The West Bend cookie jar is a classic, mid-century modern style cookie jar, primarily found in a functional casserole shape. These stoneware jars are very inexpensive and make a great beginning collectible for the newbie cookie jar collector in town.
Types of West Bend Cookie Jars
Though West Bend didn't mass market many styles of their cookie jar line, there are a few jars that are readily available in the current market, especially if you choose to hunt your West Bend cookie jars down at online retailers like Etsy and eBay.
Measuring Spoon Cookie Jar
One of the most popular styles of vintage West Bend cookie jars today is a quaint crock-style cookie jar that features a measuring spoon and spork motif across the front. Painted in typical warm-tone mid-century colors, the number of these jars that you can find listed online speak to how popular the style was over fifty years ago. This cookie jar also comes with a lid to ensure maximum cookie freshness.
Copper Colored Aluminum Canister Cookie Jar
Although West Bend was known for its ceramic and stone crockware, the company also released a number of low-cost aluminum storage containers throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. These durable containers often came in sets and were painted with a multitude of colors like teal, copper, green, and so on. In fact, the copper set came with its own designated cookie jar cannister to go alongside the other ingredient containers in the line.
Jack and Jill Painted Cookie Jar
West Bend's Jack and Jill cookie jars were created using the same mold as the Measuring Spoon cookie jar, except glazed with a dark brown hue and painted to illustrate a little boy and girl picking tulips in a flower field. This stone cookie jar also boasts the same handles and lid that the Measuring Spoon jar has.
Brown Glazed Cookie Jar
Interestingly, West Bend's undecorated brown glazed stone crock was intended to be a bean cooker. In fact, some of these crocks came with their own hot plates and instructions about how to best prepare different types of dried beans in them. However, since this crock shares the same exact model as the company's designated cookie jars, you can also use these glazed crocks for cookie storage if you prefer their style to the company's more niche designs.
Cast Iron Print Crock and Cookie jar
Behind Vintage Cookie Jar Collecting
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. Genuine West Bend cookie jars (as identified by their stamped maker's mark located on the bottom of the jars or underneath the jar lids) aren't just for cookies, and they don't have to collect dust on your kitchen shelves anymore.
It may surprise some cookie jar collectors to know that there're many rare and highly collectible cookie jars out there. 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! Not only is that incredible, especially if you only paid $20 for the jar to begin with, but the return on an investment in this collectible arena is far greater than it is in other collectible categories.
Spotting the current trends in cookie jar collecting is just as important, especially if you're 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's also fun to collect unusual cookie jars from lesser-known manufacturers too, 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, and can be resold easier than more niche manufacturers, include:
Resources for Cookie Jar Collecting
If you're new to collecting cookie jars and want to know more about the collectibles themselves, then there're plenty of resources you can turn to. For instance, your local library is a great place to get started on finding out more information on collecting cookie jars. They should have books that're specific to collecting particular jars, as well as recent price guides to help you recognize the value of the items you're 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 to consult when they're looking at a potential acquisition. Books and magazines that're typically found in many cookie collectors' libraries 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
Places to Find Vintage West Bend Cookie Jars
Aside from online auctions and digital retailers, there are a few tried and true places that you can look at in-person to find one of these West Bend cookie jars for a low cost, including:
- Garage sales
- Church sales
- Salvation Army
- Flea markets
- Estate auctions
Add Some Visual Sweetness to Your Kitchen
Collecting cookie jars is a great hobby, and starting your collection with a few West Bend pieces is an inexpensive way to jump right in. Although these cookie jars aren't as decorative as some, they'll last you for decades to come.