But for us guys left in the apparently Ferengi-like, "Yankee Trader" capitalist society of the early 21st century, we need a place to hold on to that valuable loose change. (A lesson Kirk and Spock learned in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home...) Sure we've got our ATMs and Debit Cards for big purchases, but where do we stick the dimes, quarters, nickels and - god forbid - all those pennies?
The answer, if you're REALLY a sci-fi geek, is - of course - science fiction oriented piggy banks! I guess they're not really "piggy" banks at all anymore, but sci-fi character banks. "Piggy banks" still sounds more fun as a descriptor.
One of the first such banks I ever owned was produced by Playpal Plastics Inc. in the mid-1970s. It's a character piece of Galen, the intelligent chimpanzee (played by Roddy McDowall) on the Planet of the Apes TV series. As a kid, I used to keep this item close to my bed, and dump the spare quarters in (so on the weekends, I could go buy trading cards at the milk store...).
One truly odd character oriented piggy bank came to me courtesy of my late grandfather, who - in the late 1980s and 1990s - explored probably hundreds of flea markets to find me sci-fi collectibles. It's an ALF "Talking Bank" from Alien Productions Inc., circa 1987.
The legend on the bank (which features ALF and a bank vault, is "Wonderful, Strong. Safe with me." This is a weird one, but I've never found anybody in the world who owns an ALF bank (besides me), so I sort of treasure it.
With the resurgence of Star Wars popularity in 1999 came a whole new generation of interactive character banks. Why, there were banks of Jar Jar Binks, Qui Gonn Jinn, Obi Wan Kenobi, old-schoolers like Darth Vader, and even my favorite non-Vader Sith, Darth Maul.
The great thing about these banks is that they all play music (like Vader's theme), dance around like little automatons, light up, and do all kinds of neat stuff. The downside is that they go haywire spontaneously. One of my best friends has a kid we just love, named Jacob. He was ten years old or so when these banks came out, and they would freak him out by suddenly "activating" themselves in the middle of the night. Very, very strange...
A couple of years ago for Christmas, my parents gave me a truly wonderful piggy bank. This is a Star Trek "borg" bank, a toy/bank that proves we truly live in the age of the collector. This bank lovingly recreates the Enterprise's first encounter with the evil Borg, from Next Gen. You place a coin on the Enterprise, a tractor beam activates, and the ship gets dragged into the large bank, the Borg cube.
Tell me that isn't incredibly cool. Or geeky. Depends, I guess, as Obi-Wan would say, on "your point of view."