History of Piggy Banks

By: Francesca Fiori

Piggy banks are a wonderful way for people to store coins and save up money. They are usually mostly used by kids, but adults can certainly use them too! Occasionally they are even used as decorative objects since they come in all shapes and sizes.

History of Piggy Banks

In the Middle Ages, people used simple jars or even kitchen pottery to collect their money. The clay used to make these jars was called pygg, so the jars were known as pygg jars. Over time, this term was gradually modified to “pig banks”. With this new name, people began creating clay jars shaped liked pigs with a slot at the top to insert money. Later, they would even make other shapes and use other materials such as glass or plastic.

Piggy Bank Collecting

Piggy banks have been created in such a massive array of shapes, sizes and colors, not to mention cultural and antique influences. Some are specifically designed for children, while others are made for adults. All of these factors have made piggy banks a wonderful collector’s item. Many collectors scour the world for different types of piggy banks to add to their collections. There are also many online stores and special groups that cater to this hobby.

  • Pico’s Pigs – View an example of one enthusiast’s extensive collection of piggy banks from around the world.
  • Piggy Bank CollectorsCollectors Weekly magazine has a special section dedicated especially to piggy bank collectors.
  • Evaluating a Piggy Bank – Follow a chart to find the value of a piggy bank.

Making Piggy Banks in School

  • Paper Mache Piggy Bank - Make a piggy bank with strips of paper and paste, and read some savings tips.
  • Coffee Can Piggy Bank (PDF) – Download and print a free wrapper to turn a coffee can into a smart piggy bank.
  • Milk Jug Piggy Banks – A painted, decorated milk jug can make a wonderful piggy bank!
  • A Piggy Bank Lesson Plan (PDF) – In this lesson, students learn about spending and saving with a piggy bank, and then complete related activities.

Other Piggy Bank Links

  • The Coin Banks Exhibit – A museum in New York City features a large exhibit of piggy banks that trace American history.
  • Break the Bank – Play a game to learn more about coins and piggy banks!
  • Using a Piggy Bank – Parents can browse through a series of tips on teaching their children how to use money and a piggy bank.
  • Why Use a Piggy Bank? – Through an animated presentation, kids learn why they should store their savings in a piggy bank.

Feed Your Pig – Savings Resources for Kids

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