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Collecting Vintage Glass: Jars

Updated on November 24, 2014
Virginia Allain profile image

Collecting has been a lifelong passion for Virginia and her collections range from ephemera to tins and Hall china.


Collecting vintage jars

Collecting vintage glass doesn't need to be expensive. This page shows you where to find inexpensive vintage glass jars that don't cost the earth. Scroll through to find some examples and some helpful hints and tips on collecting old jars.

Jars come in all sort of shapes and sizes and for different use. For example: Featured here: Summer Cottage Vintage Glass Jar Drink Dispenser.

Some people like the vintage look but don't want the responsibility of caring for valuable pieces. For you, I've included a selection of vintage-style jars (reproductions) for use and decoration.

Shopping for Ball vintage jars - on eBay

The Ball jar followed the Mason jar into production for home preserves. It was produced by Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company and the first jars appeared in 1885. These jars have Ball clearly embossed on the sides or on the bottom of the jar. Ball jars usually have a light blue tinge - the color stopped some sunlight from reaching the preserves to maintain flavor longer.

My Mother's Collection of Old Canning Jars - She showcased them on shelves in her kitchen

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Collecting vintage glass jars

If there was one book I would recommend for anyone interested in collecting vintage jars it would be this one -

  1. The same rules apply to collecting jars as to collecting vintage bottles. What will determine it's value is age, rarity, color.
  2. Check the bottom of the jar for marks and patent numbers
  3. Look at the lip - the older ones have rolled and uneven lips.
  4. Look for imperfections in the glass - the older ones will have bubbles and irregularities.

Vintage style jar - canning jar with locking lever

Some people prefer newly made canning jars with a vintage look to them. With these, they can use them daily and not worry so much about accidentally breaking an antique jar.

Think of all the things you can store in these: brown sugar, trail mix, macaroni, and so much more. Nonfood items look great in these too. Put your marble collection on display or fill the retro canning jar with other small collectibles.

1 Le Parfait Super Jar - Discontinued (1, 750ml - 24oz - OLD)
1 Le Parfait Super Jar - Discontinued (1, 750ml - 24oz - OLD)

This vintage style French canning jar is ideal for all your kitchen needs. This is a sturdy jar with a locking lever and a rubber seal keeps it airtight. These jars look great as well as being practical.


Vintage Mason jars - Great Buys on eBay

The Mason jar for home canning an pickling was invented by John Landis Mason. The patent date is 1858. The early ones closed with a glass lid held with some sort of wire. Later these were replaced with metal screw lids. You can still find some that had a rubber seal but these tend to dry out and are petrified by now.

Resources for collecting vintage glass jars


Poster available at Zazzle:
Fruit Jar Collector Antiques Vintage Mason Jars Posters by PERKYPILLOWS

Vintage apothecary jars - on eBay


Pharmacy - Room - The dispensary Poster by suburbanscenes

Apothecary or drugstore jars come in all shapes and sizes. The apothecary was what we think of now as a chemist or pharmacist. He sold medicines and natural remedies, the jars were mostly colored glass jars with wide open top and lid. Of course he also sold candy - the candy jars which were mostly clear and usually a finer thinner glass than medicine and poison jars. Then there were small jars that held ointments and salves. These tended to be cloudy milk colored.

Because of the pleasing shape and colors, apothecary jars are often reproduced in modern glass. A real vintage one will show signs of wear and tear, and will have patent marks on the bottle.

Do You Collect Jars?

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Looking for Extremely Rare Jars - Your Best Bet Is eBay

This auction link changes frequently and will show all kinds of vintage jars but only the most rare ones. Get your bid in before the deadline.

These aren't what I'd call affordable vintage jars, but it's fun to browse.

© 2012 Virginia Allain

Tell Me about Your Interest in Vintage Jars

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    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I really love the look of old Mason jars. I have a few as well as some other vintage jars.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Vintage jars really come in handy for storage.


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