What's Not to Love About Collecting Vintage Cookie Jars?
I started collecting vintage cookie jars completely by accident. During my growing-up years my family had a pig cookie jar that was both well-loved and well-used. I can remember my brother and I teaming up to steal the tea cakes that were put away in the jar on top of a tall (to us) cabinet. Tom would climb up on a kitchen stool while I was the "lookout". Fun times. When I married, my mom gave that cookie jar to me and told me the story of how it had been a wedding gift to her. I was pleased with my cookie jar and for about a year he sat alone on the countertop. One day I stopped at a yard sale and saw an old bear cookie jar marked for 50 cents. How could I resist his cute face? I decided he made the perfect pair with my pig. It was the beginning of my collection. Soon I was looking for cookie jars in antique stores, auctions, and estate sales. This was before the widespread influence of the internet and also before cookie jars became hot collectibles so they were pretty affordable. I have never collected based on the value of a jar, but only if I loved it. Because of that all of my jars are figure jars (they are just so darn cute) although there are many other types available. Today I rarely add to my collection (space and price have gotten too valuable), but I still love my 30 plus cookie jars. Whether you are interested in specific vintage cookie jar lines like Shawnee or McCoy or just enjoy finding fun cookie jar figures, there are many great resources out there for the cookie jar collector and I hope to share some of them with you. Happy collecting!
Here's my original jar joined by his first "friend".
Story of a Traveling Pig
In 1978 (or maybe it was 1979), I saw a contest announced in a magazine that required writing an entry about "my warmest memory of my cookie jar". It was sponsored by Nestle Toll House Morsels in connection with their 50th anniversary. There were some pretty cool prizes offered and I thought I had a great memory to share so I wrote off my entry and mailed it in. My entry described growing up using the cookie jar (the pig you see at the beginning of this lens) and also about how my mom, who had gotten this jar as a wedding present, gave it to me when I married. I basically forgot about it and was surprised one day by a phone call telling me that I was the winner from my state (Mississippi). The prize for state winners was a one year supply of Nestle chocolate chips and a commemorative cookie jar. Also, each of the winning jars, one from each state, went to New York for a month-long exhibition in a museum there. I was a little nervous to ship my beloved pig off, but he made it there and back without any mishaps. Today the commemorative jar I won in the contest is a reminder of my "traveling pig's" adventure and is well on the way to vintage status as well.
What's It Worth? - Reference Books for the Collector
If you want to make informed decisions about purchasing a vintage jar, you really need to do some background research. Every collector needs at least one good reference book. Some collectors aren't really interested in how much a jar is worth in terms of planning to sell it; but it still feels good to think the cookie jar you found at an auction or at an estate sale was a great find. Reference books can also help you avoid some of the unscrupulous seller tricks to which the uniformed buyer sometimes fall prey (for example combining lid and jar from two different cookie jars and passing it off without telling the buyer). Reference books provide all kinds of information including good photos to aid identification.
Other Sources of Information - Check these links.
- Cookie Jars from A - Z - Picture and Price Guide for Cookie Jars
A cookie jar collection brings a smile to everyone's face, whether young or old. Many are taken back to their grandma's kitchen with the smell of cinnamon wafting in the air and the selection of that one "perfect" cookie taken carefully from her cook
- The Real McCoy: Is it Authentic or is it a Fake?
McCoy and Cookie Jars go together and because they do, many unscrupulous sellers try to take advantage of collectors. This is especially prevalent through Internet sales when buyers think they are bidding or purchasing an authentic jar from the real
- McCoy Pottery Collectors' Society
This official website of the non-profit organization offers information and newsletters plus more for the serious (or not-so-serious) collector.
- Cookie Jars, Today's Vintage Online Auctions
Locate information and values on collectible Cookie Jars of the 1930s, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's.
Andy Warhol's Cookie Jar Collection
Pop artist Andy Warhol collected over 175 cookie jars (mostly from flea markets and auction box lots). In the 1970s Claude Picasso, (son of the artist) asked Warhol why he collected the cookie jars. Warhol's answer? ''They are time pieces.''
When Warhol's collection was featured in a news magazine, public interest in cookie jar collecting was stimulated. One result of this (unfortunately for those of us who love collecting jars for our own enjoyment and not for monetary value) was that collecting became more competitive and prices went up. When Sothebys auctioned off his estate in 1987, collector and businessman Gedalio Grinberg paid $198,605 for 136 of them. The entire collection brought in $250,000. Not too shabby for a collection assembled mostly from flea markets!
Looking for a Vintage Cookie Jar?
Are you ready to try to find that perfect jar to start your collection? Maybe your grandmother had a special cookie jar you remember from childhood. Part of the pleasure of collecting vintage jars is the thrill of tracking down that perfect find. Maybe what you're looking for is a click away.
Newest Addition (A Non-Vintage Favorite)
I love cookie jars, not just the vintage ones, and have several at my house that are in current use. For my birthday this year I was given a new cookie jar that I just love. It is a Fitz and Floyd snowman and I predict that he will one day be collectible too. Right now I'm just enjoying him.
Fitz and Floyd
This is a beautifully made cookie jar that can be enjoyed for years to come. While intended for Christmas use, I plan to leave mine out year-round. Right now he's sitting in the middle of my dining room table (unfortunately he's out of cookies).
