10 Most Rare & Valuable Mason Jars To Collect in (2023)

When you look at an old mason jar, you’d probably think of your mother’s best pickles, mouthwatering jams, or handmade sauces. Rarely would you think of its history or its worth. But it’s high time you do it!

While these old jars may not make you a millionaire, their intricate embossing, historical significance, limited production, and rare designs are what make antique freaks crazy for collecting rare mason jars! If you are one of them, this article is for you!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Sold at $23,500, Van Vliet Improved Jar is the highest-selling antique jar in history. The Chief Mason Jars, Hero Cross Citron Jars, and Amber Yellow Lightning Jars are also quite expensive. 
  • Vintage Mason jars with zinc lids are one of the earliest and hence, one of the rarest jars to collect. 
  • Visible features, like rings, air bubbles, and pontils, make the Mason jars valuable and unique. 
  • Mason jars with antique brand logos and patent number embossments are quite valuable. 
  • Look for distinctive logos, such as misspelled brand names, as they make a jar rare! 

How to Know If a Mason Jar is Rare and Valuable?

Antique Mason Jars

Curious to know about the rarity of a mason jar? These special features will help you identify the value and potential worth of a rare and valuable one.

  • Embossed logos indicating age or special edition, for instance, modern mason jars have ATLAS MASON inscribed on the jar instead of only ATLAS. 
  • Colors like aqua blue, green, purple, or transparent.
  • Distinct and unique appearance, like the rare square mason jar used around the 1890s.
  • Original and unconventional lid or closure systems such as wax seals, metal lids with rubber gaskets, or clamps increase the market value of a rare mason jar. 
  • Exclusive markings, wavy texture, indented rings, or air bubbles.
  • Mold seams running from the base to the top of the jar (but never crossing its tip).
  • Limited production of a mason jar.

List of the Rarest Mason Jars For Collector’s Item

Ready to explore some of the rarest mason jars of all time? Let’s get to it!

1. The Chief Mason Jar

The Chief Mason Jar is known for its elegant design and exquisite craftsmanship. You can identify it with its slightly larger size and an impressive raised logo. The bottle also has a reproduction with wires fixed on both sides of the jar, giving it the perfect vintage look!

Collectible Features: 

  • Distinctive embossed Chief logo (often illuminated by white paint).
  • Cursive K engraved on the opposite side of the embossed logo. 
  • Wire fixtures inside the lid and jar’s rim for closure 
  • Distinctive patterns and markings on the jar’s top. 
Estimated Price$1300
Manufacturing Year1870 
BrandThe Chief 
Volume Quart 
Color Blue 
Place of Origin United States 

2. The Van Vliet Jar of the 1880s

Now, this is a Mason jar that every collector wants in their collection! But since the company was burnt down in 1885, most of the models were ruined, leaving only a few; no wonder they can cost up to thousands!

Unique Identifying Features: 

  • Lid sealing with a wire and cast iron clamp molded around the jar for a tight seal.
  • The “Van Vliet” log embossed on the front.
  • “PAT. MAY 3 1881” engraved on the glass lid.
Estimated Price$700 – $1000
Manufacturing Year1880s
BrandVan Vliet
Volume Quart 
Color Clear
Place of Origin United States 

3. Hero Cross Patented Citron Quart Fruit Jar W/Zinc Lid

Trust me, you won’t find many old Mason jars in a refreshing citron color today, and that’s what makes this Hero Cross Citron Quart Jar quite special! But it’s not just the color; It’s a patented model with embossments on the front and base and a movable zinc lid with a slightly visible logo!

Collectible Features: 

  • Attractive Citron color jar in the timeless cylindrical shape. 
  • Clear vintage glass with vintage zinc lid.
  • Embossed Hero Cross logo and Pat Nov 26 67 #254 on front and base.
Estimated Price$850 
Manufacturing Year1923
BrandHero Cross 
Volume Quart 
Color Citron 
Place of Origin United States 

4. Mason’s Improved Jar in Clyde Amethyst Purple

The Mason’s Improved Jar stands out with its vibrant Amethyst Purple glass! You will spot these zinc lids, which makes them rare in themselves. And its uneven edges of the mouth give it a raw, handmade feel.

Quick Identification Features: 

  • The embossed Mason Improved logo authenticates the jar’s origin. 
  • Clyde NY embellished on the opposite side of the logo. 
Estimated Price$350
Manufacturing Year1900s 
BrandMason’s Improved
Volume Quart 
Color Amethyst Purple 
Place of Origin United States 

5. Trademark Lightning Fruit Jar in Crude Yellow Amber

Lightning jars are quite unique in themselves. But if you see an Amber yellow Lightning Jar in half-gallon size, it has to be one of the most valuable ones. You can spot this Jar with its cylindrical body with Trademark embossment on the front!

