The West Bend cookie jar is a classic, simple cookie jar, primarily in the casserole and bean pot shape. These jars are very inexpensive and make a great beginning collection for the newbie cookie jar collector.
West Bend Cookie Jar Types
Though West Bend didn't mass market many styles of their cookie jar line, there are a few jars that are readily available, especially if you choose to purchase your West Bend cookie jars at online auctions, such as eBay. Typical designs that you will find in the West Bend cookie jar line are:
- Measuring Spoon cookie jar
- Stone bean crock style
- Copper colored aluminum canister
- Holland motif with boy and girl depicted on the side
Collecting Cookie Jars
People collect cookie jars for a variety of reasons, including using them as they were intended. Cookie jars can be very utilitarian or decorative and they can be used to enhance decor in any room. West Bend cookie jars aren't just for cookies and they don't have to remain on your kitchen shelf anymore.
It may surprise some cookie jar collectors that there are many rare and highly collectible cookie jars. If a porcelain or ceramic cookie jar is in excellent condition, with few or no paint chips, and made by a well known company (such as McCoy), the jar can command prices in excess of $600! That is incredible, especially if you only paid $20 for the jar to begin with. The return on an investment in this collectible arena is far more than in many other collectible hobbies.
Spotting the trend in cookie jar collecting is just as important, especially if you are collecting them as a future investment. One of the best ways to begin collecting cookie jars is to collect the well-known manufacturers first. It is also fun to collect unusual cookie jars from lesser-known manufacturers, but be sure to collect those because you really like them, not necessarily as a future investment. Popular manufacturers that are beloved because of their beautiful designs include:
- Warner Brothers cartoon characters
- Fitz & Floyd
- John Deere
Learning about Collecting
If you are new to collecting cookie jars there are plenty of ways to learn more about this fascinating hobby. There are many cookie jar collecting groups, especially in large cities.
Your local library is also a great place to get information on collecting cookie jars. They should have books that are specific to collecting particular jars, as well as recent price guides to help you recognize the value of the items you are collecting. These books can also help you identify collectibles by learning where signatures and maker's marks should be on the cookie jars.
Many collectors like to keep their own collection of reference books on the subject. Books and magazines that are typically in many cookie collectors' library include:
- Collector's Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars by Fred and Joyce Roerig
- The Wonderful World of Cookie Jars by Mark and Ellen Supnick
- An Illustrated Value Guide to Cookie Jars by Ermagene Westfall
- Today's Collector magazine
Places to Purchase Cookie Jars
Aside from Internet auction houses, there are a few tried and true places to find a West Bend cookie jar:
- Garage sales
- Church sales
- Salvation Army
- Flea markets
- Estate auctions
Collecting cookie jars is a great hobby and beginning with the West Bend jars will be inexpensive. The best advice to any collector is to learn as much about the hobby as possible before you begin purchasing items. While many collectible cookie jars are well marked, many older items are not as easy to identify. Join a collector's club to learn more and find a mentor who can help you identify items to purchase as well as reproduction or fake items you should avoid. Above all, collect items you would love to own, even if you do plan to sell them in the future.