Sunday, April 20, 2014

Banthrico Coin Bank Towers

A few Banthrico coin bank souvenir building are replicas of towers. The Tower Federal Savings coin bank made by Banthrico is not a replica of the bank building, but a miniature of the stone water tower where the bank was located. The Western Springs Water Tower in Western Springs, Illinois is 112.5 feet (34.3 m) tall and 36.5 feet (11.1 m) in diameter. Construction on the tower began in 1892 and finished in now a museum and stands 112.5 feet (34.3 m) tall and 36.5 feet (11.1 m) in diameter. Construction on the tower began in 1892 and finished in 1893. The Riverside National Bank is also a Water Tower in Riverside, Illinois. Designed in 1869 by William LeBaron Jenney, the water tower has become the symbol of Riverside that is used as a logo for the village government. A bank named San Joaquin Bank is actually a replica of The Beale Memorial Clock Tower, which was a gift to the City of Bakersfield, California. Dedicated on April 2, 1904, the clock tower originally stood in the center of the intersection at Chester Avenue and 17th Street in downtown Bakersfield. In the summer of 1952, a series of earthquakes shook Kern County causing extensive damage to the clock tower. The clock tower was demolished in the quake’s aftermath. Only the original clock works, bell, iron stairway, balcony railings and arch grillwork were saved.  In 1961, a group of local citizens formed the Beale Memorial Clock Tower Restoration Committee to build a replica of the clock tower. The original pieces of the clock tower were incorporated into the rising masonry. The reconstructed clock tower was dedicated at the Kern County Museum on December 13, 1964. A coin bank labeled UNI is a replica of The Campanile on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa located in Cedar Falls, Iowa. This last one is actually made by the company, Cutting Edge, which purchased Banthrico molds and is reproducing some of the coin banks. Do you know of other tower coin banks? 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Horse-Mounted Monument Souvenirs & Replicas

Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Paul Revere, George Washington and other military leaders have been memorialized atop a horse. Some miniature replicas of these statues include a plinth or base to the monument, while others do not. Displayed here are some of the many variations of souvenir monuments and memorials to the mount and rider. The equestrian statue monument, with a horse-mounted rider, dates back to ancient Rome, when military leaders and emperors commissioned bronze statues to emphasize their leadership roles. The only remaining equestrian statue in Rome is that of Marcus Aurelius on Capitoline Hill.
During the Renaissance, here was a resurgence of equestrian statues and the style made its way to the United States in the 1850’s. The art form became less popular when horses lost their status as work and war animals to mechanical forms of war in the 20th century. Ever wonder why the horses on monuments have different leg positions? There are many beliefs regarding horse statue memorials and the meaning of raised legs. Legend has it that if the horse has one leg raised, the rider was harmed during the battle. If the horse raised upright on its hind legs, the rider is said to have died in battle, and if all four hooves are on the ground, the rider survived the battle unharmed.
 While some statues do follow that tradition, maybe out of coincidence, many statues do not so this may just be a common misconception.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Great Sphinx of Giza Souvenir Replicas

Ever wonder why many souvenirs of the Great Sphinx of Giza only represent the head? Perhaps the reason is this:  When Napoleon ‘re-discovered’ the Sphinx in 1798, it was buried in sand up to its neck. While his engineers attempted to excavate it, there was just too much sand for them to contend with. The technology to remove and keep the sand away wouldn’t be available until the 1920s. Some souvenirs do now show the head and full body of the sphinx. The sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the face of the Pharaoh Khafra. The Great Sphinx is one of the world's largest and oldest statues but basic facts about it, such as when it was built, and by whom, are still debated. Some people believe the head was originally a lion that was later re-carved as a human.  What happened to the nose? The nose on the face is missing and an examination of the Sphinx's face shows that long rods or
chisels were hammered into the nose, one down from the bridge and one beneath the nostril, then used to pry the nose off. The Arab historian al-Maqrīzī, writing in the 15th century, attributes the loss of the nose to iconoclasm by Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, a Sufi Muslim from the khangah of Sa'id al-Su'ada. In AD 1378, upon finding the local peasants making offerings to the Sphinx in the hope of increasing their harvest, Sa'im al-Dahr was so outraged that he destroyed the nose, and was hanged for vandalism.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MIniature Buildings on Set of New Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Heeeeere's, Jimmy!  Last night was the premiere of The Tonight Show with its new host, Jimmy Fallon, new location, New York City, and new stage set. I'm sure you architecture fans noticed the new Manhattan skyline behind his desk. Thanks to Kenny A. for alerting me to this. The 3-D miniature buildings appear to be made of wood and are highlighted with spot lights. Classy set for the new host. I wonder who built them?

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Science of Washington D.C.'s Monuments

PBS's Digital Studios help us understand why we building monuments and the materials we use to build them. From describing the gabbro of the Vietnam wall to explaining the Lincoln Memorial's marble and the red sandstone of the Smithsonian Castle. Check out the video below to learn more and have a new perspective on the history of our buildings and monuments. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Horse Guards Parade Building Desk

Check out the fine craftsmanship of this Horse Guards’ Parade Desk with a prominent replica of the Horse Guards Building on top. Crafted from walnut and Bombay rosewood, the desk features six drawers, two of which depict a mounted horse guard with inlays. The Horse Guards Building is a Palladian-style building between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade in London, England. If you are interested in owning one…hurry, because this desk is a limited edition series of only 3. Previously, I wrote about another architectural desk

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Souvenir Shopping in Europe: Steven C’s Report

Fellow collector Steven C. also traveled to Europe and added a few buildings to his ever-growing collection. “My wife and I did almost the same trip about 18 months ago and had the same discovery that most of the buildings offered are resin. We did not do Germany, but did the other 3 countries. Above is a picture of what we found in gift shops, antique shops, and flea markets. I usually don't buy resin, but I did buy one of Schonbrunn in Vienna. On the front row, the Egyptian ashtray I found at the Escheri Flea Market (thanks to Bob Curtiss recommendation) in Budapest along with the 3 Russian buildings on the back row (large silver metal and 2 glass ones). The St. Stephen's Basilica from Budapest is sandstone. The next 3 are St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna - the first plastic sold in the bookstore of the cathedral and the other 2 metal found at street vendors. Then the resin Schonbrunn Palace from Vienna. On the back row, the first 5 are all metal - the first 2 are the Petrine Hill obs tower (Prague's Eiffel Tower), the next one is the Astronomical Clock from Prague, and then 2 versions of Budapest's Liberty Statue (only saw these at one high end gift shop right across from St Stephen's). Next are the 3 Russian pieces and then one we got for our son in Amsterdam on our layover flying home.” – Steve C. 
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