La Levantina

Maker unknown, Italy, c. 1920's (est.), 17". What I know about this would fit into a thimble, including the vintage. I think it's a 1920's-era vendor, but that's just an impression so I wouldn't want to bet a lot of money on that. A little, maybe, but not a lot. I bought this machine from a European collector who found a cache of 4---two with original paint and 2 repainted. He'd never seen one before, and neither had I, so we were both going by feel.

It appears to be of Italian origin, one of the few languages I don't speak or read (the others being those of South America, continental Europe, Asia, and Africa). I was intrigued by the design, which is assymetrical front-to-back as shown above. The base is shaped like a horseshoe, right down to the rivets that would hold the shoe to the hoof. The vending wheel is shaped to deliver bulk product.

The base is embossed as follows:


The brass tag containing the coin slot says the following:

Introdurre una monela
da cent. 20

I googled "La Levantina" thinking it might be horse-related, but the hits I translated had to do with culinary arts or travel. I don't know, maybe a levantina is a vegetable or resort, although I don't see a peanut machine being named after a vegetable. Then again, someone named a football team after a nut---and a Buckeye's not even a mean nut---so anything's possible.

The example pictured above is made of cast iron and appears to be 100% original except for the paint and maybe the feet. This example has a brass gate, but 2 others in the group of 4 had cast aluminum gates. I see no place for a lock except for a very small-diameter hole in the top of the center post, just above the nut holding the lid down. A lock with a very thin shaft could slide through that hole to lock down the lid, but I've not yet seen the lock that would fit this set-up.

If you know of any other examples of this model, I'd appreciate knowing about it.



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