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Collecting Vintage Cookie Jars

A popular Cookies All Over vintage cookie jar

A popular Cookies All Over vintage cookie jar

Do you collect vintage jars? Do you have childhood memories of rushing home after school, hugging Mom or Grandma and asking for a cookie? If yes, was your favorite after school treat oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, a soft sugar cookie or chocolate chip?

In many homes the treat jar sat prominently on the counter or was tucked away in a butler's pantry and yes, you could hear if someone tried to sneak a sweet before dinner. Mom, dad or grandma made sure it was filled with home baked treats or your favorite store bought ones. Browse below to see if you can find the one that you remember from your moms or grandmothers kitchen.

Some people love their childhood memories so much that they buy and collect dozens, even hundreds of jars. There are several collectors featured below even one who bought more than one hundred jars from Andy Warhol's collection. You can find ones that are inexpensive to those worth over $500 each. Although the market is not as "hot" as it was in the 1980s, people still collect cookie jars.

Cookie jars from throughout the 20th century are like time capsules, symbolic of the generation they were produced for. For example, space-themed cookie jars became hugely popular during the 1950s and 60s space race. Antique cookie jars, such as the floral examples from Arts & Crafts manufacturer Roseville, are relics of bygone eras, while vintage and modern cookie jars celebrate contemporary heroes, like The Beatles and Superman.ove to bid popular collectible jars up on online auction sites.

Holiday Jars

Some collectors like to change out their collection for the holidays. Halloween jars can hold your favorite pumpkin treats or be a place to store your Halloween candy! Look for jars that reflect the elements of the holiday including: black cats, ghosts, pumpkins, witches and more. If you can't find a vintage Halloween cookie jar consider buying a new one. It may just become a treasured family collectible!

Vintage Christmas cookie jars are probably the most sought after but if you don't find one, there are plenty of companies that reproduce the vintage look. Look for Santa, elves, reindeer, and gingerbread cottages.

Know the value

Collections might not be as popular as it once was but there are still a lot of collectors!

As in all vintage treasure, "collect what you love", there is no guarantee that your collectible will increase in value! It is only valuable as what another collector will pay for it.

When shopping it's a good idea to consult a price guide to see what the experts value is but that doesn't mean if you sell your collectible you should expect that price.

Generally speaking collectors look for jars that are rare, with bright colors and no chips, crazing or cracks.

The jar I grew up with

The jar pictured, Cookies All Over, was manufactured by Napco in the 1950s and was one of the most popular cookie jars in America for two decades. My family had this treasure in our beach house. Because our house was rented out during the winter we weren't too surprised that this jar was missing when we went back to the house the next spring. I'm sure whomever took it or broke it loved it as much as we did.

About fifteen years ago I picked up "Cookies All Over" at a flea market for $20. I love the big walnut that serves as the lid and some of my favorites decorate the sides. There are hermits, spritz, fig newton type, soft sugar and many more.

Dessert was served almost every night at our house. Sometimes homemade; our favorite soft sugar, brownies, oatmeal raisin or Congo bars. But I mostly remember the store bought ones, at the time store bought seemed fancy because all of our meals were made from scratch. There were Nutter-Butter's, a peanut shaped that I especially liked because of the rough edges of the molded biscuit. You could also peel off the peanut butter layer inside all at once if you were really careful. But sneakily or then you might here "Don't play with your food" from your mother or father.

There were the imported fancy ones that my father liked orange flavored dipped in chocolate, rolled cookies with raspberry filling and there were Yodels, but a mini chocolate roll filled with cream and dipped in more chocolate. When we had Yodels my father would make us little foil goblets out of the wrapper and we could drink milk out of them. When he played with the food we never heard "don't play with your food."

In the summer there was Wolfe's bakery where you could get soft sugar as big as your head that were chewy with the faint flavor of lemon and vanilla. In the fall there were hermits, a New England bar cookie filled with walnuts, raisins, molasses and spices.

Shawnee, an America pottery company from Ohio began operations in 1937. Shawnee manufactured many pottery cookie jars that are now praised by collectors for design, visual appeal and colors.

