by | Oct 18, 2014 | Artistic Endeavors, Favorite Finds | 52 comments

I keep a running list in the back of my mind of antiques I’d like to buy if ever the piece, price and timing are right.  Through the years, I’ve found some of those pieces…an industrial cart, a dress form, an ironstone cake pedestal to name a few.  One thing on that list was an antique cash register.  I thought it would be so fun to use at sales and events.  And honestly, it would just look amazing sitting on a counter.  Of course, I didn’t have a shop/studio space or a counter for that matter, until a few weeks ago.  And, just when the timing was right, I found a beautiful antique cash register, in working order, for an amazing price.  About a fourth of what they are usually priced when I spot them.

antique cash register | miss mustard seed

This beauty is everything I wanted…the ornate case, the wood base, the original glass case, functioning keys and the numbers that pop up…

antique cash register | miss mustard seed

antique cash register | miss mustard seed

antique cash register | miss mustard seed

antique cash register | miss mustard seed

antique cash register | miss mustard seed

 …and the drawer pops open and still has the wooden till and bill holders…

antique cash register | miss mustard seed

 According to the serial and model number, this machine was made in 1914…which means I acquired it in its 100th year!  As a lover of antiques, I get a little geeked out about stuff like that.

It’s basically, a really fancy, heavy cash drawer, since we’ll use an iPad for checking out customers, but it’s fun none-the-less.

And I love pressing the buttons each day I’m in the studio.  I just can’t help myself!  I love when the flag pops up, the drawer releases and that pretty cha-ching rings out!


  1. Julie

    I understand these quests so well. Last year for Christmas, the only thing my 13-year old daughter wanted was an old typewriter. I went looking, and the few I could find were well out of our price range. My mother called wanting ideas for her. When I told her what my daughter wanted, she said , “I have a few old typewriters in storage, I’ll bring them and she can choose one.” I really wasn’t expecting anything great. I thought she probably had a couple of old typewriters from the 60s or 70s. Well, two of them were exactly what I was expecting-ordinary old typewriters. But in a scuffed, square case was my grandfather’s 1919 Underwood. It was in perfect working order. Glass keys. Original case. Ribbon covers. And a little bell that tings at the end of a line. I love hearing her tap tapping away on the same keys my grandfather used. Our very own little ka-ching moment.

    • Sharon

      I love your ka-ching story, Julie. My 13 year old daughter wanted the same thing, but we still haven’t found one within our price range in Australia.

      • Jane Tomlinson

        My partner restores and has a large collection in Melbourne – what are you looking for and what would you like to spend?

  2. Kelly - Talk of the House

    Love Julie’s story at the top of the comments, and I do believe you hit the jackpot with your find!! Beautiful and perfect for your studio.

  3. Gail E

    What a gorgeous antique cash register!!!! It is perfect for your studio!

  4. Sue

    Seriously one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! Great find indeed 🙂

  5. Maureen

    Absolutely gorgeous piece! In our group shop they use a computer for sales but the old 3719register is keeper of the cash!

    • Maureen

      oops…erase the 3719

  6. jewelee

    Just gorgeous!

  7. Karen

    Marian that is truly a thing of beauty. I’m so happy you were able to find it It’ll look perfect in your studio. I wish things were still so beautifully made now.

  8. Dream Mom

    Wow, it’s just gorgeous! What a great find! Isn’t it something how these things happen at the most amazing times! It’s going to look fantastic on that counter.

  9. Ming

    It’s a beaut and so you! Enjoy it… loved it’s 100 years old and love Julie’s generational story!

  10. Danielle Andrew

    Absolutely gorgeous! You must be living right! What an amazing find!

  11. Suzan

    I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want one of these. I have seriously loved these since I was a very little girl. I have seen many but they have all been totally out of my price range. Lucky you!

  12. ellery

    Sigh, your amazing cash register make me long for a time when functional items were also beautiful….The world needs more beauty….

  13. Laurie

    My father has one of these. I always press on the keys to hear the ka-ching. It reminds me of Clarence in A Wonderful Life…”every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.”

