McCoy Cookie Jars: Value & Identification (With Rare Finds)

As an antique kitchenware lover, vintage cookie jars have always appealed to me. And a few years back, I often found myself in thrift stores checking the decorative cookie jars’ bases for the ‘McCoy’ mark!

And when my inbox was full of McCoy cookie jar value and identification questions, I realized I wasn’t the only one.

So, I transformed my research into this McCoy Cookie Jar value guide to tell you all about their trademarks, styles, values, reproductions, and more!

Key Takeaways

  • McCoy Pottery Co. made a wide range of interesting, decorative cookie jars from the mid-1930s to the late 1980s. 
  • Older, rarely found McCoy Cookie Jars with rare designs are valued more, up to $700 or more, than the common ones. 
  • Fox Squirrel, Freddy the Gleep, Black Mammy, Astronaut, and Jack O’Lantern are McCoy’s most valuable and demanded cookie jars ever. 
  • In August, a rare McCoy Freddy the Gleep Jar was sold for a staggering $1,900 on eBay. 

Brief History of McCoy Cookie Jars

McCoy cookie jars are one of the most popular branded series of Nelson McCoy Pottery Co., based in Roseville, Ohio. The company was founded by Nelson McCoy as Nelson McCoy Sanitary and Stoneware Co.

In 1929, its name was changed to Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co. to distinguish it from rival firms. Then, in 1933, the company shifted its focus to decorative pottery pieces, acquiring the new name Nelson McCoy Pottery Co.

It was around this time the company started making McCoy cookie jars, which became quite popular. From the 1940s to the late 1980s until its decline, McCoy made countless cookie jars, some of which hold great value to date!

Finding the Value of Vintage McCoy Cookie Jars

The common McCoy Cookie Jars are valued between $15 and $50, depending on their condition and material. Some more popular ones, like the Mammy Jars, Jack’O’Lantern Cookie Jars, and Black Coalby Cat cookie jars, can be worth $200 or more.

But the rarest McCoy Jars can go as high as $1,500 to $2,000. In fact, one McCoy cookie jar was auctioned off for over $4,500 in 2010. No other model of that special cookie jar was ever found or sold!

It goes without saying that the earliest (oldest) McCoy cookie jars are worth more for collectors and even more if the jars have the trademark! But there are some additional factors that impact the real worth of a McCoy Cookie Jar!

1. Rarity:

It’s simple, the rarer (and harder to find) a McCoy Cookie Jar, the more valuable it is! Usually, limited edition or special McCoy cookie jars are considered rare.

Squirrel Fox Jar, Freddy the Gleep Jar, Astronaut Cookie Jar, Mammy Cookie Jar, and Jack O’Lantern Cookie Jar are some of the rarest and most sought-after McCoy cookie jars.

Generally, these RARE McCoy jars are valued around $500 to $700 or above, like this McCoy Freddy the Gleep Cookie Jar I found on eBay, sold for $1,900! That’s something, isn’t it?

But wait! Although Freddy the Gleep is a rare jar, it’s not the rarest. The rarest and most expensive McCoy cookie jar is the Squirrel Fox Jar (the one I was talking about earlier) sold for $4,600 on Live Auctioneers!

If the model of an unusual, ‘one-of-a-kind’ McCoy cookie jar isn’t listed in the McCoy Pottery’s reference book, it’s a fake jar made with a molded mark.

2. Condition:

Naturally, a genuine McCoy Cookie Jar in excellent condition would be more valuable to collectors than the one in a bad state. But how do you assess the jar’s condition?

  • Look at the outer surface of the jar to spot any chips, paint breaks, cracks, broken edges, and fading on the jar’s design. And examine the inside and the bottom for similar defects.
  • Check if its original glaze, paint, and shine are intact or not. All these defects can devalue a McCoy cookie jar to some extent. Usually, collectors don’t mind a small chip, but a defective McCoy jar is not what they want to pay for!
  • Check the lid! A McCoy jar with its original, intact lid will be worth more than the one without the lid or with a different or broken lid.

I was tracking two listings of the 1954 Native American Cookie Jar on eBay in August. While the one with the lid sold at around $300, the jar without the lid only made $20. The condition may be a reason for such a drop, but lids surely make a difference.

