Q: I have a cast iron Speaking Dog mechanical bank. If you put a coin on the tray in the girl’s hand, her arm moves, the coin falls into the bank, and the dog opens and closes his mouth and wags his tail. Can you tell me when it was made and what it’s worth?

A: The Speaking Dog mechanical bank was designed and patented by Charles G. Shepard and Peter Adams, Jr. in 1885. The cast iron bank was made by Shepard Hardware Co. of Buffalo, New York, until 1892 and after that by J. & E. Stevens Co. of Cromwell, Connecticut. It was also made by John Harper & Co. Ltd. of Willenhall, England, about 1902. Reproductions were made by the Grey Iron Casting Co. of Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania, as part of an advertising campaign for The Book of Knowledge, an encyclopedia. Some of the banks were made of aluminum from a mold cast from an original bank owned by Grolier, the publisher of The Book of Knowledge.  The reproduction banks were given out by lending institutions from 1957 until 1959. They came with a “Certificate of Authenticity.” Grey Iron continued to make reproduction banks in cast aluminum until 1967. Reproductions in aluminum and cast iron have been made by other companies, both in the United States and in the Far East for several years. They are slightly smaller than the original version, and the colors may be different. The original iron bank came with a brown dog and a girl in a red or blue dress. The blue dress version is rarer and one sold for over $14,000 a few years ago. You have a reproduction bank. Original Speaking Dog banks have sold for $500 to more than $2,000 this year. The Book of Knowledge reproduction banks sell online for as little as $15 to about $70.