$30,000.

High-quality cast-iron automotive toys include a Pickwick Nite Coach bus of unusual size and styling, an open-top double-decker touring bus, and several cabs finished in appealing but seldom-seen color schemes.

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through The RSL Auction gallery is located at 295 US Hwy. 22 East, Suite 204 West, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889. Watch for the “One Salem Square” sign. Gallery telephone: 908-823-4049.

For additional information on any item in sale or to organize a phone line for bidding, call Ray Haradin at 412-343-8733, Leon Weiss at 917-991-7352, or Steven Weiss at 212-729-0011. Email or or Online:

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