A Comical Mid 20thC Vintage RSPCA Charity Collection Box


Origin: English
Period: Mid Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1950-60
Height: 29 inches (with cats)
Depth: 9.5 inches
Width: 16 inches

The well painted moulded plastic mock chimneystack with simulated brickwork and black carrying handles, having three well moulded cats on a yellow plinth with three coin slots, one with milk bottle, and RSPCA “Thank You” emblazoned in scarlet to a square white front panel on a black plinth base.

The felines (we’re thinking Stouffer the cat from Harry Hill) and the chimneystack they are sitting on are in vintage condition. In other words, their paint has flaked and chipped and two of the cats have lost their milk bottles. To the reverse, the shutting plate is missing. Elsewhere, the two flanks still bear the original black painted drop handles and the piece is in good structural order.

This particular mid twentieth century example was made in several different colour ways, though the cat itself has been a feature sitting on the top of collection boxes since at least 1900, with Doulton Lambeth producing a rare ceramic box adorned with a modelled cat. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, better known as the RSPCA, is Britain's largest animal charity, and has been preventing cruelty to animals since 1824.

Regardless of whether one is using this box as intended or not, and with charity collection boxes now almost obsolete, this provides a thoroughly endearing nod to both the RSPCA’s work and to mid twentieth century design. Any spare change?