What should I do with old piggy banks?
August 20, 2005 12:40 PM   Subscribe

What should I do with old piggy banks?

In the process of packing up for a move, I found 3 old piggy banks that are filled with change. They were given to me (with no "nostalgia value") from my mother. The change inside is at least 30 years old, possibly much older. I can actually see some of the coins and they look interesting (i.e. silver and half dollars). The only way to get the change would be to destroy the banks, as there is only slim slot used to insert the coins. So do I store them and let my (very young) son deal with the dilemma years down the road. Or should I open them and see if the coins are worth anything?
posted by jeremias to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
Would it not be possible to use something like a Dremel to cut an unobtrusive hole in the bottom, which you could then either epoxy back in place, or convert into some sort of removable plug thingy?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:03 PM on August 20, 2005

You can turn the banks upside down and juggle the change inside with a thin piece of plastic, like a credit card. It should all fall out.

I don't think you'll find anything really valuable--30 years isn't that long ago, and the condition probably won't be that good. Maybe some real silver coins or steel pennys, but you never know...
posted by Marky at 1:07 PM on August 20, 2005

Response by poster: These pigs are fairly small, the dremel idea might work on one of them. I've never had great success with trying to get coins out through the entrance. Here's a picture, that's a quarter next to the banks for scale.

I guess it's kind of a moral dilemma, I don't have any great attachment to the banks themselves, so the easiest thing would be to destroy them. But it makes me feel somewhat uneasy . . .
posted by jeremias at 1:43 PM on August 20, 2005

Hang on to them for just a bit more -- when your son gets a little older, he'll have all the determination needed to shake out those coins. I got very good at it as a kid. It'll be a nice rainy-day project for him.
posted by JanetLand at 1:53 PM on August 20, 2005

I say destroy it (or at least one of them). Piggybanks were always depicted on tv and the movies as something that you broke open so that you run down to the toy store to buy something. That was something I always wanted to do.
posted by mmascolino at 1:56 PM on August 20, 2005

Janetland has a good idea. This might be the way to start a coin collection for one of your children.
posted by Cranberry at 2:23 PM on August 20, 2005

Second vote for break 'em.
posted by cadastral at 4:36 PM on August 20, 2005

For god's sake... don't turn it into a collection (the coins or the banks themselves) for your son or anyone else. If the coins have value, sell them for as much as you can. Take that money and go on vacation... buy yourself something, ANYTHING but a collection.

Collections of this type are just huge worthless batteries of bourgeois capital. Starting a coin collection for your son encourages this behavior and models it as normal. Then, before you know it, your son is 30 and has a room of his house dedicated to star wars toys, or some such silliness.

(slippery slope provided for dramatic effect).
posted by cadastral at 4:41 PM on August 20, 2005

Should you decide to sort through the coins...

Some coins to look for.
posted by solotoro at 4:44 PM on August 20, 2005

Coming from a family of antique-ers (sp?) with a mother who collects banks...
Why not try to sell the banks as-is? They look pretty adorable, and toys like that (like, intended to be broken) tend to be worth more intact, because most of them ended up ruined. I would check out an antique dealer, or e-bay, or something before smashing them. I would bet that some collector of banks (or pigs, or whatever combination thereof) would pay more than however much change is inside.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 5:12 PM on August 20, 2005

Oddly enough, old coins are actually a good investment. Keep them for the kids.
And with reference to earlier posts, coins are NOT going to fill a room with worthless crap. For example, each year of coin could be a center piece of a year in history, as compared to link a POS junk as a reference to world history.
Sell or keep; only sick-o's destroy.
posted by buzzman at 5:34 PM on August 20, 2005

I have a small coin collection and I think it's worthwhile because it's mostly made up of all the countries my Dad visited in the sixties, before I knew him. I'd wait until your very young son gets a little less young and smash 'em together, see if there's anything fun in there.
posted by jessamyn at 7:37 PM on August 20, 2005

I'd definitely recommend you attempt to sell the lot intact, together they'll almost undoubtedly be worth more than the coins that they contain.
posted by kowalski at 8:10 AM on August 21, 2005

Don't turn the banks into a collection and only collect coins if you're prepared to deal with the consequences. My cousin gave me a miniature teaset when I was 12. I started a *very* small collection of about 10. I'm 25 now and have over 80 at last count...almost every one of them gifts from friends who want to "contribute" to my collection.

They take up 3 five-and-a-half foot cabinets with 4 shelves each.

No More Tea Sets!
posted by IndigoRain at 4:32 AM on August 22, 2005

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