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What's your favorite cookie jar?
Lisa Bean from Virginia on January 08, 2019:
Do you usually keep the jars just to display or do you store actual cookies in them? We have been gifted a very new, not vintage cookie jar but it's festive and the kids like it. I've been torn wether or not to store food in it during the holidays.
anonymous on March 19, 2013:
Im trying yo find out information about a cookie jar that I have. About 20 years ago I was told it was Redwing and that it was a Jack Frost sugar promotional piece. It's a lime green/yellow double walled with hold on the handles lid and a picture of an elf riding a rabbit on the front in gold. If anyone knows anything about it pls let me know. I have looked every place for information. Thank you. I appreciate it. :)
Tracey Boyer from Michigan on September 01, 2012:
I Love cookie jars of all kinds. Thanks for making this lens, I enjoyed it.
anonymous on July 31, 2012:
When I was growing up in the 60s, my aunt had a house cookie jar with two little girs on the window, that was the first thing I saw going into her kitchen, I'd give anything to get one just like it. I've been looking for it online, but so far no success.
anonymous on May 21, 2012:
I have the pig cookie jar too! It was my grandmothers.
Chazz from New York on April 03, 2012:
Without a doubt I'd have to say it's my late mother-in-law's Smiley pig that we now have in our kitchen.
Dancing Cowgirl Design from Texas on December 27, 2011:
You have some cool looking cookie jars. Keep collecting and fill them all with cookies!
WayneDave LM on October 21, 2011:
Nice lens, thanks for sharing it.
MelissaInTheSky on October 18, 2011:
I miss when art was more integrated in our everyday lives. Those are great cookie jars! :)
Also, thank you for liking my Happiness Tools lens!
DLeighAlexander on September 06, 2011:
I too am fond of cookie jars and have several ... a precious moments, a snowman, a frog (that my husband and I received for a wedding present almost 34 years ago), a Coca-Cola bear, and probably the most unique is a replica of a McDonald's restaurant, (the old style with the arches on the outside) which I acquired during my years as a McDonald's owner/operator. Loved your lens and seeing your treasures!
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on September 05, 2011:
Yes, I am right there with you! I love cookie jars! I also love anything Fitz and Floyd. That was an awesome story about your traveling pig. I don't think I could have shipping mine. Good for you and way to go!
pawpaw911 on September 04, 2011:
Loved the story of the contest. I can see why you were a little nervous about shipping your pig.
anonymous on September 01, 2011:
Your bear and your pig look like they grew up together. I love your story about the traveling pig..and the collection grew! Very sweetly done!
Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on August 16, 2011:
Love your vintage cookie jar lens. I have a snowman cookie jar that I really like, not quite like yours.. Does anyone every use them for cookies though? I don't but I still buy them.
TheSwedishLady on August 13, 2011:
I love to collect any type of antique especially the cookie jars. Enjoyed your lens.
sheriangell on June 29, 2011:
I love everything vintage, yet everyone in my family loves shiny and new. We are always at odds with each other, but because I'm MOM I get to win!
JoshK47 on June 24, 2011:
What fun old cookie jars! My mom still has my favorite cookie jar, though it's not terribly old - it's based on the town hall from Nightmare Before Christmas.
anonymous on June 14, 2011:
dessertlover on June 07, 2011:
I love looking at vintage cookie jars, they're always so fun!
anonymous on May 17, 2011:
I love cute cookie jars, earthen pots and vintage jars. The vintage designs on the porcelain are awesome.
CarolynPile on May 11, 2011:
My mother has a cute cookie jar that is a white cat. I've always loved it.
Wedding Mom on March 27, 2011:
I love vintage cookie jars, they are so much fun.
Stonecutter on March 26, 2011:
This lens caught my eye right a way because the pig cookie jar reminded me of my childhood as my Grandmother had one just like it. One of my sisters has that jar now which is a good safe place for it.
Ilona E from Ohio on March 05, 2011:
Every year I buy a Nonni's Biscotti jar at Sam's Club, so I guess I have become a collector too. Not as interesting Warhols,tho.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on February 05, 2011:
Oh wow, I loved reading the story of the Nestles contest. What fun to be a winner! Thanks so much for sharing about your Vintage Cookie Jars. Lensrolled to my Cookie Jar for the Family lens.
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 29, 2011:
I'm lensrolling this to my Cookie Jar Memories. I have a red Hall cookie jar that I treasure.
Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on January 29, 2011:
I have an old duck cookie jar that still has smidgens of "cold paint" on it. As far as I can tell, it is from somewhere in the 1940s. I also have a cat cookie jar that is a "one of a kind," as it was made by my oldest daughter when she was in high school. She is now in her 50s, so to me that makes it a collectible. Great lens and I'm sharing it.
ElizabethJeanAl on January 29, 2011:
You're vintage cookie jars are adorable.
hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on January 28, 2011:
Wow! That's pretty neat about winning the prize and your cookie jar going on exhibit!! I'd be a bit nervous about it too. I'm glad he made it back in one piece :)
I don't have a favorite cookie jar but I love looking at the vintage animal ones :)