Piggy bank (sometimes penny bank or money box) is the traditional name of a coin container; usually used by children. The piggy bank is known to collectors as a "still bank" as opposed to the "mechanical banks" popular in the early 20th century. These items are also often used by corporations for promotional purposes. Their shape is most often that of a little pig and many financial services companies use piggy banks as logos for their savings products.
Piggy banks are typically made of ceramic or porcelain, and therefore are also known as porcelain pigs. They are generally painted and serve as a pedagogical device to teach the rudiments of thrift and savings to children; money can be easily inserted. Many piggy banks have a rubber plug located on the underside; others are made of vinyl and have a removable nose for easy coin access. Some incorporate electronic systems which calculate the amount of money deposited. Books, film, and other dramas often portray piggy banks that have no opening besides the slot for inserting. A character is shown smashing the ceramic bank. It shows how earnest the character is, that they are willing to destroy the bank forever and use the funds.
There are two words "pig" in English: the animal and earthenware, which is used to make crockery. People often saved money in kitchen pots and jars made of pig, called "pig jars". By the 18th century, the term "pig jar" had evolved to "pig bank".  Once the meaning had transferred from the substance to the shape, piggy banks began to be made from other substances, including glass, plaster, and plastic.
The oldest find of a money box dates from 2nd century BC Greek colony Priene, Asia Minor, and features the shape of a little Greek temple with a slit in the pediment. Money boxes of various forms were also excavated in Pompeii and Herculaneum, and appear quite frequently on late ancient provincial sites, particularly in Roman Britain and along the Rhine.
The Javanese and Indonesian term celengan (literally "likeness of a wild boar",[n 1] but used to mean both "savings" and "piggy bank") is also used in the context of domestic banks. The etymology of the word is obscure, but evident in a Majapahit piggy bank from the 15th century. Several boar-shaped piggy banks have been discovered at the large archaeological site surrounding Trowulan, a village in the Indonesian province of East Java and possible site of the capital of the ancient Majapahit Empire. These are probably the source of the Javanese-Indonesian word referring to savings or money containers. Another Javanese-Indonesian synonym for savings is tabungan, which derives from the word for "tube" or "cylinder". This arises from another method of making coin containers by using a portion of enclosed bamboo segment completed with a slit into which coins are inserted. One important Majapahit piggy bank specimen is housed at the National Museum of Indonesia. It has been reconstructed, as this large piggy bank was found broken into pieces. Majapahit terracotta coin containers have been found in a variety of shapes, including tubes, jars and boxes, each with a slit into which to insert coins.
The general use of piggy banks is to store loose change in a quaint, decorative manner. Modern piggy banks are not limited to the likeness of pigs, and may come in a range of animal shapes, sizes and colors.
Famous piggy banks
Rachel, the unofficial mascot of Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, is a bronze cast piggy bank that weighs nearly 600 pounds, located at the corner of Pike Place under the "Public Market Center" sign.
Rachel was designed by local artist Georgia Gerber and modeled after a pig (also named Rachel) that lived on Whidbey Island and was the 1977 Island County prize-winner. Rachel receives roughly $9,000 annually in just about every type of world currency, which is collected by the Market Foundation to fund the Market's social services.
- A celeng is a wild boar, with the "an" affix used to denote a likeness
- Schroy, Ellen (2011). Warman's Americana & Collectibles. Krause Publications. p. 367. ISBN 1440228221.
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- "What's the origin of the piggy bank?". The Straight Dope. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg): "Money boxes", Hubert Cancik and Helmuth Schneider (ed.): New Pauly, Brill, 2009
- John Livingston, "Porcine Birthdays Reminiscent of Swine Times", Pike Place Market News, March 2006, p. 12. Accessed 16 October 2008.
- "Rachel", Community Resources, Pike Place Market official site. Accessed 16 October 2008.