For many collectors, the favored collection is that of the novelty cookie jar. If you are new to collecting, this article will give a brief overview of the history of the novelty cookie jar as well as a few resources to get you started in this fun hobby.
Cookie Jar History
The novelty cookie jar that we know today is very different than how the original cookie jar started out. Originating in the 18th century, cookie jars started out as British biscuit jars. In 1929, the cookie jar made its way to the United States as a glass jar with a metal, screw-on lid.
Stoneware cookie jars were introduced in the 1930s as cylindrical jars with flower or leaf decorations painted on them. Ceramic cookie jars were first introduced by the Brush Pottery Company and soon thereafter, others followed suit. By the late 1930s manufacturers became more creative, producing cookie jars shaped like fruits and vegetables, animals and people.
They heyday of the collectible cookie jar was from 1940 through 1970. Following are some of the principal names in collectible cookie jars:
- Abindon Pottery--Known for their "Mother Goose" series.
- American Bisque--Known for producing cartoon character jars, their jars are marked "U.S.A." on the bottom.
- Brush Pottery--Marked "Brush U.S.A." on the bottom.
- Metlax--Produced the popular "Little Red Riding Hood"
- McCoy-- In production from 1939 to 1987, they created the first "Mammy" jar as well as fruit and vegetable shaped jars.
- Red Wing
- Shawnee Pottery
Novelty Cookie Jar Collecting
If you are going to start a novelty cookie jar collection, it is a good idea to look at some books about collectable cookie jars. Resource books and price guides will give you an idea of what is out there, what they are worth, and how to avoid getting ripped off by fake jars. Here are a few good books to check out:
- Collector's Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars Book 1 starting at $7.50.
- Collector's Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars Book III from $7.88.
- The Complete Cookie Jar Book for $29.95.
- An Illustrated Value Guide to Cookie Jars starting at $1.85.
- The Wonderful World of Cookie Jars: A Pictorial Reference and Price Guide starting at $50.00.
All of these books as well as many others are available at Amazon.com.
Novelty Cookie Jar
It will be easier to have a novelty cookie jar collection if you decide a goal or theme for your collection. Starting out you will want every novelty cookie jar you see, but you will very quickly realize that you need space in order to display them all. A theme will narrow your collection allowing you to display more of your favorites. Some popular themes for a novelty cookie jar collection include:
- Advertising cookie jars--This would include brands like Coca Cola, Pillsbury, John Deere or Nabisco.
- Cartoon jars--These jars have characters such as Snoopy, Garfield, Betty Boop or Disney.
- Nursery Rhyme jars--This type of jar will have characters like Mother Goose or Little Red Riding Hood.
- Holiday cookie jars--They are decorated with Christmas trees, Santa or the Easter Bunny.
- Cultural Icons--Jars that have images of The Beatles or I Love Lucy.
- House cookie jars--Shaped like houses of any style, you can build a small town in your kitchen.
- Lighthouse cookie jars--Give your kitchen a nautical theme.
Another way to solve the dilemma of adequate space is to own only a predetermined number of cookie jars at a time. For example, if your predetermined number is 50 cookie jars, you will need to sell one if you discover a 51st jar that you simply must have.
If you just can't bare to get rid of your jars, or you have trouble deciding on one theme, consider rotating your collection. This only works if you have room to store cookie jars that are packed in boxes. You could display fruit-shaped cookie jars in the spring; when summer rolls around you would then box up your fruit-shaped jars and display advertising cookie jars. In the winter you may decide to display only your Christmas cookie jars.
Get creative with your display techniques. Cookie jars don't have to stay in the kitchen. Put one in your bathroom and fill it with cotton balls, or make an arrangement of three different jars on your fireplace mantle. The possibilities are endless if you use your imagination.
Where to Find Them
Finding novelty cookie jars is half the fun of collecting! Check out flea markets, estate sales, gift shops or online sources like eBay and Clark's Cookie Jars. Have fun and enjoy your new novelty cookie jar collection.