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Antique Piggy Banks

Terry Hurley

Whether your favorite is a rare Wade Paws at the Kerb, a Roseville Razor Back or one of the thousands of marked and unmarked antique piggy banks, these highly desired collectibles are sure to bring a smile to the lips of collectors young and old.

A Brief History of the Piggy Bank

The exact origin of the piggy bank is shrouded in mystery and folktales. No one really knows for certain when or where the first piggy bank was made. However, there are historians that believe that the piggy bank concept dates as far back as the mid-1500s, to the English Middle Ages.

During that time most people used cooking utensils, dishes and pots made from pygg, which was an inexpensive orange clay. Many households used one of their pygg jars to hold their spare coins.

Through the centuries the following changes were believed to have occurred:

  • The pygg jar became known as a pygg bank
  • During the eighteenth century, the name pygg bank became piggy bank
  • Shortly after, several potters became making banks in the likeness of a pig
  • The popularity of the cute little animal shaped bank spread quickly throughout England.
  • Early piggy banks are found in countries and cultures in:
    • Europe
    • North America
    • South America
    • Asia
    • Europe
    • Africa
  • Early piggy banks did not have a stopper and had to be smashed to remove the money inside

The Collectors Weekly

Four noted piggy bank collectors and their websites were recognized by The Collectors Weekly online in their Hall of Fame: Saluting Great Collections section. These collectors are

  • Roger Owens
  • Gert Deelman
  • Flavio Del Greco
  • Alvise Felici

Each of the following websites provides numerous photographs and information on antique and collectible piggy banks.

Roger Owens: The Piggy Bank Page

Roger Owen's The Piggy Bank Page features European and British piggy banks from the 1900s. Mr. Owens provides information on each bank including background information on the manufacturer and beautiful photographs of the piggy banks.

The Piggy Bank Page includes more than 180 different kinds of piggy banks from more than 40 potteries including:

  • Quimper
  • Arthur Wood
  • Sadler
  • Wade
  • Goebel
  • Ellgreave
  • Szeiler
  • Plichta
  • Masons

Gert Deelman: Gert's Piggy Bank Pages

Gert Deelman has been a piggy bank collector since 1965. This Dutch collector limits his collection to original stone piggy banks made of porcelain or clay. Of the approximately 725 banks in his collection, none of them have a stopper anywhere.Mr Deelman's website, Gert's Piggy Bank Pages, feature dozens of his beautiful banks grouped into collections. He also provides valuable information on piggy bank production, origin and value.

Pico's Pigs: Flavio Del Greco and Alvise Felici

Known as Pico's Pigs, the collection of Flavio Del Greco and Alvise Felici includes more than 750 piggy banks from 52 different countries. Although most of the banks are made of porcelain or plastic, the entire collection consists of banks made of fifteen different materials.

Additional Resources for Identifying Antique Piggy Banks

Collectors know the importance of properly identifying the age, maker and country of origin of piggy banks they have, or are thinking of adding to, their collections. The following websites and price guides are excellent resources to help with bank identification and gain valuable knowledge about the hobby of collecting antique and vintage piggy banks.

Piggy Bank Central: A Site Dedicated to Piggy Bank Collectors

Piggy Bank Central contains information on potteries, piggy bank photographs and useful links and articles. The website focuses mostly on American pottery companies such as:

  • Lefton
  • McCoy
  • Hull
  • Franciscan
  • Shawnee

Collector's Price Guide

Several Popular Piggy Banks from Years Past

The following are several piggy banks that are highly sought after by collectors:

At times while shopping at an antique store or garage sale, certain people find a special piggy bank that brings back fond childhood memories. For some, in that instant, it is the beginning of the fun filled hobby of collecting antique piggy banks.

Antique Piggy Banks