Ivor Noël Hume
A Hole in One? or, In Search of Piggy Banks and Christmas Boxes

Ceramics in America 2013

Full Article
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Left: Ivor Noël Hume and Michelle Erickson. (Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Robert Hunter.) Right: Jacqui Pearce (photo, courtesy of the author). 

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Money box, Surrey/Sussex, England, 1560–1620. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 3 1/2". (Courtesy, Noël Hume Collection.) This shows the enigmatic hole in the shoulder of the green-glazed Border Ware money box. The lower side of the body has been restored.

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Money boxes from London’s old Guildhall Museum Collection. Left: miter-shaped, probably from Cheam, Surrey, England, late medieval, lead-glazed earthenware; center, right: green-glazed Border Ware, Surrey/Sussex, England, 1560–1620. H. of money box on right 3 15/16". (Courtesy, Museum of London; photo, Ivor Noël Hume.) 

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Money box, probably Cheam, Surrey, England, ca. 1500. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 3 1/2". (Courtesy, Noël Hume Collection.) The coin slot of this miter-shaped money box measured 1 1/4 x 1/16" before it was widened.

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Drawing of a Border Ware pitcher and miter-shaped money box found in a closely datable London refuse pit, 1480–1510. (Courtesy, Guildhall Museum Collection; artwork by Ivor Noël Hume.)

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Money box, Farnborough, Hampshire, England, 1565–1580. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 3 1/2". (Courtesy, Guildford Museum; photo, Jacqui Pearce.) This Border Ware money box is a waster found in a kiln flue (No. 3) on the Farnborough Hill site.

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Button-knopped reproduction money box showing its documented method of suspension. 

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    The shaft of an Elizabethan pin snuggly fits the mystery hole on the money box illustrated in fig. 2.

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    Piercing the hole into the wet clay and cutting the coin slot when leather hard.

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Fired fragments show the different impacts of piercing the wet clay and cutting the slot at the leather-hard stage. 

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Lead-glazed knop fragment from The Theatre, Shoreditch (1576–1598), site reveals glaze bleeding through the concealed pinhole. (© Museum of London Archaeology; photo, Tim Braybrooke.)

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Turning the button knop and trimming the base before drying.

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    One method of opening the (reproduction) box. 

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    The hammer crew. 

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Unfired reproductions show concave (left) and flat (right) bases.

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    The white arrow points to the scar on the period money box, which provided a clue to the method of kiln stacking. 

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Tiny lumps on the base of the period money box showed that it had stood on top of another, separated by a trivet-style stilt.

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Money box, Donyatt, Somersetshire, England, 1828. Slipware. H. 4", slot length 1 1/2", slot width 3/16". Inscription: E B R / May 21 / 1828. (Courtesy, Jacqui Pearce.) This pin-pierced Donyatt sgraffito slipware money box is the earliest dated example yet recorded from that Somersetshire factory. 

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Pinhole revealed on the interior of the ca. 1800 brown stoneware money box illustrated in fig. 27. 

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Money box, London, England, ca. 1650. Tin-glazed earthenware. H. 6 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Alan Tabor, Robert Woolley Ceramics & Works of Art.) 

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Money box, London, England, 1692. Tin-glazed earthenware. H. 7 3/4". (Courtesy, Colonial Williamsburg.) 

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Money box, Donyatt, England, 1905. Slipware. H. 6"; slot 1 3/4 x 1/4". Sgraffito inscription: “Ralph Coles / Xmas / 1905.” (Courtesy, Noël Hume Collection.)

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Money box, northern Netherlands, 1600s–1700s. Lead-glazed and white-slipped redware. H. 3 1/2"; slot 1 1/2", width damaged. (Courtesy, Noël Hume Collection.) This pedestal-based money box has been restored. 

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Money box, Normandy, France, 1600s. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 4 3/8"; slot 1 1/4 x 1/8". (Courtesy, Noël Hume Collection.) This button-knopped, green-glazed, white-bodied money box has a pedestaled foot and vertical coin slot. It is believed to be Norman French in the English style. 

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Testing coin receptivity of the money box illustrated in fig. 2 shows that its slot will accept neither a 1607 James I shilling nor a 1566 Elizabethan sixpence. 

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    An undated Elizabethan silver penny is of the size that the money box illustrated in fig. 2 will accept, which was the price of admission to The Rose, where most of London’s boxes were found. 

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Money boxes, Derbyshire, England, 1800s. Brown stoneware. Left: H. 6 1/4"; slot 1 3/4 x 1/4"; right: H. 4 1/2". (Courtesy, Noël Hume Collection.) The slots of these examples were made to receive George III twopences (left) and pennies (right), which were issued only at the Soho mint in 1797.

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    The 1806 return to numismatic normalcy inspired a century and more of turned and molded but nonpinholed money boxes. H. of Staffordshire dog 4 1/4". (Courtesy, Noël Hume Collection.)