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Favorite and valuable Shawnee Cookie jars include: Jack and Jill, Cloverbud Smiley Pig, Muggsy,Winnie, Jumbo, Cottage, JoJo the Clown and Puss n' Boots.

  • Animal
  • Betty Boop
  • Cinderella
  • Clown
  • Coca-Cola
  • Disney
  • Dutch Boy
  • Smiley Pig
  • Treasure Craft
  • Wizard of Oz

Andy Warhol's Collection

Andy Warhol's Cookie Jars sold for more than a quarter of a million dollars in an auction in 1988. One collector bought 120!

Video of Andy Warhol Cookie Jar Collector

Molasses Cookies

Did you know that another New England favorite molasses have been baked in America for hundreds of years?

Our "aunt" next door kept a jar filled with these in her butler's pantry. When we visited, we would stand in the middle of the kitchen and tell her all about our school day and wait for her to ask if we would like an after-school snack. Of course, we always say yes, and then she would head to the butler's pantry that sat right behind her dining room, lift the lid of a large cookie jar and present us each with a chewy, sweet, and spicy molasses.

These were heavy puffy discs, rich with molasses and spices with coarse Demerara sugar sprinkled heavily on top. I always wondered when she baked, the jar was always packed, but her kitchen was always spotlessly clean with a large white stove square in the center of the linoleum-floored room. Sometimes after a party, Auntie Florence would drop off some of her fancier for us kids; these were plain Stella Dora Italian biscuits that she cut open and filled with a sweet pineapple cream cheese and topped with confectioners sugar. These were made for special occasions. When she died, my mother sent me her recipe box; in it were the molasses chews recipe written in her hand. I never made them; I don't believe they would taste the same.


Antiques or vintage jars come in all figures and sizes. Some of the most popular are Red Riding Hood, Aunt Jemima, Raggedy Ann and Betty Boop. You might collect character type including Sesame Street or Snowman cookie jars. But there are also Depression glass ones, ceramic or plastic. Look for Fiesta, McCoy, Anchor Hocking, Steindorf and vintage Shawnee.

The simplest look great in a vintage kitchen.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Patricia Biro

Roseann on September 10, 2016:

Little Red Riding Hood

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on February 23, 2014:

Cute designs for cookie jars!

GabrielaFargasch on September 09, 2013:

I love fun cookie jars filled with delicious cookies :)

blue22d on August 04, 2013:

Great lens. Love cookies; never thought to collect jars. I collect lady head vases, which I have a lens on.

anonymous on July 29, 2013:

I love cookies and I love to have them stored in a cookie jar. If I had the room, I would have a whole collection of them! What kind did we have at home? It was a plain old clear glass one. Not very creative but it kept the cookies from getting hard. I currently use a Maxine Jar for my grandkids to sneak cookies out of.

Dancing Cowgirl Design from Texas on April 05, 2013:

Here I sit with a cup of coffee and no cookies in sight!!. These are some really neat looking cookie jars. I guess I would have to just call them jars.....can't keep any cookies around here.

darciefrench lm on November 15, 2012:

I have a lovely vintage piggy cookie jar :)

Bonfire Designs on October 22, 2012:

Loving cookies and cookie jars, sweet lens!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on June 29, 2012:

Seeing those eBay prices makes me wish I had a few of those rare cookie jars to offer up to collectors. Wow. I think my kitchen could use a vintage cookie jar. It would add such a warm touch.

miaponzo on May 08, 2012:

Back for a blessing.. I LOVE Cookie jars!!!

Deadicated LM on April 10, 2012:

We never had one; besides, cookies didn't last that long enough to worry about them getting stale in my house. I love cookie jars though and this Lens; it was very enjoyable and so very well done. Kudos!!!

Patricia Biro (author) from Colorado Springs, Colorado on April 07, 2012:

@julescorriere: thank you!

Fay Favored from USA on April 07, 2012:

I have seen some great cookie jars lately. My favorites are the ones that are filled! :) Happy Easter.

