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Love Vintage Cookie Jars?

Updated on March 6, 2017

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".

Here's my original jar joined by his first "friend".
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.


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?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      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. :)

    • Jadelynx-HP profile image

      Tracey Boyer 5 years ago from Michigan

      I Love cookie jars of all kinds. Thanks for making this lens, I enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have the pig cookie jar too! It was my grandmothers.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      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 profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 6 years ago from Texas

      You have some cool looking cookie jars. Keep collecting and fill them all with cookies!

    • WayneDave LM profile image

      WayneDave LM 6 years ago

      Nice lens, thanks for sharing it.

    • MelissaInTheSky profile image

      MelissaInTheSky 6 years ago

      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 profile image

      DLeighAlexander 6 years ago

      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!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      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!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Loved the story of the contest. I can see why you were a little nervous about shipping your pig.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      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!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      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.

    • profile image

      TheSwedishLady 6 years ago

      I love to collect any type of antique especially the cookie jars. Enjoyed your lens.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Your cookie jars sure bring back memories. We used to bake toll house cookies, my mom and I and I remember them being in our striped tan cookie jar with an eagle symbol on it. Those cookies though didn't last long. :) Love the pig and bear jar.

    • profile image

      dessertlover 6 years ago

      I love looking at vintage cookie jars, they're always so fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love cute cookie jars, earthen pots and vintage jars. The vintage designs on the porcelain are awesome.

    • CarolynPile profile image

      CarolynPile 6 years ago

      My mother has a cute cookie jar that is a white cat. I've always loved it.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 7 years ago

      I love vintage cookie jars, they are so much fun.

    • profile image

      Stonecutter 7 years ago

      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.

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 7 years ago from Ohio

      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.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      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 profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm lensrolling this to my Cookie Jar Memories. I have a red Hall cookie jar that I treasure.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      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 profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

      You're vintage cookie jars are adorable.

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 7 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      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 :)