Screenshot 2024 07 11 174718
Source: eBay – importimages

3. Age:

An older McCoy cookie jar with hand-painted patterns will hold a greater value for collectors than a machine-printed jar. So, trace the age of your McCoy jar to find its actual worth.

How to Date & Identify a McCoy Cookie Jar

McCoy Cookie Jar Mark From 1940 to Present

If you have a vintage cookie jar and you want to know if it’s McCoy, the first thing you need to look for is the McCoy trademark (e.g., “NM,” “McCoy,” “McCoy USA,” or “McCoy LTD, etc.).

The McCoy mark is usually found on the bottom of the cookie jar, and it can help you date it correctly.

1. Trademarks: Brand Logo, Letters & Numbers

The McCoy Pottery company began adding trademarks to their cookie jars and other items in 1938. So, the McCoy cookie jars manufactured in the early 1930s may not be marked on the bottom.

From the early 1930s, the trademark underwent many changes until the 1960s. In fact, a few companies that purchased McCoy Pottery after the mid-1960s, such as Lancaster Colony and Mount Clemens, also used McCoy marks with variations.

I’ve prepared a quick McCoy Cookie Jar age chart based on its brand mark variations (hand-drawn) for easy identification and dating:

YearsMcCoy MarksMcCoy Cookie Jar Age (Approximate)
Late 1930s – Early 1940sLate 1930s to Early 1940s McCoy Trademark80 – 86 years
1940-1942Early 1940s McCoy Cookie Jar Mark80 – 82 years
1940-1943Early 1940s McCoy Mark1940-43 McCoy Pottery Mark80 – 83 years
1939 – PresentModern McCoy Cookie Jar Trademark84 years & newer
1940-PresentMcCoy Cookie Jar Mark From 1940 to Present83 years & newer
1940-1950McCoy Pottery Mark 1940-5073 – 83 years
1940-1945McCoy Cookie Jar Trademark in 1940-451940-45 McCoy Pottery Mark78 – 83 years
Late 1940sLate 1940s McCoy Cookie Jar Mark74 – 77 years
1968 – Early 1970s1968 McCoy Cookie Jar Mark50 – 55 years
1974-19851970s McCoy Cookie Jar TrademarkMcCoy Mark on LC Cookie Jars38 – 49 years

Apart from the trademark, McCoy cookie jars can also have numeric or alphabetic codes incised or embossed on the bottom. I believe these letters or numbers refer to the model number and production dates.

Another notable thing is that the earlier cookie jars had incised or engraved marks (with a few exceptions), while the later ones had embossed McCoy marks.

Keep in mind that not all genuine McCoy jars are marked. Some are reproductions or fake jars with McCoy marks molded from original pieces.

2. Designs and Patterns (Real or Fake?)

The jar design or pattern is another means of identifying a McCoy cookie jar. How?

The McCoy Pottery made numerous cookie jars in different styles and shapes, like animals, figurines, household items, etc. I’ve tried to cover the main designs for you:

ThemesMcCoy Cookie Jar Designs
Fruits & VegetablesAsparagus, Pineapple, Ear of Corn, Jack-o-Lantern (Halloween Pumpkin), Apple, Pear, Strawberry, etc.
FiguresCauliflower Mammy, Mammy (Yellow, Black), Clown in Barrel, Cookie Boy, Astronauts, Grandma, Bobbie Baker, Baseball Boy, Football Boy, Native American (Indian Head), Davy Crockett
Automobiles & SpaceHot Air Balloon, School Bus, Touring Car, Train Engine, Caboose, Apollo, Spaceship, Globes, Barnum’s Wagon, Traffic Light, Covered Wagon
Homes & Household ItemsCoffee Grinder, Tea Kettle, Clock (with mouse), Cook Stove, Tepee, Barn, Cabin, Bank, Split Roof House, Fireplace, Grandfather Clock, Pirate Chest, Safe, Sack, Box, Country Stove, Flower Pot, Churn, Nabisco Jar
Simple ShapesHoneycomb, Cylinder (Glazed & Colored), Pot with Cork Lid, Windmill, Lost Glaze, Drum
AnimalsOwl, Chipmunk, Dog (Snoopy, Doghouse, Dalmantians, Mac, Clyde, Bear (Honeybear, Snowbear, Upside-down Panda, Hamms Beer Bear, Koala, Hillbilly Bear), Pig, Elephant, Chicken, Turkey, Hen, Rooster, Cat (Coalby Cat), Horse, Cow in Barn, Penguin, Puppy, Duck, Lamb, Eagle, etc. 