Brandi from Maryland on March 21, 2012:

I love vintage kitchen items. These cookie jars are great! :)

craftaproject on March 04, 2012:

My grandmother had a little red riding hood cookie jar that was always filled with cherry filled cookies

anonymous on February 21, 2012:

I got a cookie jar filled with soft chocolate chip cookies for my birthday from my sister recently. It made me think of this page. It's a nice gift to get, and I enjoyed the TLC with milk. :)

Jules Corriere from Jonesborough TN on February 15, 2012:

Congratulations for making it on the DELICIOUS Valentines Recipe board! Well deserved! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and yummy lens!

Katie Harp on January 23, 2012:

blessed by a squid angel :) <3

anonymous on January 05, 2012:

Lovely lens! Loved the variety of cookie jars you displayed.

dustytoes on January 03, 2012:

I'm glad you liked my chocolate chip cookie jar image enough to use it here. It's a popular selling postcard.

That cookie jar you grew up with, was also the one we had back in the 50's and 60's.

Thomas F. Wuthrich from Michigan on January 02, 2012:

When I was a kid, my mother would have to bake three entire batches of each variety of Christmas cookie. I would sniff them out no matter where she hid them. "Springerle" and "Zimtsterne," two traditional Swiss holiday cookies, were my favorites.

K Bechand from NY on December 28, 2011:

My mom had a cookie monster cookie jar :O)

Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on December 17, 2011:

I remember the cookie 'pail' in my mother's kitchen because it was my job to help keep it full. The 5 gallon metal pail was purchased with honey in it. A lot of time spent baking - funny, I never got tired of it. I still like to bake cookies. I came back to bless this lens.

miaponzo on December 11, 2011:

We had several.. I LOVE cookie jars!!!! Blessed!

LouisaDembul on November 29, 2011:

We had a tin box for our cookies. My father was often caught with his hand in there!

dogface lm on November 27, 2011:

We didn't have a cookie jar back then, but now we do! The cookies in it won't last long though. ;D

beckyf on November 24, 2011:

My mother still has the cookie jar we had when we were growing up. I can see it clearly in my mind's eye.

Teri Villars from Phoenix, Arizona on November 23, 2011:

You made me hungry! We must've been related because my Grandma had the same exact cookie jar! Squid Angel Blessed!

goo2eyes lm on November 18, 2011:

the cookie jar was always empty. we were 11 in the family excluding mom and dad.

Rose Jones on November 17, 2011:

We made a great oatmeal cookie.Well there was Crisco in it, which is scary now but we don't have to think too much about that! We also made peanut butter cookies by the pan. By the way, this lens is informative and lovely.

Odille Rault from Gloucester on November 04, 2011:

Lovely idea for a lens - cookie jars have such a wonderful feeling about them. Love the selection you've got here - especially the snowman ones! :)

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 23, 2011:

I'm glad to see you're putting your special touch on this lens already. Keep boosting it.

jolou on April 04, 2011:

One of my favorite memories of childhood was coming home from school, and as I walked in the door, my mother would have fresh cookies ready. They were usually oatmeal, my favorite. I still love home baked cookies.

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on March 29, 2011:

Mom usually kept them in a Tupperware container when I was older, and I don't remember a specific cookie jar when I was young, but I sure remember those cookies. I have a McCoy cookie jar, and a duck from somewhere in the 1940s, and a Twin Winton owl, plus some newer ones,M&M, and Quaker Oats.

anonymous on January 03, 2011:

I remember being so fascinated by the big strawberry cookie jar in our kitchen. Fun memories!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on September 27, 2010:

Thank you so much for featuring my Cookie Jars for the Family on this great Vintage Cookie Jar lens. Lensrolled to my lens.

Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on June 30, 2010:

Mmmm indeed, so many lovely cookie jars with promises of delicious cookies inside! I actually don't remember having a cookie jar when I was a child, but I bought my mother one (filled with cookies of course!) for her birthday a few years ago. My sister keeps it filled for her and she keeps it on her coffee table to snack from while she watches TV.

jolou on April 27, 2010:

What a great idea for a lens. I remember coming home from school to homemade oatmeal cookies, they were awesome!

oztoo lm on April 14, 2010:

Wow, I didn't know collecting cookie jars was so popular. Some of them are really fun aren't they. My mum had a brass barrel cookie jar. I don't know why she kept it 'cause she always complained about having to polish it.

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