Catalogs are very useful tools for collectors who want to know more about the items they collect. A catalog can help date when an item was made and in some cases it can also be used to determine who made it.

Several collector books, such as THE PENNY BANK BOOK by Andy & Susan Moore, include copies of catalog pages for reference to enhance their usefulness as research tools.

A number of catalogs have been reproduced, and can be obtained from secondary source online.  Original catalogs can also occasionally be found, but they are more expensive. Some Universities and Museums have reference libraries that include period catalogs that may be viewed at no cost.  There is typically a nominal fee to copy for personal use; however, if the intent is to republish the material, be sure to obtain the proper release.

An excellent reference for researching what is available at various public and private libraries throughout the word is WorldCat (

Below you will find links to catalog pages I have collected that are related to safe banks.

Trade Catalog:

The term “Trade catalog” derives from the expression “to the trade,” and the materials were originally produced either by the manufacturers who made the product or wholesalers, also referred to as ‘jobbers’, for their salesmen to market to retailers.

Known trade catalogs that feature cast iron safe banks include:


Manufacturers Catalog:

  • Arcade Manufacturing Company

  • Champion

  • Columbia Grey Iron Company

  • Grey Iron Casting company

  • Kenton

  • Kyser & Rex

  • Nicol & Company

  • Wm Shimer, Son & Co.

  • J. E. Stevens Company

  • Wing

Jobbers Catalog:

  • Baltimore Bargain House

  • Butler Brothers

Mail-Order Catalog:

Mail-order shopping in the area of consumer goods entered a period of growth in the 1880s, when mail-order houses began to fiercely compete with local stores. A mail-order catalog is a publication containing a list of general merchandise from a company for retail sale. With the advent of mail order, consumers could get attractive goods and prices whether they lived in the middle of Manhattan or a remote rural setting.  The postal system allowed direct-mail companies to operate on a national basis. With economies of scale working in their favor, mail order houses could undercut the pricing of local stores.

Known mail-order catalogs that feature cast iron safe banks include:


  • Montgomery Ward

  • Sears

  • Marshall Fields

  • John M. Smyth

  • A. C. McClurg