At first sight this object might look like a cheap plastic toy bus, but the slot in the roof shows that it was a money box and more likely to be ceramic. The shape is that of the iconic red London Routemaster bus, which was introduced in 1956. The last one was made in 1968 and the last one in regular service in London was withdrawn at the end of 2005.

The moneybox is remarkably plain, when compared to other moneyboxes which feature route numbers and destinations. There are signs of some wear and minor damage and it is possible some details have been lost. However, the red paint work is not even and the windows somewhat irregular. Does this imply that the bus was not professionally made? The pictures do not show if there was a hole in the base for easy removal of coins.

Money boxes of London buses are widely available a souvenirs, but novelty money boxes of many kinds are designed to make saving pocket money fun for young children. Pig shaped boxes are very popular and called piggy banks. There is also a huge range of boxes for adults to save loose change.

More information:

Date 1960s, 2010s
Material(s) CeramicPlastic
Item number MBPO141

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Do you have a money box? If so, do you still use it?
  • As a child did you have a money box? What shape was it?
  • How easy was it to remove the coins from the moneybox?
  • If a moneybox does not have a round hole with a removable bung, how do you get the money out?

User Stories

I belong to a Musical Society and we performed Summer Holiday, a stage musical based on the 1963 film starring Cliff Richard. It is a popular misconception that the bus in which he and his colleagues toured was a Routemaster, but it was in fact an AEC Regent III RT. I am not aware of any moneyboxes claiming to be of that model bus.

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