With their adorable shapes, vintage McCoy cookie jars are a great collector's item. According to Collectors Weekly, the cookie jars made by McCoy Pottery are among the most collectible on the market due to their enduring charm. If you have one in your china cabinet or are considering starting a collection, it helps to understand a bit about identifying these treasures.
How to Identify a McCoy Cookie Jar
One of the most appealing things about McCoy cookie jars, which were made by the McCoy Pottery Company starting in the 1930s, is the wide variety of shapes and motifs they feature. They range from animals like dogs and turtles to elaborate examples with astronauts and other amazing decorations. Because there are so many different styles, it can be difficult to tell whether you have a real McCoy cookie jar.
Look for the McCoy Mark
Most McCoy cookie jars will have a maker's mark stamped or hand incised on the bottom. McCoyPottery.com has an exhaustive list of the marks, which were used on cookie jars starting in the 1930s. Most marks feature an easy-to-read "McCoy" with some of the letters overlapping.
Check to See if You Have a Fake
The McCoy Pottery Collectors Society reports that there are numerous fake and look-alike cookie jars on the antiques market. One of the easiest ways to spot a fake is if the cookie jar is a shape or character never actually made by McCoy. If you have one of the following, it is probably not a genuine McCoy cookie jar:
- Little Red Riding Hood
- Snow White
- Daisy Cow
- Goldielocks and Goldilux
- Wilbur Pig
- Cobalt Rooster
Identify Your Pattern
Because there were so many McCoy cookie jars made, it helps to identify the pattern of the cookie jar you have. Then you can decide whether your piece is valuable. To do this, look up the jar on a list of known McCoy pottery cookie jar patterns. If it's on the list, you know what you have. If not, keep digging. Try writing down all the identifying features of your cookie jar and looking at similar items. For instance, you may have thought you had a joker but actually had a clown.
Factors Affecting Value of McCoy Cookie Jars
Some of the most valuable McCoy cookie jars sell for thousands of dollars, buy it's also common to find them under a hundred dollars. If you're wondering how much your cookie jar is worth, there are several factors to consider.
As with any antique, the most valuable vintage McCoy cookie jars are those in excellent condition. Those with cracks, chips, crazing, staining, and other damage will not fetch as much at auction. Additionally, details should be crisp. The glaze should be shiny and in good condition, and painted elements should be sharp.
Some cookie jars are especially rare, and these cookie jars are generally more valuable. The astronaut cookie jar, for example is rare and regularly sells for around $500 in good condition. The McCoy Mammy jar, also known as the Aunt Jemima cookie jar, is another example of one that is rare. Even in damaged condition, one of these sold for almost $200. Others, like the adorable but much more common strawberry cookie jar or honey bear, sell for under $100 in good condition because they are easier to find.
Example McCoy Cookie Jars Values
Ultimately, the value of your cookie jar depends on what others are willing to pay for it. You should always compare your cookie jar with others that have sold recently. This is far more accurate than comparing it with asking prices. Here are a few cookies jars that sold recently on eBay:
- A very rare McCoy Gleep cookie jar in good condition sold for $2,500 in early 2020. This goofy looking character jar was missing a little paint in one spot, but this did not detract significantly from the value.
- Instead of being a more common character jar, this rare example was in the shape of an acorn with oak leaves. The charming jar sold for about $800 in early 2020 despite a small amount of crazing.
- A 1955 McCoy Jack O'Lantern cookie jar sold for about $450 in early 2020. This style is full of personality and less common than some other examples.
Charm to Spare
Whether or not they are valuable, McCoy cookie jars always have charm to spare. The novelty designs are unique and fun, and they make a great kitchen collectible for anyone who enjoys a little vintage kitsch.