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Be Wise Owl Bank

By Barb Chamberlain

Do you ever think about something that you have and check websites out to see what they have to say about your piece? That happened to me recently when I thought about an owl bank that we have. So, I checked on Dave Doty’s website and he had it listed but didn’t know the maker or much more about it. So, then I checked on Carnival Glass 101 and Hooked on Carnival, and neither of them had listed the owl bank. Granted, it might be a somewhat more recent piece of carnival glass, but with the rich marigold iridescence featuring some pinks and blues (it definitely isn’t flashed iridescence), I thought it was worth doing some more research.

Mrs. Hartung had the Be Wise Owl bank listed in her Book V and stated that it differed from the owl bank that she had pictured in her book III. She said the major difference was that the coin slot was prominently raised above the top of the owl’s head besides being a taller and slenderer owl.

It is just under seven inches tall measuring in at six and three-fourths inches. Mrs. Hartung and Carwile and Edwards describe it as having an embossed “4” on the underside of it. Our Be Wise Owl bank has a number 2 embossed on the base.

Mr. Owl has very well designed feathers and features. The mold maker was rather skilled. BE WISE is embossed on the panel at the bottom on the front.

As you can see, the Be Wise Owl bank is detailed with feather work.

It was called Be Wise Owl bank because of the Be Wise embossed on the bottom edge of the front.

More internet research uncovered the maker of the bank. It has been found with an Anchor Hocking mark on the bottom of some of the marigold vases. Ours does not have this marking. The range of dates is rather ambiguous or long lasting. I have found dates ranging from being produced in the twenties through the fifties, so the age hasn’t been determined for sure.

I found a 2006 auction listing on the internet of three Be Wise Owl banks ranging in color from a marigold carnival glass, and two non-iridized ones in ruby red and in amber. These three sold together for $1300 at that auction. I’m thinking that red and amber—not carnival, of course, must be a lot rarer than the marigold carnival glass bank. Perhaps the amber bank is the rarest of all.

I found reference to a red bank having a Royal Ruby Anchor Glass mark on the bottom of the base. There really wasn’t a lot of information out there, but at least we now know who manufactured them.

It would be interesting to see if there are any other colors of iridized Be Wise Owl banks. I know there is a range from light marigold to dark marigold known. If you have any other information or photos to share, please write to me at or 124 E. Honey Creek Dr., Manchester, IA 52057. I will share your finds in a future issue of The Carnival Pump. I would also like to have any other style of iridized owl bank photos, if you have one, and if you do, do you have any information on it?

This article first appeared in the ICGA Pump in the March 2018 issue and is reprinted with permission.