Billiken Shokai

Billiken is a tin toy, figures and book manufacturing company established in 1976 in Japan.

Meaning of Billiken

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.

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Billiken value and price guide

What's your Billiken worth? Here are some recently sold items.

Picture Title Date Price
billiken robot tin wind up japan astro boy atom Billiken Robot Tin Wind Up Japan Astro Boy Atom... 07/2021 $195.00
inuit billiken tooth carving good luck charm Inuit Billiken Tooth Carving Good Luck Charm... 07/2021 $167.50
st louis louisville memorabilia cardinals St Louis Louisville Memorabilia Cardinals... 07/2021 $2.00
monterey club dry swing mens shirt nwt 66 1286 030 Monterey Club Dry Swing Mens Shirt Nwt 66 1286 030... 07/2021 $25.00
billiken robot tin wind up japan astro boy atom Billiken Robot Tin Wind Up Japan Astro Boy Atom... 07/2021 $225.00
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices07/2021$-.--

Billiken forum

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Comments (4)
Scott - July 6, 2021
Does Billiken Shokai Company still exist or has it closed?
Yes, this company still exist.
Daniel - September 7, 2018
Hi,I lost my Billiken tin toy winding key.Do you have a replacement key I can buy from you?Cheers,Daniel.
There are some replacement wind up keys on eBay, not sure if they will fit your Billiken. Have a look here.
Monty - January 15, 2013
I have the same silver cup but have never seen or heard of another
Deborah - August 18, 2011
I have a Billiken silver cup that was given to me many years ago by my father. It has five images of billiken around it that say "I am the prince of happiness" "I am the cause of luckiness" "I am the source of better things" "My name is Billiken". The bottom is stamped with Queen City Silver Company trade mark and Billiken trade mark. Can you give me any information about it? Thanks, Deb
There are some articles written on "Billimania". If you search on Google you'll find lots of info.