Frank Polk

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Frank Polk

Postby Oatmeal54 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:21 am

My Great Uncle owned the Bonanza Land and Cattle Co. (Bonanza Casino) in Virginia City, Nevada back in the late 60's, early 70's. The casino had a large number of Frank Polk hand carved slots being used at the time. My Grandfather spent some time out there doing some renovations and construction of an apartment under the casino and upon returning to the ranch in Texas in 1969, brought me a hand carved Miner that had been used in the casino in earlier years, but had been stored in a void under the casino for an unknown period. It has the Pace shell in it but the slot mechanism had been removed. I actually went out and swamped floors at the Bonanza for several months in 1972 when I was 17 before joining the Navy. I remember seeing another one under the casino when I was there but don't remember much about it. I've had the one that Grandfather brought me ever since but knew very little about its history until I started doing some research. All I had ever been told was a story that there was an old guy that used to drink a lot that carved them and sold them to the casinos in Reno and Virginia City. I have read about Frank Polk and it appears that the time frame that I have had the miner and the fact that it had already been stored under the casino for a number of years would indicate that it isn't a Sanchez carving or a Shafer reproduction. Any thoughts?
Grandfather also brought home what I now know to be a Skelly "Pre Polk" carved head and plastic hat and a hand carved wooden Bar Maid that apparently sat on top of a machine. She is still a mystery to me as all the information I have been able to find on the figures have been about ones made of plastic. "Tilda" as I named her is heavy and carved of wood. I would appreciate any information that anyone might have about anyone that may have been carving bar maids out of wood pre 70's or 60"s. Thanks!
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Tilda base
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Tilda
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Re: Frank Polk

Postby Memories » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:38 pm

Hello.
I have an OLD hand carved original full figure slot machine..Not made by Frank Polk.
Phone me and I will give you info. on it.
(716) 341 9819
Memories
 
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Re: Frank Polk

Postby Swami » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:57 am

Hello, Wow...What a Great Post. Your Miner is 100% a Genuine Frank Polk. I looked through my Polk Parts and found Two Mills mechanisms from the Bonanza but I didn't have a mech for the Pace. The good news is, that is an inexpensive machine and you should have no trouble finding one. You are also in need of the Gold Pan that would be mounted to the front of your Miner. I will post some pictures for your reference.

Regarding your Bar Maid: Frank Polk worked for Harry Skelly who owned the Character Manufacturing Company in Reno. Originally the plan was to Carve some Female Figures to represent Cigarette Girls. Polk carved a few Prototypes, which is what you have. Eventually they changed direction and went with the Cocktail Waitress. Polk carved it and Skelly commissioned a Mannequin Company in Los Angeles to make 20 of them. They were made of plastic. They were all exactly the same, however they were painted differently and had various wigs so they would all appear unique.

If you want to discuss anything further, or if you have an interest in selling please contact me.

Thanks,
Chris
949-683-1392
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Re: Frank Polk

Postby Beads » Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:00 pm

Chris,
Very nice collection and info. Since your a big Jennings collector, did they make any figures for Jennings slots?
Thanks Bill
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Re: Frank Polk

Postby Anglobritish » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:11 am

2. Frank Polk Story-10 001.jpg
2. Frank Polk Story-4 001.jpg
Me with my Polk Figures 001.jpg
A Collection of Frank Polk Charactors in Bonanza Club VC.jpg
Freddy with Ron Brookes.jpg
Priceless, You have the most significant "Find" on this forum in the past few years, your Frank Polk Waitress bust must be the only one to exist, as a researcher of Frank Polk machines and a past owner of 3 of the Frank Polk collectables, (Lost in a fire in 1981) I know the true value of his work, I would suggest you do not be tempted by anyone offering you what you think is a great price, I suggest you place these items in the Las Vegas coin machine auction with a reserve of $4,000 for the bust and $40,000 for the pace miner, do not worry about the missing Pace mechanism, it is the early carvings of Frank Polk one of the most famous American Cowboy Sculpture Artist of our time.

Your post is probably the most important finds this Forum as ever had, and shows just how important this forum is to collectors of coin operated machines.

Do not part with these items that easily.

Freddy Bailey
The Official British Coin Machine Historian
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Re: Frank Polk

Postby YourBestBet » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:12 pm

Swami wrote:Hello, Wow...What a Great Post. Your Miner is 100% a Genuine Frank Polk. I looked through my Polk Parts and found Two Mills mechanisms from the Bonanza but I didn't have a mech for the Pace. The good news is, that is an inexpensive machine and you should have no trouble finding one. You are also in need of the Gold Pan that would be mounted to the front of your Miner. I will post some pictures for your reference.

Regarding your Bar Maid: Frank Polk worked for Harry Skelly who owned the Character Manufacturing Company in Reno. Originally the plan was to Carve some Female Figures to represent Cigarette Girls. Polk carved a few Prototypes, which is what you have. Eventually they changed direction and went with the Cocktail Waitress. Polk carved it and Skelly commissioned a Mannequin Company in Los Angeles to make 20 of them. They were made of plastic. They were all exactly the same, however they were painted differently and had various wigs so they would all appear unique.

If you want to discuss anything further, or if you have an interest in selling please contact me.

Thanks,
Chris
949-683-1392


Chris - your collection is incredible! Are those all made by Polk? How long have you been collecting them?
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Re: Frank Polk

Postby rtmccurdy » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:57 pm

Also...don't forget to view the huge collection of Polk slot machine figures in the Pollack Advertising Museum along with over 150 Baranger Jewelry Store Displays! All can be viewed on line. Robert
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Re: Frank Polk

Postby Oatmeal54 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:50 am

Guys,
Thank you so much for your interest and responses to my post. I also spoke with Nr. John Herman who confirmed that mine were original Frank Polk carvings. I'm in the process of trying to learn all I can about my carvings and Frank Polk. I am also looking around for a Pace machine that might fit in my casing. The information that some of you have provided has been extremely helpful and I very well may be chatting with some of you as I go along.
Thanks so much!
Jason K.
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Re: Frank Polk

Postby SLOT DYNASTY » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:23 am

Jason:
You spoke with some who knows. John Herman has been one of the top authorities on Polk Figures for many years.
He has had some fine examples in his collection. He has also specialized in the history of Caille Uprights as well.
Bill
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