Now all these authentic cookie jar designs and patterns are listed on McCoy Pottery Reference Guide as well as McCoy Pottery’s official website. To identify your McCoy jar, you can check the list for a similar jar as yours.

If you don’t see it on the list, you likely have a fake. And trust me, there are many fake McCoy cookie jars out there with forged trademarks.

A few weeks ago, I found a marked Daisy Cow McCoy jar in an antique store. I was charmed until I checked the brand’s online references and found out it had never produced such a design.

To know if a vintage McCoy cookie jar is real, compare its dimensions to the original model. If it’s lighter and 6% or smaller, it’s a reproduction jar.

To know if a McCoy cookie jar is real or not, the McCoy Pottery Collectors Society Organization has listed some fake designs like these as given below:

  1. Daisy Cow and Elsie Cow
  2. Rocking Horse
  3. Donald Duck
  4. Cinderella
  5. Mugsie
  6. Little Red Riding Hood
  7. Wilbur Pig
  8. Snow White
  9. Cobalt Rooster
  10. Goldilocks and Goldilux
  11. Acorn 

3. Colors & Shape:

Analyzing the color and shape of your McCoy cookie jar can also help you date it. For instance, if it has a round or concave shape in neutral earthy colors like beige, taupe, maroon, brown, green, etc., it likely belongs to the 1930s.

Some milk cans and pitcher-like McCoy jars can also be dated back to 1938-39. On the other hand, the 1940s and 1950s (and later) modern cookie jars will have a patterned body with bold and vibrant colors.

If you see a cookie jar that has different colors for motifs or patterns, it’s likely a fake. McCoy Pottery produced its different cookie jars in limited and specific colors.

6 Most Valuable McCoy Cookie Jars to Find!

While most vintage McCoy cookie jars will fall under the $50 mark, pay attention if you have one of the most valuable antique cookie jars, such as the following; these can be worth up to thousands!

1. McCoy Fox Squirrel Cookie Jar

This McCoy cookie jar is shaped like a squirrel in earthy brown and green shades. Sold for $4,600, it’s hailed as the most expensive cookie jar ever sold!

2. Freddy the Gleep Jar

McCoy’s Freddy the Gleep jar is the second most valuable cookie jar, which was sold for $1,900 on eBay! It’s a unique creature with just a head, hands, and legs, no body, and it’s painted in deep yellow with red highlights on the mouth, eyes, and lid.

3. Mammy Cookie Jar

McCoy’s Mammy Jar is a figurine cookie jar shaped like the Black Mammy from ‘Gone With the Wind’ movie, wearing an off-white apron and a red bandana. Based on its condition, a Black Mammy or Aunt Jemima Cookie Jar can be valued at around $200 – $500.

Screenshot 2024 07 11 175146
Source: eBay – janoman1981

4. Astronaut Cookie Jar

Manufactured in 1963, this rare McCoy jar featuring a spherical light blue spaceship with two astronauts on the surface and one sitting on top is worth around $400 – $500 in very good condition.

5. Jack O’Lantern Cookie Jar

As the name suggests, this Halloween cookie jar looks like a carved lantern, popular as Jack-o-Lantern in peach color. The value of a McCoy Jack O’Lantern Cookie Jar ranges from $400 to $600, depending on its condition.

6. Unique Cauliflower Lady McCoy Cookie Jar

Another black mammy jar, but this one is shaped as the lady figure in a white dress, red sash, and a yellow bandana holding a basket of cauliflowers in her hand.

In good condition, this McCoy Jar can be worth around $500 – $600. But, one Cauliflower Lady Jar I saw on eBay was sold for $700. Whoo!

McCoy Cookie Jars aren’t just a decorative kitchen accessory, they are functional and, well, precious, too; no wonder collectors are ready to pay hundreds for them. But it’s not just rare McCoy pottery jars that are valuable, we’ve curated a list of 15+ valuable cookie jars for you!


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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