Cast-Iron Bank

Q: I have inherited a cast-iron bank from the Victorian era. It is the Little Red Riding Hood bank. What can you tell me about it, and how much do you think it is worth? I have been offered $5,000 for it by a collector. — Sam, Conway, Arkansas

A: I am always cautious when I receive a question about cast-iron banks, since many reproductions have flooded the marketplace in recent years. I found your bank referenced in “The Official Price Guide to Mechanical Banks” by Dan Morphy and published by House of Collectibles books. According to Morphy, the “Little Red Riding Hood” bank was produced during the 1880s by W.S. Reed and Company in Leominister, Massachusetts. When a coin was inserted in the slot and the lever activated, Grandma’s mask pivots forward exposing the wolf’s face as Red Riding Hood moves her head backward and the coin falls into the bank.

Morphy thinks your bank is quite rare and valuable. How rare and valuable? He believes it is worth somewhere in the $15,000 to $120,000 range depending, of course, on condition.

Q: I love older paperbacks and have been collecting them for at least 20 years. Most of the ones in my collection were purchased at garage sales and at flea markets for less than a dollar each. There is one I am especially interested about, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” the Armed Service Edition No. 862. — Charlie, Pensacola, Florida

A: The Armed Service Editions are difficult to date. I suspect the one you have was issued in about 1945 or 1946. Your paperback is valued in the $45 to $325 range, again, depending on condition.

Q: My uncle brought home a bracelet from Germany after World War II. He gave it to me. How can I find information about it, especially its value? — Anon.

A: If you are truly interested in your bracelet and its value, it’s time to contact either a professional appraiser or an expert. Don’t rely on a neighbor or friend. This service might not be free, so ask for a verbal appraisal, which is always less expensive. Keep in mind that researching an item takes both time and expertise.

 Write to Larry Cox in care of KFWS, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to Due to the large volume of mail received, he cannot personally answer all reader questions, nor do appraisals. Do not send any materials requiring return mail.

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