Other Special Features: 

  • Vintage wire bail seals.
  • “Trademark Lightning” embossed on the front.
  • Exotic bubbles and mold seams.
  • Putnam” embossed on the base.
Estimated Price$350
Manufacturing Year1880s
BrandPutnam 
ColorStraw Yellow or Amber Yellow
Volume Half Gallon
Place of Origin United States

6. The Leader-2 Lines Amber Jar

This vintage half-gallon fruit jar justifies its value and demand! It stands around nine and a half inches tall, showing off its unique yellow Amber color. You can spot a vintage wire clamp for a tight seal, which is a rare find!

Other Collectible Features: 

  • “The Leader” logo engraved on the body.
  • Wire bail seal with a glass lid.
  • Patented June 21, 1892.
Estimated Price$320
Manufacturing YearEarly 1900s (1920s-30s) 
BrandThe Leader
Volume Half Gallon
Color Amber Yellow
Place of Origin United States 

7. Olive Green Ball Perfect Mason Jar

You can recognize this rare Mason jar with its rich green texture, thick glass, and amber swirl pattern. You can spot an original, openable lid or closure, ensuring a vintage feel! Its sealing mechanism makes it quite functional even today!

Noticeable Features:

  • Engraved with the Ball logo and Perfect Mason, confirming its authenticity. 
  • Original, openable lid.
  • Clear glass body with amber swirls. 
Estimated Price$270
Manufacturing Year1910-23
BrandBall
Volume Quart 
Color Green with Olive streak 
Place of Origin United States 

8. Quart JP Barstow Sun Trademark Fruit Jar

Adorned with its iconic sun trademark, this jar is a prized addition to your vintage repertoire. You will spot a highly vintage closure on the top with an engraved logo and unevenly blown clear glass surface, which justifies its rare make!

Other Identification Features: 

  • Captivating sun logo embossed on the front. 
  • “JP Barstow” engraved on the bottom and “Trademark” embossed on the front.
  • Glass lid with a rusty metal clasp closure.
  • Magnificent swirls visible at the base.
Estimated Price$220
Manufacturing YearPre-1900s 
BrandJ P Barstow 
Volume Quart 
Color Blue 
Place of Origin United States 

9. Mason’s CFJ Co. Olive Jar

This RARE Olive-streaked Whittled Jar will remind you of a bygone era! This jar will ooze a hand-finished feel with its uneven surface with bubbles on the front and base. And since it’s a patented model, its brand and number of embossments make it a valuable piece!

Collectible Features:

  • Olive green patch or streaks on the body.
  • Embossed logo of the CFJ Co. and PATENT NOV.30th 1858 embossed on the body.
  • Round shoulders.
Estimated Price$170
Manufacturing YearPre 1900s
BrandMason’s CFJ
Volume Half Gallon 
Color Olive Green
Place of Origin United States 

10. Antique Green Ball Mason Triple L Jar

A true piece of nostalgia, the Green Ball Mason Triple L mason jar features a stunning Green color with amber swirl patterns. The cursive triple L Ball logo imbibes a sense of history.

Collectible Features:

  • Zinc lid or closure that can come off as and when required. 
  • Triple L embossing on the front representing the renowned Ball brand. 
Estimated Price$100
Manufacturing Year1900s 
BrandBall 
Volume Half Gallon 
Color Green 
Place of Origin United States 

11. Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason Jar

A coveted collector’s item for vintage enthusiasts, the Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason Fruit Canning Jar comes with a Zinc lid, which alone makes it an iconic find. It has a unique handmade touch due to its rare blue glass with exotic air bubbles and chips.

Collectible Features:

  • An elaborate “Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason” logo on the whole front body. 
  • Vintage aqua blue color defining its vintage era. 
Estimated Price$80 
Manufacturing Year1938-40
BrandAtlas 
Volume Pint 
Color Light Blue 
Place of Origin United States 

A Few Rarely Found Mason Jars:

  • Ball’s Upside-Down Jar (the 1930s): It features upside-down Ball logo embossed on the front and cost up to $1,000. 
  • Willoughby Stopple Jars (1858): You can spot it with a unique cork lid, which is an error in design. It may be priced around $300 – $500. 
  • Canadian Beaver Jar (1860): This has the “The Beaver Jar” embossment on the body and may fetch around $200 – $350. 
  • Black Amber Magic Star Fruit Jar (1886): This jar is known for its unique opaque black amber color, costing around $1,000 – $3,000. You’ll also see the “The Magic Fruit Jar” embossment.

People who have their hearts set on these beautiful old-world vessels do not mind spending more than a few dollars because it graces their collection! If you, too, have a growing interest in rare yet valuable mason jars, this is the perfect time to start your collection.

But if you have trouble ensuring whether or not an old canning jar is actually an antique piece, you can hop on to her detailed canning jars identification guide now! 

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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