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Crazy for Pigs: Vintage & Antique Pig-Themed Collectibles

Updated on October 11, 2013

Crazy for All Things Pig!

Pigs are intelligent creatures, with excellent memories and, although their eyesight might not be too sharp, their sense of smell is acute - an attribute exploited by French farmers for hunting in the woods for the precious truffles, beloved by gourmets. Despite their less than aqua-dynamic shape, pigs are actually very good swimmers too!

Most of us will can still recite the fondly remembered stories and nursery rhymes from childhood which featured pigs and indulge our nostalgia with pig-themed collectibles, which cover almost every conceivable type of object from piggy-shape pin cushions to jewelry and nursery china.

We love pigs!

Picture credit: RubyLane

L Razza Pewter Pig Mama and Babies
L Razza Pewter Pig Mama and Babies

The Honorable Pig

Chinese zodiac - Years of the Pig: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995

If you were born in one of these years, you are blessed. People born in the Year of the Pig are renowned for their loving nature, their sincerity and sense of honor.

Old Crown Derby Bocage Tithe Pig Group, © Ruby Lane
Old Crown Derby Bocage Tithe Pig Group, © Ruby Lane

The Tithe Pig

Historically, in medieval England, tithes of one tenth income were levied to support the church and its clergy. These tithes were most often paid in kind, which was calculated at a set rate proportional to income, and the monetary amount could be met by the equivalent in livestock, or wool or other produce. The practice of payment in kind continued into the early C19th, when it was replaced by monetary payment.

In poorer or rural households, a pig could be tithed and the official rate was calculated as the one-tenth pig rate at 5 shillings in 1830! As can easily be imagined, the church tithe was a highly unpopular payment which caused much hardship for some families, a situation depicted by figure groups in both pottery and porcelain.

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Old Crown Derby Bocage Tithe Pig Group Figurine - c. 19th Century, England

Tithe Pig" group of three figures including a farmer holding a pig as his wife holds her baby, a basket of eggs at her feet, the parson, two bundles of wheat at his feet, all below a tree with modelled foliage on a grassy green oval mound. Made by the Old Crown Derby China Works (also known as the King Street Factory) .

Picture source: RubyLane

Grazing for a Bruising!

The Gloucester Old Spot was also known as the Orchard Pig and was the favoured pig of old country cottagers, who let the pigs graze in the orchards. The black spots were said to have been caused by falling apples!

Wonderful Sheet Metal Figural Pig `Baked Ham' Sign

Metal Pig `Baked Ham' Sign
Metal Pig `Baked Ham' Sign

A wonderful thin sheet metal figural Pig `Baked Ham' sign, retaining much of its original red painted surface. Probably from a deli or restaurant (and given the number of little nail holes, it may have been part of a "specials" board), this sign is about 19 ½" from snout to tail and 9" high at the ear. "Baked Ham" was hand-lettered in red enamel.

Whimsical Vintage Carousel Pin Fun
Whimsical Vintage Carousel Pin Fun

Good Companions

One evening in October,

When I was about one third sober,

I was taking home a load with manly pride;

My poor feet began to stutter,

So I lay down in the gutter,

And a pig came up and lay down by my side.

Then we sang a song fair weller,

And good fellas ger together,

Till a lady passing by was heard to say,

She says, "You can tell a man who boozes

By the company he chooses",

And the pig got up and slowly walked away.

(Benjamin Hapgood Burt 1934)

All the Threes

A mother pig is pregnant for three months, three weeks and three days!

Newborn piglets learn to recognize their mothers' voice and she 'sings' to them when they are nursing.

Walt Disney The Three Little Pigs
Walt Disney The Three Little Pigs

The Wisest Pig

The classic fairy tale of the Three Little Pigs dates back to the eighteenth century and tells the story of the three piggy brothers setting out to make their individual way in the world. The first little pig builds a house with straw, the second uses sticks to make a home but the third little pig thinks ahead and, although his brothers make fun of him for taking so long, his finished house of bricks is strong and weather-proof. When the big, bad wolf comes calling, he easily blows down the two houses built of straw and sticks but, try as he might he cannot destroy the home of the third pig and all three piggy brothers, are safe in this shelter.

The moral of the fairy tale is clear but in reality, the three pigs would have probably have built one large and very solid brick house which they could all share! Pigs are very clever animals, more intelligent than dogs, they are quick to learn and have excellent memories.

Vintage Redware Plate With A Pig
Vintage Redware Plate With A Pig

Vintage Redware Plate

This charming redware plate, with a piggly saddleback pig, was made by the Long Family Potters of PA

Baby Rattle This Little Pig Gorham Sterling Silver Synthetic Teething Handle
Baby Rattle This Little Pig Gorham Sterling Silver Synthetic Teething Handle

This Little Piggy

This little rhyme, played by each generation of adoring new mothers with their babies' rosy toes, first appears in a nursery ditty in the 1720s

and was published in London forty years later.

This little piggie

Went to market

This little piggie

Stayed home

This little piggie

Had roast beef

This little piggie

Had none

And this little piggie cried,

"Wee, wee, wee, wee,"

All the way home.

