Sunday, December 03, 2006


Some believe collecting is a curse and for those of us who fall prey to it's virus, it is generally a life long affliction!

My particular interest in cars began when my eyes first lit on the little car bank that my parent’s bank was selling for $2.95. $2.95 was a lot of money back in the forties and it may be that if my parents had bought me that little bank, that would have been the last of it! But they didn't and my little mind fixed on that bank and decided that someday I was going to have a million of those all my own!

Well, I didn't get quite to a million, but I still have a few years left to accomplish that goal.

The little bank I was later to discover, was a Banthrico Bank, and is probably one of the most unsung collector car models in the USA.

There were probably several million made, but I seldom see more than two or three at the swap meets or car shows. Although a recent search on eBay turned up over 100 for sale. But since there are over 140 million registered eBayers, it still seems like a small amount of Banthricos for sale!

All of the Banthrico banks that are made of metal (they make some of plastic and wood too) are hand made with the antique slush molding process one at a time, even today.

The company was first started in 1914 and was known then as the Strongheart Company and later as Banker's Thrift Company, which fell into bankruptcy during the Great Depression. It's assets were purchased by Joseph Eisendrath who changed the name to Banthrico Industries. In 1940 Banthrico purchased National Products, but the National name stayed on their products until 1951.

In 1949 Banthrico began to furnish promotional models for the auto dealers most of which were Chevrolets of which over 104,000 were made that first year.

Some of the first promos were painted, but for the most part, they are bronzetone plated, with the exception of the newer models, which are pewtertone plated. They currently make around 50 different models.

If you are a beginner collector, you could do far worse than to start your collection with Banthrico Banks.

Just for the record, there are a lot of other Banthrico Banks that aren’t automotive, there are busts of presidents and models of buildings & etc., so Banthrico, while being a good place to start, just may become a life long passion for you too!

If you want a new one for a gift, check out

BS Brash’s email address is
Copyright BS Brash 2006

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