Determining the Value of Antique Cookie Jars

Updated March 16, 2022
Vintage cookie jar

For many people, finding a special old cookie jar at an antique show or flea market inspires a flood of happy memories filled with sweets and mischief, and it's this heart-warming connection that makes the value of these antique cookie jars far more than just monetary. If collectors don't ignore the sentimental ties that they have to their pieces, then you shouldn't either.

Antique Cookie Jar Value Guides

One of the key resources for determining antique cookie jar values is having a current cookie jar price and identification guide at the ready. In addition to listing the current market price range, most reliable guides also provide other valuable information, such as:

  • Descriptions and dimensions of specific cookie jars
  • Information on spotting reproductions and fakes
  • Maker's marks
  • Historical information on manufacturers and designers

Guide Books Are Valuable Resources

While the internet can provide you with a plethora of information about cookie jar manufacturers and styles, sometimes it can't give you the answer to the exact question that you're asking. This is where guide books can come in handy; they're specialized monographs that have a load of information collected into one space. These are a few of the best guidebooks on antique and vintage cookie jars that you can reference:

  • The Complete Cookie Jar Book - Written by Mike Schneider, this book is considered by many to be one of the most complete cookie jar books ever published. With more than 2,000 full color cookie jar illustrations, the book includes all sorts of information on cookie jar manufacturers, condition guidelines for the antiques, and helpful tips on spotting counterfeit pieces.
  • Warman's Cookie Jars: Identification & Price Guide by Mark F. Morman - Despite being compiled in 2004, this identification and price guide is a great place to start if you're new to the cookie jar collecting business.
  • An Illustrated Value Guide to Cookie Jars - Although Ermagene Westfall's book was originally published in 1983, it was updated in 2003 and includes the market prices of that year. Albeit dated, this book is a valuable resource for identification, as it includes hundreds of beautiful color photographs that you can look at.
  • The Ultimate Collector's Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars: Identification and Values - Joyce and Fred Roerig's book includes more than 1,200 photographs of antique and vintage cookie jars that you can flip through and reference your own cookie jars against.
vintage cookie jar

Finding the Value of an Antique Cookie Jar Online

In addition to guidebooks, there're several online services that you can visit that'll help you determine the value of an antique or collectible cookie jar, including:

  • Kovels - Kovels is a highly reputable organization dedicated to providing information on various collectibles and antiques' current market prices.
  • WorthPoint - WorthPoint is another incredible resource for identifying and evaluating antiques using a crowdsourcing approach by employing the knowledge of the people who collect them.
  • eBay - Besides being a great place to source your collectible cookie jars, eBay also has the potential to help you get a taste for how collectibles are selling in real-time. Compare your cookie jars to the prices of similar ones on eBay and see where they stack up.

Antique Cookie Jars Values at Auction

What might seem like a kooky quirk that your aunt picked up is actually a highly collectible habit that brings in thousands of dollars every year at auction. So, it's best not to poke fun at your aunt the next time she's pushing through piles of ceramic dishes at the thrift store the next town over, since it just might pay for your next vacation. When it comes to antique cookie jars, values are highly dependent on what collectors are attending/viewing the auctions, how rare the cookie jars are, and what condition they're in.

Since the earliest cookie jars are just now being considered antiques, there aren't a ton of them on the market in comparison to their vintage counterparts. Yet, the ones that are can sell for $25-$300, on average. Brands like McKee, Harper J. Ransburg, and McCoy are some of the most collectible and are going to be worth far more than those from unknown or unlabeled manufacturers. Similarly, figural cookie jars can be both big ticket and low-earners, depending on how many of them were manufactured over the years, while glass cookie jars are less common to find at market, but are considered valuable thanks to their visual juxtaposition to ceramic or porcelain ones.

Take these cookie jars that were recently put to auction, for instance:

On rare occasions, you hear of cookie jars being sold for a few thousand dollars, but these prices typically come in the sales of rare and unusual vintage cookie jars from the 1940s-1960s.

A vintage moulded ceramic cookie jar decorated with 3D cookies and a walnut shaped handle

Sentimental Value of Antique Cookie Jars

Cookie jars, just as all antiques and collectibles, have many different values. Many collectors are interested in the monetary value attached to their cookie jar collection. They hope their cookie jars continue to increase in worth, making them more valuable on the collector's market.

However, for many collectors, cookie jars hold a special kind of magic. Some remember the jars filled with special treats lovingly made by grandmothers and mothers. Others think of them as the family piggy bank, where the household money carefully was tucked away as they waited for mom and dad to announce there was enough for that special toy or new two-wheeled bicycle. Without question, these antique cookie jars hold a special place in the hearts of many people around the world.

Not a Crumb Left in Sight

From tugging at the heart strings to pulling at the purse strings, antique cookie jar values vary substantially from person to person. Whether you're a die-hard collector or want to match the turn-of-the-century aesthetic of your new (old) home, these collectibles won't break the bank, but they will put a smile on your face.

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Determining the Value of Antique Cookie Jars