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Baby Rattle This Little Pig Gorham Sterling Silver Synthetic Teething Handle

American sterling silver baby rattle with a synthetic mother of pearl handle by Gorham Silversmiths, c.1960 in a This Little Pig Went To Market motif.

The design features This Little Pig Stayed At Home showing a pig seated in a Windsor chair reading a book on one side, with This Big Pig Went To Market showing a pig riding a galloping horse. The socket is marked Gorham Sterling 381 and the handle is a synthetic teether made to look like mother of pearl.

PIGGY IN THE MIDDLE

Not only a children's game in which one player attempts to retrieve a ball thrown over him or her by at least two other players, the expression

is also used to describe an uncomfortable situation in which a person is caught in the middle of a disagreement between two friends.

Paddy and the Pig German Candy Container

Paddy and the Pig German Candy Container
Paddy and the Pig German Candy Container

This is a great old candy container of a large green pig with a rider. The pig is made of a flocked pressed cardboard or composition with stick legs. He has a painted snout and eyes and a string tail. The closure is at his belly and is faintly marked Germany. Attached to his back is a funny character that looks like Mutt of the Mutt and Jeff comic strip. Bud Fisher's strip was originally just A. Mutt in 1907 so perhaps this was fashioned during that period.

Windup fun at any age

Chein Tin Litho Windup Pig
Chein Tin Litho Windup Pig

We love this cheeky fellow with his merry wink and baggy pants!

Q: Are our savings stored in piggy banks because our money will grow fat as quickly as a pig?

A: If only it were true.....

It would be fun (and profitable too) if it were true but in C15th old English, pots and jars to store coins were made out of an orange-yellow clay called pygg, confused sometime later in the eighteenth century with 'pig' - and thus to eventually to 'piggy bank.'

Pink Plump Piggly Picture Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Figural Ceramic Pig Egg CupVintage Fisher Price - Peter PigVintage Collectible Retro Wire Pig Letter Holder 1950-60sVintage German Pig with Piglet and Rabbit in WashtubRare Vintage Silver Plated Brass Pig CorkscrewEbling & Reuss- Bisque pigs figureBlue & White Delft Tile * De Landman *Nettie Rosenstein Sterling with Faux Turquoise Pig Fur Clip
Figural Ceramic Pig Egg Cup
Figural Ceramic Pig Egg Cup
Vintage Fisher Price - Peter Pig
Vintage Fisher Price - Peter Pig
Vintage Collectible Retro Wire Pig Letter Holder 1950-60s
Vintage Collectible Retro Wire Pig Letter Holder 1950-60s
Vintage German Pig with Piglet and Rabbit in Washtub
Vintage German Pig with Piglet and Rabbit in Washtub
Rare Vintage Silver Plated Brass Pig Corkscrew
Rare Vintage Silver Plated Brass Pig Corkscrew
Ebling & Reuss- Bisque pigs figure
Ebling & Reuss- Bisque pigs figure
Blue & White Delft Tile * De Landman *
Blue & White Delft Tile * De Landman *
Nettie Rosenstein Sterling with Faux Turquoise Pig Fur Clip
Nettie Rosenstein Sterling with Faux Turquoise Pig Fur Clip
Berkshire boar © RubyLane
Berkshire boar © RubyLane

The Empress of Blandings

You might not be able to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear but, as every country person knows, almost every part of a pig can be used apart from the squeak! It might feel uncomfortable to love pigs and yet speak of eating them but it is their valuable contribution to feeding the world's population which has ensured they continue to be around today to nourish and enchant us.

The Empress of Blandings, in the stories by P. G. Wodehouse is a large black Berkshire pig, the pride and joy of her owner, Lord Emsworth of

Blandings Castle. Emsworth adores his prize-winning pig who is frequently kidnapped by various villains and the escapades of the enormous pig and her succession of keepers feature are entertainingly recounted in the many stories in The Blandings Saga.

He's pink, he's hairy, he oinks and he walks! - Antique Roullet Descamps Mechanical Walking Mohair covered Pig

Antique Roullet Descamps Mechanical Pig
Antique Roullet Descamps Mechanical Pig

Instant piggy love! We fell for him at first sight.

Guestbook Comments - Oink!

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    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 

      4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      HAHA! we love pigs too..although, maybe not as much as you. Fun lens! PS. have you ever played the game "pass the pigs"??

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      4 years ago

      Not only are the vintage pigs shown here adorable critters for collectors, but I also found your presentation delightfully entertaining as well as informative!

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 

      6 years ago

      Charming and informative lens.

    • adamfrench profile image

      adamfrench 

      6 years ago

      Impressive lens, thumbs up

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Fun and very interesting lens, my daughter has a huge collection of pink pigs, they are so cute :)

    • imolaK profile image

      imolaK 

      7 years ago

      Your lens is nice and interesting. Blessed!

    • profile image

      myraggededge 

      7 years ago

      Lovely lens. Blessed.

      It may do better in a different category though... how about home and garden/home décor? Also, it might be a good idea to edit the picture module above to stop 'rotation' so that your lens doesn't keep jumping about. It's almost impossible to leave a comment.

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