Nostalgia Calling: Cute Vintage Pay Phone Bank

There’s lots to love about this vintage pay phone ceramic bank I spotted at a local thrift store.

To add money to the piggy bank, you drop the coins in the slot at the top — just like you did with those pay phones. This particular bank was missing the presumably rubber stopper sealing the hole in the bottom for coin retrieval, signaling that someone had spent their pennies earned.

This vintage ceramic bank is a real conversation piece. First, in terms of true style of old telephones. There’s a rotary dial to really confuse kids — other people’s kids; ours have been educated in the ways of earlier technology. Heck, with the popularity of cell phones some kids don’t even know what a “pay phone” is.

But what I love most about it is the coin return detail and the memories it brrrr-rings. Had that been how one actually retrieved their coins from the bank, I probably would have bought it because I have fond memories of checking the coin returns of public pay phones.

My sister and I would race to see who could check the coin return first — or, if there was a bank of pay phones, who could get the most money. My sister was far more determined (greedy?) than I, and she often pocketed the most winnings.

She did win the all-time best story about pay phones too. One time, she stuck her greedy fingers into a coin return and came out with some partially eaten and/or melted candy. (We dared not dwell on all the possibilities too long.)

That moment in “Eeeiiww” nostalgia now makes me wish I had bought this vintage bank. I could have set it out in my home; it’s mere existence a prompt to tell that story over and over again… Or maybe even mailed it to her, eagerly awaiting her phone call to discuss pay phones and other gross childhood memories.

If this bank is still at the thrift shop on my next visit, I think I’ll have to get it.

PS I wasn’t sure which room in the house to categorize this under… As a kid, my bank was always in my bedroom — but then, when you’re a kid everything goes in your bedroom. I suppose this piggy bank probably more suited mom, who likely kept it in the kitchen or wherever the telephone was. Maybe she even used it to threaten charging her teenage daughters for each phone call they had. Hey, moms had to get that “rainy day” money from somewhere.

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Deanna

Deanna is the founder of Inherited Values, among other sites. She is also an antique dealer.

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