Young Entrepreneur Makes Musical Coin Banks

Making coin banks — a project undertaken during an interval of summer boredom — turned into a thriving business for this teenaged boy.

| January/February 1989

I’m 13-years-old and already in the banking business. I build and sell musical banks.

My business started by accident a year and a half ago. I had just finished Cub Scout day camp, school was still several weeks away, and I was bored, bored, bored. Then I happened to remember a wood project my mom had bought for me. I followed one of the patterns and built a house-shaped savings bank.

My grandmother, Fern Henry, suggested I make 10 more. She said she’d put them in the showcase in her art studio, and maybe some art students would buy them. She also suggested I charge $10 each. That sounded good to me!

I took my plans to my grandfather’s workshop, and we found enough scraps to make 10 coin banks. In the meantime, I had found a catalog that sold some musical-bank insets that looked perfect. Every time you dropped in a coin, it played a tune. I ordered 10 “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” insets. I also decided to add a porch, a green shrub (cut from a piece of sponge) and a small wooden dog with a string leash.

I was ready, but, making 10 banks was a lot different than building just one. I was too short to use the band saw unless I stood on a box. When I tried to nail the sides together, I needed six hands instead of two. I must have used a box of nails because every other one would bend. I needed help. 

When I was all finished, I was so disgusted I thought, “No more of this for me.” But then all 10 banks sold before art class even started. I was rich, I was rich!

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