Origins of the Piggy Bank: Why do we have piggy banks? A piggy bank history

You may have already met Rupert the pig on my donate page.

Why a pig of all creatures on my donate page? Because he’s a piggy bank of course! (Well, that and because he gallantly offered to help me promote the page with his cuteness). What have pigs got to do with donations, banks and money? Here follows the story of how the piggy bank name arose.

Once upon a time (around the Middle Ages to be more precise), glass and metal were very expensive, and plastic hadn’t been invented yet. Dishes and jars were often made of a far more affordable type of orange clay, called “pygg”.

Tidy and organized medieval chappies and ladies would often have a special pygg jar to collect their coins and money. When the word “bank” was invented as a place to store money, people started referring to these jars as pygg banks.

One day, one creative potter decided it’d be fun if pygg banks were shaped like pigs and thus the piggy bank was born. It helped that in some cultures the pig has positive symbolism. In Germany, the pig was considered the animal of good fortune. In Chinese lore the pig is considered honest, sincere and lucky for business. The pig is also the Native American totem of abundance and prosperity. Just the animal to have around where safe keeping of money is concerned!

The name “piggy bank” stuck to this day although pygg clay hasn’t been used to make piggy banks for years.

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2 Responses to Origins of the Piggy Bank: Why do we have piggy banks? A piggy bank history

  1. Jo says:


    This is an awesome blog! It’s really informative with great content and has a creative and personal touch. I am bookmarking it and will be coming back here more often, and I have already donated :-)

    Best Regards

  2. Neci says:

    The photo above is an example of a Majapahit piggy bank, which hit the scene sometime between the h and h century.

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