Humble piggy banks collect new interest
nostalgic banks in varying colors, sizes and materials make a comeback in these practical times
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.
find a few years ago, they are now on shelves in both high-end boutiques and national retailers.