It usually starts with a hand-me-down. Someone passes a cookie jar down to you and suddenly you're hooked. You may fall in love with the shape, size and colors or the charm of yesteryear that it brings. No matter what the reason you love cookie jars, you'll have a great time collecting them now and into the future.
If you know someone who collects cookies jars and you find one they've been looking for, cookie jars make a great "just because gift".
Cookie Jar Photo Credit:Jay Cox.
The good thing about cookie jars is there are many in circulation. The bad thing about cookie jars is there are many in circulation. Know how to spot a fake. Because so many vintage cookie jars are still around, unscrupulous dealers may try to slip a fake that looks remarkably like it into the mix. Always know what you're getting. Ask for details and then do your research.
The Internet will become your best friend when starting your cookie jar collection. There are indexes and guides that list specific prices and photos for every cookie jar you can imagine. Get to know and bookmark those sites so you can hop on any time you find a new jar. See what it's worth so you don't get taken for a ride. And then offer a fair price for it.
Online auction sites like Ebay are good places to find cookie jars. But again, buyer beware.
Ask to see a clear photo of the bottom markings on the jar before you commit to buy. Then look those markings up in a good collector's guide. You'll start to get to know the marks by manufacturer. You'll learn which years are most valuable and which styles.
Decide the manufacturers you want to collect. Some go only for McCoy or Shawnee pottery. If you stick to just one kind your collection will be worth more to a buyer should you ever decide to part with it. Again, your reading on the topic is critical. Know which designs your manufacturer of choice made and didn't make.
Of course, sometimes you just want a cookie jar because you love it. It could have purely sentimental value because you remember your grandmother having one when you were young. Go for it if you spot one as you may never see it again.
Plan to store your collection somewhere safe. If you don't want them touched, be sure visitors know not to lift them off the shelves. If you want to let people enjoy them up close, bake a batch of gourmet cookies and choose one to place on the kitchen table. Everyone will be drawn to it and you may start your own tradition of having the family's most memorable kitchen items.
Enjoy your new hobby. It's so much fun to collect something cheerful and useful that takes us back to a simpler, slower time. Watch faces light up as they see a cookie jar their mother once had or one they remember from a neighbor's. There's nothing that can rival a vintage piece. You'll find pop icons like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe features on jars as well as Oreos and Clowns. There's no end to the variations you can find. There's always one that fits with your current decor and tastes. But chances are, you'll find there are many, many more than just one to choose from. Make your choices wisely and you'll have pieces you'll love to look at and use for years to come.