Dear Lord, did I love this little contraption at the age of eight — the vintage novelty wind-up “coffin bank.” I saved my allowance to purchase it from the catalog of The Johnson Smith Company. (And that amazing fabled catalog should eventually be the subject of another Throwback Thursday post.) I endlessly played with my coffin bank and verbosely demonstrated it for anyone polite enough to feign interest. I think my zeal for this cheaply made mechanical tin toy equaled that of Gollum for Tolkien’s Ring.
The item is apparently still popular with collectors, but is also easily found online for a few dollars. I’m a little unsure about how old the toy’s design is. I got mine in … 1983 or so? Some websites categorize it as a “70’s toy,” while others name it as an artifact of the 50’s or 60’s.
It was manufactured in Japan; the occasionally awkward wording on the box and on the side of the bank betrays that, I think … Yes, it is “mysterious” and “hilarious,” but I’m not sure it is a “party stopper.” (Did they mean “party starter?”)
You can see it demonstrated in the video below. The wisdom of age finally reveals to me that the sound it made is profoundly nerve-grating. My poor parents.