Independence Hall Glass BankBy

Independence Hall Glass Bank

Many glass novelties were made for the United States Centennial Exposition of 1876 held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the more sought after items is a figural bank/candy container in the shape of Independence Hall. A confusing look-alike of this piece was reproduced in the 1970s and is often mistaken for the original. Genuine old pieces were made in both white milk glass and clear crystal. Old clear pieces are priced around $350 and up; milk glass, $400 and up.

Although many attribute the old piece to Gillinder Glass Co. which had an operating factory on the grounds of the exposition, this connection has never been proven. The source of the new version is also in doubt but thought to have been produced in the United States.

New and old differ in a number of details. The most obvious is the outline of the base. The base on old banks is perfectly rectangular; on new, the base is irregular. Coin slots on old banks are at a right angle to the ridge of the roof; coin slots on new banks are parallel to the roof. Closures on old are sliding tin covers. Closures on new are usually cardboard but be alert for home-made metal closures; whether metal or cardboard, the new closures do not slide.

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Fig. 1 Clear glass reproduction sold by B. Shackman & Co. in the 1970s. Note that the steeple rises from the back side.

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Fig. 2 Original clear glass Independence Hall (also made in milk glass). Note steeple rises from center.

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Fig. 3