Hum­ble piggy banks col­lect new in­ter­est

nostal­gic banks in vary­ing col­ors, sizes and ma­te­ri­als make a come­back in these prac­ti­cal times

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ques G. Harper

What’s the hottest ac­ces­sory that might be­come your lat­est night­stand com­pan­ion?

You’re wrong if you guessed an iPhone or iPad.

We’re talk­ing about a cen­turies-old clas­sic that’s get­ting new at­ten­tion: the piggy bank, which has gained pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years.

The piggy bank, in all of its styles, shapes and sizes, has be­come the home ac­ces­sory for this re­ces­sion era.

That’s be­cause with­out say­ing a word, a piggy bank on a shelf in your liv­ing room sends a few mes­sages to house guests: You’re fis­cally re­spon­si­ble — or try­ing to be; you’re sav­ing and plan­ning for the fu­ture; and you’re nostal­gic for a sim­pler time, con­sid­er­ing most adults prob­a­bly would as­so­ci­ate piggy banks with chil­dren.

Af­ter all, on the big screen, there’s Hamm, the lov­able piggy bank who hams it up in the hit flick “Toy Story 3.” Hamm and Rachel, the bronze mas­cot of Pike Place Mar­ket in Seat­tle, Wash., are some of the most no­table piggy banks of the times. But you can have one of your own at home.

In the May is­sue of O, The Oprah Mag­a­zine, home de­sign guru Jonathan Adler’s porce­lain piggy bank with plat­inum glaze was shown as a hot buy. The bank is avail­able on his web­site (www.jonathanadler.com) for $145, as is a less-ex­pen­sive pop menagerie piggy bank with polka dots for $48.

In Austin, clear glass piggy banks with cork snouts ($22.50 and $36) are avail­able at Mer­cury De­sign Stu­dio (209 W. Sec­ond St. 236-0100, www.mer­cury­de­sign­stu­dio.com). The Con­tainer Store (9629 Re­search Blvd. 349-0555, www.con­tain­er­store.com) sells plas­tic piggy banks in clear, red, green and blue for $5.99; Tar­get stores carry var­i­ous piggy bank styles; and lux­ury re­tailer Tif­fany & Co. (11601 Cen­tury Oaks Ter­race 835-7300, www.tif­fany.com) sells a ster­ling sil­ver bank for $1,225 as well as a hand­painted piggy bank for $95.

Sec­ond Street re­tailer IF+D (208 Colorado St. 469-0870, www.if­daustin.com), which is owned by Kris­ten Bolling, sells Harry Allen De­sign’s piggy banks in an ar­ray of fin­ishes and col­ors in­clud­ing light pink, gold, mint green, black and hot pink.

Start­ing at $95, these pigs are said to be able to hold up to $10,000 in dol­lar bills. (Allen’s de­sign was cast from a real pig that died as a piglet.) Now, there is a lim­it­ededi­tion black chrome pig and a black and cop­per pig bank for $250.

The pigs have been pop­u­lar since she

Con­tin­ued from D in­tro­duced them in the store in 2005, Bolling said.

One of her long­time cus­tomers has bought 40 pigs through the years and built spe­cial kitchen shelves in his home out­side Austin to dis­play the piggy banks, she said.

While her store’s mer­chan­dise has changed over the year, the pigs have been the items to re­main. Re­cently, Bolling said, cus­tomers have told her that they are giv­ing the piggy banks as baby shower gifts. The banks are made from resin and mar­ble.

“It was the first ac­ces­sory I bought for the store,” said Bolling, who shares a white bank in-store with her em­ploy­ees. “We’ll get beer and we’ll use it for what­ever. I never get tired of look­ing at them. We’ve shipped them all over the coun­try. They’ve gone ev­ery­where.” She’s not alone. Re­cently, I bought a pint-sized piggy bank for about $12 at Tar­get. In the past, I was the guy who put coins in plas­tic zip­pered-top bags, a desk drawer or gym bag. The coins went to the land of the for­got­ten. Un­til the pig, there was no for­mal place for coins in my debit-card world.

In our boom times, I had stopped be­liev­ing that a found penny on the ground was good luck. Too lazy to stop, I just fig­ured the penny could be some­one else’s luck. Now I hear fi­nan­cial ad­vice ex­pert Suze Orman’s voice in my head, say­ing we should save all our pen­nies.

Two years ago, fashion pho­tog­ra­pher Ta­nia Quin­tanilla found a ce­ramic Mex­i­can-style piggy at a fi­esta and fell in love with it.

“He is white with col­or­ful strokes of paint all over him,” she said. “We put pen­nies in him. In our house, we sep­a­rate the sil­ver from the pen­nies. I haven’t taken the money out yet. I’ll have to break him to open him, and he is not quite full.”

An­other fan of piggy banks is stylist and decor con­sul­tant Adam Fort­ner, who bought his clear plas­tic piggy bank at the Con­tainer Store years ago.

“I do ac­tu­ally use it — all the time,” said Fort­ner, who owns Cre­ative & Sons. “It’s so full I can barely fit any­thing else in it. And I put my change in it be­cause I like to keep things or­ga­nized. So ev­ery­thing has a place. I do take money out of it but usu­ally to put in my car for park­ing me­ters.”

Tired of us­ing a cof­fee can, Aus­ti­nite Cathie Hutchins, a hand­bag, ac­ces­sories and pil­low de­signer, bought her chrome piggy bank at Tar­get last year.

“I said, ‘I’m a grown woman, and I want some­thing bet­ter,’” she said. “The money has not been touched yet. My plan is, in two years, to go to Venice, and to have a free some­thing there” from the change that has ac­cu­mu­lated in the piggy bank.

“I love that piggy bank,” she said. “It’s so cool. It’s a very round shape. It’s very nostal­gic. There are some re­ally fun ones out there. It’s some­thing re­ally sat­is­fy­ing with the sound of the change hit­ting the other change. I’m tak­ing con­trol of what I can about the econ­omy.” Harry Allen De­sign’s piggy banks are avail­able at IF+D, start­ing at $95. The mold for the bank was made from a real pig.

Jar­rad Hen­der­son photo il­lus­tra­tion Amer­i­cAn-StAteS­mAn

find a few years ago, they are now on shelves in both high-end bou­tiques and na­tional re­tail­ers.

Jar­rad Hen­der­son photo il­lus­tra­tion

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