Commonly prefaced with “piggy” or “toy,” coin banks have been around for over 600 years. They became a popular household item in the 19th century, when modern manufacturing allowed for mass production of these animal-shaped, coin collectors. If you’ve come across an antique coin bank, it could be worth a pretty penny. Here are some insider tips to help you find the value of antique coin banks:
Types of Coin Banks
A still coin bank is one without any moving parts. Antique piggy banks—ones that depict buildings, people or animated characters—fall into this category.
Still, banks were made from redware, stoneware, chalkware, tin, ceramic or cast-iron. If your antique coin bank is in good condition and made from redware or chalkware, you’re in luck. Those materials are often the most valuable due to their fragility.
Regardless of the material, banks produced between 1870-1930 are thought to be worth the most. Many producers—especially cast-iron producers—went out of business during WWII, making coin banks from those years rarer.
Here are some features that could make or break your bank’s value:
- Company logo, markings or dates
- Missing paint, chips or cracks
A mechanical bank requires the weight of a coin and activation to set the bank into motion. These were made from cast-iron and were the most complex coin bank. J & E Stevens Company of Connecticut produced their first mechanical bank in 1869.
Valuable mechanical banks have the following features:
- Minimal chips and/or missing paint
- Original condition—no paint touch-ups or repairs
- Working mechanical property
Whether you find a still or mechanical bank, do your research. Get your antique piggy bank appraised by an expert before trying to sell it. And of course, check for what’s inside the bank—it might contain valuable coins!
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