Someone recently asked me how to tell if their mechanical Uncle Sam bank, very much like the one shown here, is a reproduction. I told them, in all honesty, it's a real long shot that it would be deemed authentic. After all, these banks can sell for more than $20,000 at auction if they're properly authenticated. In an instance like this, after doing your own cursory research to rule out obvious fakes that don't look identical to the real deal, it's well worth the money to hire a professional appraiser to evaluate the piece. Another option is to submit detailed photos of your bank to a major auction house to get their opinion. If they're interested in examining the piece in person, there's a good chance you have a valuable treasure rather than a near-worthless reproduction.