Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cookie Jars - The Keepers of Delicious Treats

Howdy Folks,
Well I guess you knew all along that I couldn’t stay away from talking about pottery and glass for very long! Today is Tuesday, so in keeping with the article schedu
le, today’s article is on Antiques and Collectibles, and the collectible I’ll be writing about is Cookie Jars, those wonderful ceramic goodie holders that as kids we always had our hands in.

Learning About Cookie Jars

If you are just beginning to collect cookie jars, or if you’re beginning to sell them, the first thing to do is learn about them. Aside from the internet, the best place to learn about cookie jars is though reference books and collector’s clubs. Some of the many cookie jar collector clubs with some very informative web sites are:

1. American Cookie Jar Association

2. The Cookie Jar Collector

3. Craig’s Cookie Jar Collection

Some good reference books are:

1. The Complete Cookie Jar Book by Mike Schneider (my favorite)

2. Warman's Cookie Jars: Identification & Price Guide by Mark Moran

3. The Ultimate Collector's Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars - Fred Roerig & Joyce Roerig

4. The Wonderful World of Cookie Jars: Pictorial Reference & Price Guide by Mark & Ellen Supnick

I cannot over-stress how important it is to learn as much as you can about cookie jars, before you go out and start buying them. This applies both to collectors and to sellers. And don’t limit yourself to just one reference book. It’s better to have a well rounded knowledge of cookie jars, and relying on only one reference book is simply nothing more than limiting yourself. One important thing to remember about these reference books is that is exactly what they are. Reference books. Although many of them, if not most of them contain price guides and price lists, the prices they mention are rarely accurate. They are usually calculated from a select, and sometimes small, area of sales, and are usually outdated by the time the book is published. Unfortunately, too many sellers, especially in the smaller antique shops, and at thrift stores and flea markets, price their cookie jars (and other items) based on these “price guides.” A better and more accurate method of pricing cookie jars, whether for buying for your collection or selling them) is to check eBay’s completed listings. This will give you a more accurate (although not 100%) idea of what some cookie jars are selling for.

What Kind of Jars to Buy?

Now that that is out of the way, let’s look at why folks buy cookie jars. Usually they buy them because they like them. And who doesn’t. They come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. I know of some who have collected cookie jars for years and have enormous collections. Others have collected for years and have small collections. People collect them for different reasons, but the main reason is that they simply like them, and it is their personal tastes that dictate what they are going to buy. I think that is the best gauge of which cookie jar to buy. If you like it, and it is within your budget, then go ahead and buy it. But don’t get caught in the trap that you have to buy every cookie jar you see just to have some. It is better to wait and save your money until you can afford the jar or jars that you really want. Don’t settle for just any jar, be a bit more particular and you’ll be much happier with your collection. Trust me.

If you are selling cookie jars, whether to reduce your own collection, or as a business catering to cookie jar collectors, it is imperative to determine if the jars you are considering selling have any real resale value. This is where the reference books and completed sales reports mentioned above come into play for the seller. Having a house full of common massed produced cookie jars will not make you much, if any, money. Again, be discriminating in your cookie jar purchases.

Certain Cookie jars are more desirable than others, both for the collector and the reseller. Antique cookie jars and biscuit jars, movie related jars, and jars by certain manufacturers are big sellers. A set of eleven Wizard of Oz cookie jars recently sold for a whopping $2,950.00! These were not antique jars, however. In fact they were not even that old. They were made by Treasure Craft for the Star Jars company in the 1990’s. But their high quality, coupled with the limited number actually made, has made them a very hot item.

The noted and eccentric artist Andy Warhol collected cookie jars, and at an auction after death, his collection of more than 125 jars sold for $250,000! Other jars that also have a great appeal among collectors are Roseville cookie jars, special advertising edition jars, cartoon character jars, Disney jars, and super hero jars.

Buying Cookie Jars

The most obvious place to buy cookie jars is, of course, at the store. However, most cookie jars found in department stores are mass produced and have very little aesthetic or resale value. Better venues for finding those “lost” gems that are becoming increasingly harder to find are Flea Markets, Garage Sales, Estate Sales, Auctions, and of course, at online sites such as Bonanzle, eBay, Tias, Ruby Lane, and others.

Once again, I cannot over-stress the importance of learning all you can about cookie jars before you start buying. Not only will you have a better idea of what you are looking for as far as design and manufacturer, but you will be better prepared to face the inevitable slew of fakes and reproductions that you find yourself faced with. For instance, there are sellers out there who will try to sell you an authentic Brush McCoy cookie jar. Although the McCoy Pottery company made cookie jars, and the Brush pottery company made cookie jars, they never made any during the short period of time that the two companies were merged together. Therefore, anyone who tells you they have a rare Brush-McCoy cookie jar is pulling your leg. There ain’t no such critter as a Brush-McCoy cookie jar! So take the time to do your research and learn. If nothing else, take along a knowledgeable collector who can point out the good jars from the bad ones, and the better ones from the good.

If you choose to purchase your jars from an online source, you not only need to do your cookie jar homework, but you need to learn as much as you can about the seller. Is the seller a reputable seller? Do they have a good feedback score, or have they had numerous complaints lodged against them? Are their item photos clear and their item descriptions complete? Grainy or blurry photos, as well as brief incomplete descriptions are often used to hide the reality of inferior items. These are valid questions to ask yourself, and don’t be shy about asking the seller for more information or better photos. It’s your hard earned money that you’re about to spend. Honest sellers will be more than happy to provide you with any information you need, including more photos of the item. Dishonest sellers won’t be as accommodating. Remember, buying online is not like going to a flea market or sale and being able to actually handle the cookie jar you want, so be completely sure in your mind before buying online.

Well I hope you enjoyed this article on cookie jars. If you enjoyed this article, or any of the others in this blog, please consider following the blog, leaving your comments, or subscribing. Thanks for stopping by!

Instead of Today’s Word Wisdom, I thought I’d include one of my favorite cookie recipes, so you can start filling up your new cookie jar!

Chocolate Chunkies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

1/2 * cup butter

1/2 *cup shortening

1 *cup granulated sugar

1/2 *cup brown sugar, packed

2 *large eggs

2 *teaspoons vanilla

2 *cups all-purpose flour

1 *teaspoon baking soda

1/2 *teaspoon salt

2 *cups chocolate chip chunks

1 *cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening; gradually mix in sugars, creaming thoroughly.

2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

3. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

4. Chill for a few minutes or let stand at cool room temperature for 30 minutes.

5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.

6. Flatten slightly and smooth edges to make 1/2-inch thick cookie.

7. Bake in a 350*F oven for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and still slightly *under-baked in the center.

8. Let stand on baking sheet for 5 minutes; remove to racks to let cool completely.

Some cookie jars which recently sold on eBay:

Glenn Appleman Rolls Royce Sculpture Cookie Jar

Sold $840.00


Sold $620.00


Sold $600.00

Fitz & Floyd Limited Edition Noah's Ark Cookie Jar

Buy It Now $530.00

Fred Flintstone in Sitting Position Cookie Jar

Sold As Best Offer $500.00

1930's ~Mickey & Minnie ~ Turnabout ~Cookie Jar

Sold As Best Offer $475.00

1 comment:

Susan Baker said...

Saw my first Appleman cookie jars today loved them!