Where ever you are, visit the local souvenir shop, crockery shop, charity shop. Don’t search for piggy banks in countries where it is not custom to eat pork. Where a pig is seen an unclean animal, in principle you will not find any pig piggy bank.
Where ever earthenware or porcelain industry is, or has been, one should find piggy banks. In the Netherlands there are well known places like Gouda, Delft, Makkum. In France Quimper (Brittany), Limoges, Lunéville. In the UK one could search in Staffordshire. Or take a chance on antique markets, boot fairs, etc. In Germany one can try to find piggy banks in the Alsace or the former GDR. In Czechoslovakia I found many piggy banks about 20 years ago, nowadays they all are with stoppers! If you are visiting Thailand you can buy piggy banks in Chiang Mai for example. There are opportunities to find them in Mexico, Vietnam, Africa, South America and lots of them in the USA, etc.
It is not easy to identify the origin of a piggy bank, 90% of them have no hallmark. Often it seems clear from which country they are, but the factory or potter that made them remains unknown. The possibility that a piggy bank is from Czechoslovakian origin is great, 25% of the piggy banks made before the Great War (1914-1918) were produced there.
An additional complication in identifying the origin of piggy banks is the fact that the moulds were traded all over the world. A nice piggy bank made in Germany can have a twin in the USA or Norway, etc.
The label was originally introduced in Britain by the Merchandise Marks Act 1887, to mark foreign produce more obviously, as foreign manufactures had been falsely marking inferior goods with the marks of renowned British manufacturing companies and importing them into the United Kingdom. In 1920 the McKinley Tariff Act was amended to include the words, 'made in' which preceded the country of origin. It went into effect in 1921. Think of all those 'Made In China' stickers you see on things now. Generally speaking, you can date a piece by those phrases. If the object has a stamp that reads England it was made in or after 1891. If it says 'Made in England' then it would denote a date after 1920. An overview:
- 1890 -1914 every item imported in the UK had to be marked FOREIGN.
- From 1914 all items imported in the UK had to be marked with MADE IN + THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
- From 1921 on all items imported in the UK had to be marked with MADE IN + THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (compare Nippon that should be written as Japan).
- Note: There are als piggy banks marked "FAIRYLITE FOREIGN". All "Fairylite" goods were made in Japan, and all were marked "foreign" with a paper label or stamp. Fairylite is a brand!
Dating German Ceramics, if there is any clue on it is not easy. But there is a little grip to hold on:
- From 1887 till 1945 MADE IN GERMANY
- From 1946 till 1990 MADE IN WEST GERMANY or W-GERMANY
- From 1946 till 1990 MADE IN GDR or GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC.
Rare, there was few export to not communist countries. The backstamp DDR was more common.
- From 1990 on: MADE IN GERMANY
Most European countries imported a lot in the years before 1950. Which gave a possible tax benefit if the product was marked (back stamped) as Import. Assuming this I can imagine what happened with piggy banks that got the back stamp IMPORT. These piggy banks came into the country (f.i. the UK) as a prefabricated, not painted, not glazed product. In earthenware terms: as biscuit. In a UK pottery they were painted, stamped Import, glazed and baked.