- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

BLAIRSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Today’s investors may ponder how to portion their funds among stocks and bonds. But an exhibit currently on display at the Historical Society of the Blairsville Area museum hearkens back to a time when many people squirreled away their hard-earned cash in a coin bank.

Banks of all shapes and sizes can be seen in the display, from simple tins with a coin slot to more elaborate cast iron pieces.

The display was the brainchild of Hazel Johnston, vice president of the historical society and chairman of its programs committee.

A bank came in as a donation to the museum and caught her attention, she said: “I thought it was neat and thought people might have some around.”

Joy Fairbanks, who helped put the display together, said she was intrigued by some of the pieces that area residents loaned to the museum.

“They had clever little ways to get people to save money,”?Fairbanks noted.

“A dime a day keeps it up to date”?is inscribed on a bank that includes a built-in calendar counter. Each time a dime is inserted, the counter flips to the next day, a reminder to put a coin in the bank each day of the year.

Several banks in the display also serve as promotional items. Fairbanks said she and her husband picked up a bear-shaped Shoney’s bank from one of that chain’s restaurants. Other examples include a bank based on Mr. Peanut, the famous Planters marketing symbol, and a tin bank heralding the name of Hormel’s pre-cooked meat product, Spam.

Others were used to advertise local financial institutions, which distributed the coin banks as a way to get their name into a household and to encourage children to save money.

One dated 1814 comes from the First National Bank of Glen Campbell and is on loan from Todd Getty.

Another bank in the shape of a house was produced by Marion Center National Bank with “Save for a Home”?printed on the side. The circa 1946 piece was loaned by Getty’s mother, Joanne.

Another version, from the Farmers and Miners Bank of Jacksonville/Kent, is shaped like a miner’s lunch bucket and was printed with a promotion offering 4 percent interest on savings accounts. The bank belonged to John R. McIntire, Johnston’s grandfather, who died a year before her birth.

“I was surprised when I found that one,”?she said. “I knew my grandfather had something to do with the bank but didn’t know what for sure.”?

This past summer, she found paperwork that included stationery printed with her grandfather’s name on it, listing him as vice president of that financial institution.

Accompanying some of the coin banks are old photographs of the local savings institutions themselves. The images include the original Blairsville Savings and Trust, which was organized in December 1925 in a new building at Market and North Walnut streets, now the site of the Sheetz convenience store.

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