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Fun Old and New Mechanical Coin Banks - Not Just Kids Piggy

Updated on June 16, 2015

Mechanical Coin Bank Reproductions Make Great Gifts for Kids and Adults

I saw my first mechanical coin bank in action when I was 5 years old. A neighbor kept his trick dog bank on the fireplace mantle. He was the father of one of my first friends, and he offered us each a coin when I visited. We put the coin in the dog's mouth, flicked the "magic" switch, and watched in delight as the dog jumped through the clown's hoop and dropped the coin in the barrel.

Ever since then, I have turned up my nose at the pedestrian piggy bank. If I was going to save money, something needed to jump, twist, twirl or hop my coins into a cast iron vault. As I grew older, I learned that the original antique mechanical banks sell for hundreds and thousands of dollars. But reproduction mechanical banks can generally be had for $25 to $50. I bought my first trick dog mechanical bank many years ago for $10.

The reproductions are just as entertaining as the antiques. And aren't banks about saving money anyway? So here are some of the favorites from my collection. Some are cast iron reproductions, some are wind-up tin, and some are modern plastic and battery operated. But all are fun for kids and adults.

Buy your Trick Dog Mechanical Bank on Amazon

Trick Dog

Cast iron mechanical banks were first mass-produced around 1875, and the Trick Dog was one of the most popular. Its reproductions remain popular to this day. Trick Dog was originally produced by the Hubley Toy Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The reproduction cast iron version was my first mechanical bank.

How it Works

You place a coin in the dog's mouth, then depress a lever on the side. The dog leaps through the clown's hoop and drops the coin in the barrel.

Trick Dog in Action

Apple Mechanical Bank

Even fruit can make an engaging mechanical bank. This vintage plastic wind-up from 1970s features a worm popping out to snag the coin. It was another of my childhood favorites, when it was new.was originally manufactured in Japan by Yone.

How it Works

Gently wind the turnkey on the side of the apple. Place a coin on the red button in front of the apple's eyes. The mouse quickly slithers out of the apple's "mouth" to scoop up your coin and store it safely away.

Apple Mechanical Bank in Action

Dentist Chair Mechanical Bank

Cast Iron Reproduction

The dentist is more than willing to pull your tooth - if you put a coin in his pocket first. But watch out! One good yank and over you go. This cast iron version was a very popular bank in the early 1900's. It was originally manufactured by J. & E. Stevens Company of Connecticut in the 1880s.

How it Works

Place a coin in the dentist's pocket, then push the button near his feet. The dentist and patient both fall backwards, and the coin falls into the green sack behind the dentist.


Dentist Chair Mechanical Bank in Action

Hippo Mechanical Bank - Vintage Tin

The Hippo Windup Bank is a tin mechanical bank mass-produced in Japan in the 1950s and 60s. These are harder to find, but lots of fun. It takes a bit of skill and correct timing to pop the coin in when the hippo opens his mouth. So it is alway a bit of an arcade game for me.

How it Works

Wind up the key on the side. Then place a coin on the wood plank. Here's where your arcade skills come in. Pull back on the lever behind the coin. When the hippo's mouth opens, release the lever to slingshot the coin into his mouth.

Hippo Tin Toy Bank in Action

Qiyun Stealing Coin Cat Piggy Bank - White Kitty Shipping with a Qiyun Balloon
Qiyun Stealing Coin Cat Piggy Bank - White Kitty Shipping with a Qiyun Balloon

These kitty coin banks come with either brown or white kittens and with different printing on the boxes. So check all the options to find your favorite.

 

Itazura Kitty Stealing Coin Bank - A new kind of mechanical bank

Not all mechanical banks are cast iron reproductions or tin wind-ups. There's a new class of plastic mechanical banks that are battery-operated or windup. This one from Japan is a favorite of my daughter's. If you have a cat or dog, it will want to get in on the action too!

How it Works

Wind up the turnkey, then place a coin on the box. The kitten pops out of the box with her paw to swipe the coin away, then disappear.

Mechanical Kitty Coin Bank in Action

Choken Bako Dog Mechanical Bank in action - from Japan

If you're not a cat person, then perhaps this adorably hungry pup scarfing up your coins will tickle your fancy. Childrens' faces light up and they can't stop feeding the pup!

Mechanical Banks with Christmas Themes

Santa Claus banks also date back to the turn of the last century, with the earliest ones produced by Hubley. They became much more popular in the 1960s as the sale of Christmas-themed merchandise exploded. Many of today's reproductions are made of plastic. Coca-Cola has created a substantial collection of mechanical Santa banks.

Baseball Player Mechanical Bank image courtesy of PovertyBob
Baseball Player Mechanical Bank image courtesy of PovertyBob | Source
Source

Do You Have a Favorite Mechanical Piggy Bank?

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      What cool coin banks!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I wish I had. This is really a good gift for kids.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What fun! I love the dentist pulling teeth piggy bank!

    • profile image

      Bubbajuju 4 years ago

      I have always loved mechanical banks! I need to get one for the kids as they make saving so much more fun! Great article!

    • chinchilla-cages profile image

      chinchilla-cages 4 years ago

      These are fantastic. That turtle and kitty one was funny!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a unique lens! I never grew up with a mechanical bank, but my kids have a Rugrats mechanical bank. I don't think that bank, however, is as interesting as the ones you have highlighted here!

    • profile image

      zoren-de-legazpi 5 years ago

      Mechanical piggy bank is cool. I really wish. I have one, though I bought a piggy bank made of plastic for my 7 years old kid and his so happy with it and every day keep asking me for a coin to put in his piggy bank.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I absolutely love things like this - hard to pick a favorite, I'd love to have em all! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      My grandfather had a mechanical piggy bank. I wonder who wound up with it? Blessings!

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      These are very cool! :)

    • imaginecreations profile image

      imaginecreations 5 years ago

      My favorite: the Itazura Kitty Stealing Coin Bank!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I love the video of the kitty and the kitten mechanical bank (that is simply heart warming). Thank you so much for a chuckle this morning. (hope you do not mind my mentioning but a couple links have expired - amazon and ebay.) Best of wishes.

    • nangaye-steve profile image

      Steve Charles 5 years ago

      I had the apple mechanical bank when I was little. I'd all but forgotten about it - thanks for bringing the memory back!

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 5 years ago from US/TN

      I can remember seeing these advertised (in comic books maybe?) as a child and wanting one so much! I love the video with the cat, too -- totally made me laugh. Thanks for sharing!

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      NO, I don't remember ever having anything but an automatic coin sorter. But what a fun lens! I really got a smile from the video of the kitty playing with the mechanical piggy bank.

    • profile image

      SandyPeaks 5 years ago

      I remember one which fascinated my father and me in the 1960s - a coffin with a bony mechanical hand which emerged from within to grab the coin!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      We always kept taking the same coins out of the bank just to play and didn't mount up much saving but we sure had fun not saving. Mechanical piggy banks have always been a favorite of mine and some of the antiques sure have become valuable. Now maybe saving the mechanical banks was the thing to do. You have lots of fun here.

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      I had one as a kid, mine was a kind of creepy black coffin...place a coin on an x, flip a lever and a green skeleton had popped out to drag the coin into the coffin....it was quite amusing. A fun lens, I'd glad I came across it.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 6 years ago

      I love the old mechanical banks.

      Lensrolled to From Mechanical Banks to Piggy Banks

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      Excellent page. When I was reading your introduction, I was thinking, "Gee, I hope you can feature some great videos" and ta, da, you did! Very nicely done & good luck!

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