Recently LoveToKnow had the opportunity to talk to expert Linda Suddeth of Lin's Antiques about antique McCoy Cookie Jars.
LoveToKnow: What was the first McCoy cookie jar released?
Linda Suddeth: Early jars were produced in the 1930s -- simple styling, green with cookies on it.
LTK: Which is the most popular McCoy cookie jar?
LS: I don't really know if there is a most popular jar. Many individuals who purchase McCoy cookie jars are not collectors. They wish to have a nice jar that will compliment/coordinate with their kitchen decor and in that context, strawberry shaped jars, chickens, and roosters are very popular.
LTK: How did you get interested in McCoy cookie jars?
LS: Many years ago, I inherited my grandmother's Mix-Master mixer and the chipped pink speckled bowl she always used. I thought the bowl was pretty and was surprised to find it was marked McCoy. I have been collecting since then and collect and sell all lines of McCoy pottery. Like most collectors, still remember my first McCoy purchase -- a yellow double tulip vase for $15.
LTK: Do you have a favorite?
LS: I really don't have a favorite -- I love them all! My cookie jar collection is displayed throughout our home -- a jar here, a jar there, they're not displayed as a group.
Identifying an Antique McCoy Cookie Jar
LTK: Are there fake or reproduction McCoys?
LS: Yes, there are fakes and also reproductions. Fake cookie jars are marked McCoy but are jars never produced by McCoy (such as Red Riding Hood). Reproduction jars are made from molds made from a McCoy jar and will always be smaller in size than a McCoy production. Very often, the colors and glaze used on reproduction and fake jars will be signs that they are not "real McCoys" -- it is difficult to recreate the original colors and color shadings.
LK: How can a McCoy be identified?
LS: Experience is the best teacher. Because McCoy jars are marked McCoy, or USA, or with a mold number, or are even unmarked, it is difficult for a new collector to identify a McCoy by markings alone. Talking with a reputable dealer or collector is very helpful as is handling jars to become familiar with the weight, size, and colors used. I always recommend the purchase of a good reference book -- my favorite is Sanfords' Guide to McCoy Pottery. With a little time, a novice collector will be able to spot a McCoy piece from across a room!
Value of Vintage Cookie Jars
LTK: What should a novice collector expect to pay for McCoy cookie jars?
LS: It depends mostly on the jar. McCoy was a prolific producer and there are lots of items on the market, in antique shops, flea markets, auctions, etc. The more common, easily found jars are generally in the $10 to $15 price range.
LTK: What determines the value?
LS: Prices for cookie jars are, like most things, determined by supply and demand. The more difficult to find jars (such as Betsy Baker, Chairman of the Board, etc.) command higher prices than say for example, a brown drip canister style cookie jar.
LTK: What is the highest price you know of for a McCoy cookie jar?
LS: Rare jars such as The Reclining Cow with words "Cookies and Milk" on it and the Fox Squirrel command thousands of dollars.
Caring for Antique Cookie Jars
LTK: What is the best way to safely display the cookie jars?
LS: Safe display of cookie jars depends on each situation. If there are small children or pets in the home, you would probably want to have the jars in a china cabinet, on a tall shelf or even on top of the refrigerator.
LTK: How should one care for an antique cookie jar as far as cleaning it, etc?
LS: Never place or clean pottery (most especially pieces with glaze crazing) in any solution containing bleach. Jars with cold paint should not be immersed in water. Cold paint is applied after the piece has been fired and it will slip/wipe off if it gets very wet.
LTK: What should you do if your jar is missing a lid?
LS: Just keep searching -- depending on the lid, it may take a while but don't give up. Search the Internet and ask dealers to be on the lookout.
Collecting McCoy is fun -- enjoy!!
LoveToKnow wishes to thank Linda for giving of her valuable time and experience. If you are interested in antique McCoy cookie jars, or other antique items you can visit Linda at her online shop, Lin's Antiques.