Antique Cookie Jar Collectibles
A History of Cookie Jars
Cookie jars have their origin in British cookie jars, also known as biscuit jars, which have been used in England since the latter part of the 18th century. Cookie jars became very popular in the U.S. around the time of the Great Depression in 1929. Early American cookie jars were really glass jars which were made with metal lids which screwed onto the container. Most of the early grocery stores had these early American cookie jars. Subsequently in the 1930s, stoneware became predominant as the material of choice for American cookie jars. Early cookie jars typically have basic cylindrical shapes and were often painted with floral or leaf decorations.
The Brush Pottery Company of Zanesville, Ohio is typically recognized as producing the first ceramic cookie jar, in the color of green and with the name "Cookies" on the front. Almost all of the Brush cookie jars are marked with the words "Brush U.S.A." Most of the cookie jar manufacturers followed the move to ceramics in the late 1930s, and design exploration became much more innovative as cookie jars began to be produced in figural shapes and in the shapes of fruits, vegetables, animals, and other whimsical interpretations such as the Hull "Little Red Riding Hood". The golden period for American cookie jar production covers the years from 1940 until 1970, with several manufacturers rising to prominence.
McCoy cookie jars, which are produced in Roseville, Ohio are highly prized by collectors. McCoy made cookie jars from about 1939 until production ceased in 1987, and the very first one produced is one of the most collectible and valuable-- the "Mammy" cookie jar. McCoy also made a huge variety of fruit and vegetable jars, and most are embossed with McCoy on the bottom. American Bisque of Williamstown, West Virginia is recognized as another top U. S. manufacturer of cookie jars from just after the depression. They are particularly well known for the many cartoon characters which they translated into cookie jars, and most are marked on the bottom U.S.A.
Other well respected U.S. manufacturers of cookie jars include Red Wing of Minnesota, Metlox of California (maker of the highly sought Little Red Riding Hood), Abingdon Pottery of Illinois (maker of the Mother Goose series), and Shawnee Pottery of Ohio.
One of the driving forces that resurrected collecting cookie jars was the auction of Andy Warhol's collection of over 125 ceramic cookie jars. These were in a multitude of shapes and figures, and this rekindled interest in collecting cookie jars and greatly expanded the market. Most of these cookie jars were purchased at flea markets by Andy Warhol, just like many what many collectors do today. At an auction of his apartment's contents in 1987, Warhol's collection of common, everyday cookie receptacles brought an incredible $250,000.
Links of Interest
McCoy Cookie Jar Index
The McCoy Pottery Cookie Jar index is a list comprised of McCoy Cookie Jars dating from the Late 30's to Present day. Each Cookie Jar is listed by year, not by "Number" and is a link to the history and an image of the jar.
Silverhawk Gallery for Henry Cavanagh
Award winning original works in Ceramics by Henry Cavanagh designer of wonderful old auto cookie jars.
The Cookie Jar Net
Includes information about reproductions and fakes, whats new, and show information.
Gwen's & Tig's Cookie Jars
This site consists of a personal cookie jar collection. It is mostly images of cookie jars to include Disney, Warner Bros. and other manufactures.
Hand-Painted Cookie Jar
Bright handmade ceramic cookie jars from Berryware.
Bottles, Cookie Jars and Tins Wholesale
Tins and glass jars for bakers and cooks.
SEe Through Cookie Jars
Cookie jars and other attractive kitchenware.