Ceramic moneyboxes have been made in many cultures and countries, often for many centuries. However most examples date from the middle of the C19th through to the early C20th and later. Moneyboxes are known by many different names mainly depending upon location. The usual name in the UK is moneybox, whereas the term coin bank is mostly used in the United States, and in Scotland they may be called pirlie banks or savings banks.
Most collectors are concerned only with those moneyboxes which have no hole for retrieving the coins once the coin bank is full. These coin banks were presumably therefore intended to be smashed to get at the contents, which may well be one of the reasons why they are so rare. The introduction of removable plugs came into use only slowly but was widespread by around 1940, and it is for this reason that the usual cut-off date for moneybox collectors is around 1940.
Ceramic moneyboxes are rare, indeed many are so rare that only a few or even just one example is known. They come in a huge range of shapes and subjects and may be made in earthenware, stoneware or porcelain and in a very wide range of decorative finishes.
There are very few books published which focus solely on ceramic moneyboxes. Unfortunately those that do are pioneers into a seriously under-researched area and therefore inevitably contain a large number of errors. The leading books are ‘Ceramic Coin Banks’, (1997) by Tom & Loretta Stoddard [STODDARD], and ‘100 Years of Ceramic Money Banks 1850-1940 Vols.I,II & III’ (2008 & 2009) by Beth Baddeley Huebner [HUEBNER.I/II/III]. These authors use a scarcity rating system that is widely accepted by collectors and is sometimes adopted for use here as follows:
A, B, C, D, E, and F, with ‘A’ being common (relatively) and ‘F’ signifying extremely rare items which may have no more than maybe two or three examples known. However even ‘A’ rated ceramic coin banks are scarce.
Ceramic moneyboxes are a subject which I have been researching for some time. I have a large personal collection that I hope to one day include in a book about the subject. I would be most grateful to hear from anyone who has further information about coin banks / moneyboxes, or who has a small or large collection that they would be prepared to let me include in such a publication. I can offer photography for your collection in return for allowing me to take photos, and of course all contributions would be fully acknowledged.