December 19th, 2018 Holiday Catalog (#51)
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This lot is closed. Bidding ended on 12/20/2018.
Designed by James H. Bowen and distributed by the J. & E. Stevens Company, the Darktown Battery bank is a famous if not controversial piece of 19th Century Americana. While some see it as as a tribute to America’s first professional Negro Baseball League, others point to the heavily stereotyped appearance of the figures, common for the racial insensitivity of the time. The “National Colored Baseball League" was formed in 1887. It was the formation of the this league that probably influenced the Stevens Company to produce the Darktown Battery bank a year later, "battery" referring to the combination of a pitcher and catcher. It's one of the most collectible pieces of the late 19h Century for several reasons, first and foremost is its crossover appeal to baseball, Black Americana, cast iron toy and bank collectors, but also because of the sophisticated mechanism on which it operates. Place the coin in the pitcher's hand and he slings it toward the catcher, who moves his head forward and deposits the money as the batter lifts his arms and turns his head to watch the pitch. A lot of moving parts yet remarkably resilient, as you'd expect from a heavy cast iron creation. There is typical discoloration and paint loss on the surfaces and admirably good red and yellow color for it's age. One of the banks is fully operational, while one of them the pitchers arm has been jammed and the other one the pitchers base is slightly off causing his arm to not stay in the position to “throw” the coin.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $250
Price Realized: $2,052
Number Bids: 17
Auction closed on Thursday, December 20, 2018.
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