    He restored his and I don’t like it as much. The old patina looks better.

    Now you have to be on the lookout for the National receipt box that sat along side the register. Two sides are glass and two sides are ornate metal with National on one of those sides. The top (hinged lid) is metal with a slot in it. It’s a great display piece. I use mine for old ribbon spools.

  14. phyllis henry

    A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Congratulations on your forever find.

  15. Gaylin

    Wow! It’s a beauty for sure,you deserve it! But man do I WANT it!

  16. mary young

    Marian, My parents came from Dayton, Ohio the home of National Cash Registers.
    So that was always in our vocabulary. Did you know that the marble slab is to test
    coins for counterfeit? I guess the fake coins made a certain sound……………
    Enjoy! I have my father’s portable typewriter/case from the 1920’s. It has all kinds
    of travel decals from Europe on the black case. I gave it to my son and he was thrilled.
    Sometimes it is hard to find ribbons but I found one.

  17. Stacey

    Fab find! I’m sure you like the aged finish, but if you ever decided to clean it up it will look fantastic.Years ago I worked in an antique shop & we completely refinished a National. It was one of the most satisfying projects I worked on there.

  18. Ellie LaJuett

    Great stories. I enjoy the hunt for just the right peice, for a great price. I guess that’s why we call them treasures.

  19. Jelena

    That’s a GORGEOUS cash register, Marian! I can’t believe it even works!
    Great find.

  20. Nanci Neenan


  21. Kathy Goodbread

    She’s a beaut! Love when the planets align and the perfect piece seems to drop from Heaven!

  22. Kirstin

    Is there a video to go with that sound? 🙂 Congrats on the beautiful find!

  23. Lindsay Eidahl

    What an amazing find! And, you have the perfect place for it now! YAY you!

  24. Jude

    I love that the largest key amount is $3!! Wow! A gorgeous find!

  25. ScrappyMama

    Oh, I love, love, LOVE this!! I have absolutely no “need” for a register but that sure doesn’t stop me from wanting one & caressing them when I see them in the antique shops…I’m not a huge fan of the word “need” anyway, so if I can ever find the right spot for 1 in my house, I’ll get one : D

  26. Wendy @ Zoey's

    It’s a beauty. A true piece of art 🙂

  27. Kris Burrill

    I agree whole heartedly with every post, I’ve always wanted one too, as well as half the stuff you have in your upcoming sale !!! Wish I could find these types of things around my area at sales – you are very blessed ~ It has been my dream like yours of a workspace like yours – it is so unreal that these things that have happened to you in the last month or two just seem to fall into place, and every one of us is probably saying wow I wish that would happen to me~but we enjoy reading & following your every move in painting, and furnishing your new space – I’m envious for sure but happy for you that it is all falling into sequence and you put the space to good work and the items you “find” and sell. Love your entire work ethic ~ and that you share something about it all with us EVERY DAY. Your posting is the first thing I look for when I turn on my computer each day. And as I’ve only started following you this past year, I enjoy going back and reading all the postings that show up on the bottom of the letter….keep up the EXCELLENT work!

  28. Diane

    Love, love your cash register. Especially the gorgeous details on the back. Just beautiful.
    I so understand your quest. I’ve been on many myself.

  29. Kim

    My father worked for the National Cash Register Co (NCR) in Dayton, Ohio, where I live just south of now. He had an old register when I was little, wish I still had!

  30. Jennifer

    Funny how a picture can bring back so many memories!!! My grandparents had a cash register at their home that looked exactly like yours! I used to play “Little House On The Prairie” (Olsen’s Mercantile) with it — I can still hear my grandmother gently reminding me not to slam the drawer too hard. Enjoy. She’s a beauty.

  31. Gwen

    The design on the body of this cash register are so cool! Maybe even inspiration for a similar hand painted design on some piece of furniture? I am glad you got a bucket list find!

