Collecting Advice

Cookie Jars - A Beginner's Guide to Collecting


Cookie Jar History

Decorative cookie jars began to appear as a form of kitchenware in the United States in the early 1930s. The earliest known decorative cookie jar is a 10-inch-tall ceramic jar shaped like a trash can from Brush Kolorkraft of Roseville, Ohio, which was dated to 1929. Early cookie jar manufacturers include McKee Glass Company of Pennsylvania, glass makers keen to capitalize on the new cookie jar trend, and Louisville Pottery, who made lidded jars for the Harper J. Ransburg Company of Indiana. Ransburg has been credited with hand-painting up to a quarter-million jars per year during its peak in the 1930s. Popular designs ranged from floral motifs, Davy Crockett style coonskin caps, and classic nursery rhyme characters such as Humpty Dumpty and Mary and her little lamb.

Hidden Treasures

Some of the best places to find rare gems and unique finds are often garage sales and estate sales. It is often possible to find just the cookie jar you are searching for tucked away in the corner at these sales. If you are lucky, you might even find one that is worth considerably more than the garage sale price. Flea markets and antique malls are some other places that usually have a nice selection of cookie jars sprinkled through their displays. As always it is important to be careful when purchasing in these environments if a cookie jar has a particularly large price tag be sure you are buying what you think you are.

To Bid or Not to Bid?

Today there are many sites online where you can find new and vintage collectibles including cookie jars. Auction sites, such as Ebay and Ubid, are terrific venues for shopping and researching the many cookie jars that are available. There are also an increasing number of non-auction shopping sites like Etsy, Ruby Lane, Bonanza, and even Amazon that have a decent selection of both old and new cookie jars. Be sure to look at the photos carefully in order to guard against buying a cookie jar that has cracks or chips, as this would decrease the value. If necessary contact the seller to verify the condition. Be wary of blurry photos as they may be intentionally concealing flaws.

Character Cookie Jars

Many manufacturers, including American Bisque, made numerous cookie jars in the shapes of animals. Pigs were especially popular, and American Bisque is well-known for its line of “paws in pockets” jars. Other popular creatures included elephants, kittens, puppies, lambs, and rabbits. Character cookie jars come in all shapes and sizes, so there is something for every type of buyer. Whether it’s Blues Clues, Cat in the Hat, Disney characters or Harry Potter, a character cookie jar can be found for just about any pop culture category. Perhaps you are looking for classic characters, such as Betty Boop, The Flintstones, Garfield, Looney Tunes or the Pink Panther, these characters continue to be popular and are found in both vintage styles and newly produced versions.

Memorabilia Cookie Jars

Vintage Coca-Cola memorabilia, a staple among collectors, can make cross collecting more exciting for some cookie jar collectors. Coca-Cola cookie jars come in an array of styles and with numerous personal preferences in mind. The result is a large selection of cookie jars that can satisfy the needs of every cookie jar collector. Other cross collectible options are available to any collector of a specific maker or those who collect items from specific pop culture themes. Collectors of Black Americana have a wide variety of cookie jars to choose from, as do any collectors of Disney memorabilia.