Cottages. To some, that word conjures visions of ginger bread, Hansel & Gretel or Hobbit dwellings from Lord of the Rings. Building Collector reader Bob E. has a sub collection of miniature metal cottage houses as part of his larger collection of miniature skyscrapers and stadiums. He wrote some information about the charming little homes to share with all of you.
“Most people think of their cottages about this time of year and I have been too. Sorry to say, my cottages are the souvenir kind. I have been picking up those little American Art Works and Rehberger cottages whenever I can find them -- within a reasonable price. These appear to be the first souvenir buildings that were mass-produced and then customized for the buyer with the addition of a nameplate at the time of purchase. With the advent of these, businesses with less means could hand out a quality give-a-way to keep their name in front of the public. The United States has been an ad man’s dream since its inception, and for me this represents a milestone in that part of our "culture." Mass-producing individuality had arrived. The range and variety of the businesses that used these is what keeps me interested. I have 23 of them at present. Unlike the financial institutions that dominated the larger true to life models of other buildings, these were handed out by lumber yards, appliance stores, contractors, insurance companies, and of course banks. Most are coin banks but I have some that are paperweights as well. There are 11 States and 2 countries represented on that shelf. I have one from South America that appears to be a Rehberger copy. It is very well cast and the detail is what you would expect, however, the walls are very thick and the metal seems to have a much higher lead content. It appears there never was a trap on the bottom. On the roof is the legend, "Ahorre para construir su hogar." Or as we say "save for to build your home." So far, I have found three styles of the houses and many finish variations. I know there are also plastic and tin versions out there, but I will stick the cast metal for now. Other than the little bit of fact and lot of conjecture above, I really do not know much about these charming little banks. If anyone has any fun facts to know and tell, I would be very glad to learn more about them.’ – Bob E.