  32. Terry Moore

    Oh how I love this register! My grandma had one of these in her beauty shop for 40+ years. One time, someone broke in and couldn’t get the drawer open so they just stole the whole thing. Police found it thrown in a ditch and brought it back to her. Sadly a corner of the metal had broken, but she used it anyway up until she retired! God works in ways we will never understand until the time is right like your register!

  33. Alice Crawford

    Sorry, I haven’t read the other comments yet but I just needed to say, don’t ever sell that!!! What a thing of beauty! I hope you realize what a BIG SCORE that was…and I have no idea what you paid for it. When I think that I just paid $200 just for the installation of a simple chandelier, whatever it cost was waaaaaay worth it.

    You did good girl. Real good.

  34. Alice Crawford

    OK, now I’ve read all of them. My caveat: don’t paint it or attempt to do any restoration. Many times, on The Antique Roadshow,66 items have lost their value because someone decided to “clean” an antique. Just recently a picture would have brought over $30,000 but somewhere down the line it had been cleaned and restored which brought the value down into the low teens.

  35. debm

    Brings back very fond memories of my uncle’s country store. Every now and then he would allow me to ring up a customer! Cha-ching. Kisses to you Uncle Harold:)

  36. Greer

    Last week we opened an abandoned self storage unit we own and there it was…and 1909 National cash register…looks very much like the one you found only bright brass It’s not in working order, and is the heaviest piece of matter I’ve ever seen concentrated in anything that size. In fact, the guy helping me clear out the storage unit is now “down with his back” after lifting it. It’s now sitting in my shop in an shopping cart because no one can lift it to get it out. Since yours is in working order, I have a question for you. When you lift the front curved section of mine there’s an allen wrench on the end of a small handle that rest in a small hole. Does yours have that, and if so can you tell me what it does? Since I can’t lift mine out of the cart I can’t get to the sides, back or bottom and I’m wondering if it unlocks the keys so they can be pressed. Dang this thing is heavy. If I ever get it out of the cart I’m going to be sure and put it where it will never need to be moved!

  37. Diana Dahlem

    The room is beautiful, bright and cheerful and I love the colors!
    I followed the three sites on FB, Twitter and Pinterest.
    Fresh American, Annie Selle and Pine Cone Hill. Nds

  38. Susan

    What an amazing find! I love it and how it will look in your new space. OMGolly! I wish I lived near you and your shop!!

  39. Cheri Ooten

    Oh no! I’m coveting! I’ll try to do better! Ha! Love your style!

  40. MaryLisa Noyes

    I ALWAYS love to stop and admire those dealers that have these cash registers at their booths for affect. It just adds that extra touch which I am sure your register will too! Enjoy….

  41. Terri Jordan Fitzgerald

    Hi Marian ~ I can just FEEL your Joy ~!~!~! Congratulations ~ God is just Great isn’t He? Working out all those details with special little surprises at EXACTLY the right time. Love that !
    Many Blessings at the new shop ~xo. Terri

  42. Jen

    Wow, that is the most beautiful cash register I’ve ever seen. I love that you find these gorgeous things just at the right time and share the pictures! You’ve expanded my horizons for sure. I can’t believe I’m in love with a cash register!!

  43. Diana Jordan

    Hi yes as a native of Dayton Ohio your other writer is correct about it coming from Dayton. Someone have me one years ago and I didn’t have anywhere to put it so put it on the curb where it was picked up quickly. Every now and then I think about that and kick myself

  44. Diane

    It’s so pretty!! What a find. Lucky you. I’d play with it every chance I got as well.

  45. JanL

    Several others have mentioned the strong history of National Cash Register (NCR) and Dayton, Ohio. The Dayton History Museum has an amazing display of cash registers made by the company. Here is a link to their site to determine the age of a register.

    Great find & will be an awesome addition to your booth.

    If you’re ever in Dayton, visit the Carillon Park/Dayton History museum. Awesome things to look at and enjoy.

  46. AnnieVee

    Whenever someone mentions a cash register my mind goes right to the scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where “Nick” the bartender cashes out over and over again and exclaims very sarcastically “Get me. I’m giving out wings” . This one is beautiful!

  47. Sue Pagels

    What a wonderful story!!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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