Billiken is a tin toy, figures and book manufacturing company established in 1976 in Japan.
Billiken was designed by a Kansas City art teacher named Florence Pretz. Theories concerning the origin of the Billiken abound. In one version, Ms. Pretz simply dreamed of the Billiken. In another possible version she based the character on a pixie mentioned in the poem "Mr. Moon: A Song of the Little People," by Canadian poets Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey. Another theory names new US President William Howard Taft (elected in November 1908) as the inspiration, with "Billy" possibly coupled with the Japanese honorific "Kun". This theory sometimes includes the assertion that the Horsman Company, a licensee of the Billiken for dolls, was attempting to re-create the success of the Teddy Bear- a doll named for prior US President Theodore Roosevelt. However, that the name Billiken on chalkware figures and possibly banks predates the Horsman Company dolls, making this theory unlikely.
What's your Billiken worth? Here are some recently sold items.
|Postcard 1908 Billiken Company Poem God Of...||05/2021||$9.89|
|C 1910 Cast Iron Bank Advertising Billiken Shoes A...||05/2021||$64.00|
|Saint Louis University Slu Billikens Hoodie...||05/2021||$15.99|
|Ncaa St Louis University Billikens Crewneck...||05/2021||$18.86|
|Cast Iron Billiken Still Bank Good Luck...||05/2021||$32.00|
|See all sold items on eBay for more prices||05/2021||$-.--|