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How much is my McCoy cookie jar worth?

Determining the value of a McCoy cookie jar requires some research into the history of the company, the era and style of the jar, its condition, and demand among collectors. Here are some key factors to consider when assessing the worth of vintage McCoy cookie jars:

About McCoy Pottery

McCoy Pottery was founded in 1910 in Roseville, Ohio by J.W. McCoy. The company produced a wide range of pottery and ceramic items including vases, planters, kitchenware, and figurines. McCoy is best known for its cookie jars which were introduced in the 1930s.

McCoy produced cookie jars in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from simple cylinder styles to intricate character jars shaped like animals, people, buildings, vehicles, and more. Cookie jar production peaked in the 1950s and 1960s with imaginative designs like the Little Red Schoolhouse, Cinderella Coach, and Frog Band jars.

After over 60 years in business, McCoy Pottery closed its doors in 1990. Since then, McCoy cookie jars have become sought after by collectors.

Factors Affecting McCoy Cookie Jar Value

There are several key factors to consider when determining the value of a vintage McCoy cookie jar:

Age and Era

In general, cookie jars from the earlier decades of McCoy production (1930s-1950s) command higher prices than later jars. The company’s early hand-painted designs are more valuable than the decal-decorated jars of the 1960s-1970s.

Style and Shape

Stylized character jars and highly detailed figural jars tend to be more collectible than McCoy’s plainer jar shapes. Rare and unusual designs fetch higher prices.


Pastel colors like pink, aqua, and yellow are most prized by collectors. Uncommon colors like turquoise and coral can boost value. Multicolor jars also appeal to buyers.


A jar in pristine condition, with no chips, cracks, or paint loss, will be worth more than one with damage. Complete jars with undamaged lids also bring higher prices.


Rarer jar designs and colors understandably draw greater interest and prices. Jars made in very low quantities fetch premiums.


Jars designed or decorated by notable McCoy artists like Betty Clemons and Charlotte Rakestraw tend to be more sought after by knowledgeable collectors.

Subject Matter

Certain imagery and decorations boost appeal and value. Jars with patriotic themes, nursery rhyme characters, holiday themes, and popular culture figures like Popeye are very collectible.


In general, larger jars command higher prices than smaller ones. But very small “sample size” jars are rare.

Maker’s Mark

Earlier pieces marked “McCoy” are more valuable than unmarked jars or those marked “USA” from the late 1950s onward.

Most Valuable McCoy Cookie Jars

While many factors influence value, certain McCoy cookie jar designs consistently top price guides and auction results. Here are some of the most prized and valuable styles:

Cookie Jar Name Era Description
Little Red Schoolhouse 1950s Two-tone brick schoolhouse with bell tower
Uncle Sam 1940s Patriotic top hat and beard character
Barn 1930s Red barn with silo and animals
Clown 1940s Colorful clown leaning on blue post

These and other rare, early cookie jars in excellent condition can fetch over $1,000 at auction. More common designs in average condition generally sell for $50 to $200.

Where to Look for Value Information

If you need to pin down a more precise value for your vintage McCoy cookie jar, here are some good resources:

  • Price guides – Reference books like Warman’s McCoy Pottery and McCoy Pottery Ultimate Reference Value Guide list values for thousands of McCoy items based on real sales data.
  • Online auction archives – Closed auctions for McCoy on sites like eBay provide concrete sale prices.
  • Appraisers – An appraiser who specializes in art pottery can provide a professional valuation or appraisal.
  • Collector forums – Connecting with knowledgeable McCoy collectors online can help you learn more about your jar.

Consulting multiple sources gives you an accurate picture of current market values. Prices fluctuate over time as demand shifts and new information comes to light.

How to Increase Cookie Jar Value

Proper care and maintenance of your McCoy cookie jar will maximize its worth over time. Here are some tips:

  • Handle with care – Prevent chips by avoiding bumps and drops. Only move when properly supported.
  • Display safely – Showcase jar on secure, padded surface out of direct sun. An enclosed cabinet adds protection.
  • Keep it clean – Gently dust with soft cloth and brush. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners.
  • Check for damage – Look for hairline cracks, crazing, or paint loss. Repair RIGHT away.
  • Keep all pieces – Having the original lid spikes value. Even small shards are worth keeping.
  • Ask about restoration – Some damage can be minimized through professional restoration.

Proper documentation also boosts antique value. Keep any original paperwork like receipts or catalog clippings. Vintage photos showing the jar in use add appeal.

Selling Your Vintage McCoy Jar

When you’re ready to sell your McCoy cookie jar, you have several options:

  • Auction houses – Major auctioneers like Heritage and Rago specialize in art pottery. They reach targeted buyers but charge seller’s fees.
  • Online auctions – eBay and other online auctions offer wide exposure. Best for rare pieces likely to attract bidding wars.
  • Dealers/shops – Selling to a dealer or consignment shop means less work for potentially less profit.
  • Collectors – Connecting with McCoy collectors through clubs, shows and online groups removes middleman fees.

To get the best return, have your jar professionally appraised first. Set a minimum price based on the appraisal so you don’t under-sell.

A little effort pays dividends. With the right combination of rarity, appeal, and market exposure, a choice vintage McCoy cookie jar can become quite a valuable collectible investment over time.


Determining the true market value of a vintage McCoy pottery cookie jar requires research, expert advice, and comparison to real-world sales data. With its long history and popularity among collectors, well-preserved McCoy jars from the 1930s-1950s can be quite valuable, with exceptional examples reaching into the thousands. Understanding the factors that make certain jars rare and desirable will help you properly assess your jar’s worth.