EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 5, 2012

Values for 'Mammy' cookie jars have dropped

Could you tell me the value of these items shown in the enclosed photographs?

The letter in today's question came with pictures of around 25 different items, but because of space limitations, we are going to limit our reply to only one of the objects shown.

Most of the other items would be valued at less than $25 each, with the exception of the circa 1910 oak center table with medial shelf (in the range of $175 to $250 at retail) and the lustered glass lamp with the gilt leaves, which is from the late third quarter of the 20th century (retail price would be around $125 to $150). Instead, we are going to focus on the "Mammy" cookie jar made by the Nelson McCoy Pottery Co. of Roseville, Ohio.

Cookie-jar prices went through the roof after artist Andy Warhol's collection was sold by Sotheby's in 1988. For a time after that, there was a cookie-jar craze that amounted to a mania. Prices and interest went up and up, but then came a crash from which cookie jars have never recovered.

Nelson McCoy Pottery started life as the Nelson McCoy Sanitary and Stoneware Co. in 1910. It became just Nelson McCoy Pottery in 1933. The company reportedly started making figural cookie jars circa 1940, but introduced its "Mammy with Cauliflowers" in 1939. Other Mammy cookie jars followed.

McCoy also made examples in the shape of a chicken, a dog in a house, a leprechaun, comedian W.C. Fields, a Christmas tree, a kangaroo (with a "joey" peeking out of the pouch), a clown in a barrel, and a rocking horse. In addition, there were elephants, penguins, owls, bananas, stoves, birdhouses, windmills, apples, a spacecraft, a tea kettle, and on and on.

McCoy Mammy cookie jars can be found in several different varieties. There are the ones that have a painted yellow dress, others with a white dress with a "checkerboard" apron (our favorite), and one that appears in photographs to be a solid light blue.

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