Delving into the deep dark recesses of the past, I am curious how many know of Breyer’s first attempt at a children’s toy. The My Money Manager – learn to manage your allowance and have fun at the same time! What a fun concept!
This is actually a re-purposing of an older Breyer product – the Cigarette Host. Introduced around 1950 it was supposed to be an attractive place for the sophisticated smoker to store several brands of cigarettes. You could label the drawers with the name of the cigarette brand for easy location when the urge to smoke struck. The concept was not well-received, and like most companies, the research and development department went to work to find another use for the product.
The concept of using this product as a bank was invented, and the marketing team got busy advertising the ‘edutainment’ value of the idea. It was available in green and red, and came with a free booklet “Grow a Self-Reliant Child”. Apparently children were not thrilled, and it was retired by early 1953, but there is evidence of its existence – advertisements and even a (very) few examples in collections.
Here we see a full-page ad for the bank. Interesting choice of features to emphasize – it’s proven for budgeting, to teach intelligent spending? Yeesh, parents might fall for it (commended by Parents Magazine), but kids likely were only interested in the spending and presents drawers. It is described as a character-builder for kindergarten through high school. I have NO idea why that would not be popular in the toy aisle…
Yep – a dark-green My Money Manager in the plastic! This sucker is HEAVY! It is made of stamped plastic, not injection molded, and is very solidly made. It has the signature drawer labels and even shows wear from use ( I am sure the contribution drawer got chipped from such frequent use)!
This shows the bank from the top so you can see where the money goes in. It is designed to look like file drawers, so the tops of the drawers are off white with diagonal impressions to look like the tops of files. The drawers will only slide out this far unless you ‘unlock’ the drawer to help resist the temptation to take an early withdrawal.
Here we see how the tops of the ‘file folders’ lift out. The little metal tabs at the front of the drawers turn to unlock the drawer and allow for removal when you want to take out your money. You take out the drawer and remove the top to take your money out. Of course the diligent child will be depositing the money to their savings account, right?
Here is the bottom of the bank. You can see the slots where the latching mechanisms slide when opening and closing the drawers and where the lock turn is (that diamond at the bottom of the slot). No mold marks anywhere on the piece, you just have to know what it is. I saw a copy of the ad in the room of Breyer History Diva at Breyerfest several years ago, showed it to mom, and she found one! It is possible to find very rare stuff in the wild, you just have to know what to look for.