Located in Williamstown, West Virginia, the company originally started as a maker of Kewpie Doll heads — mostly because of World War I supply lines being stopped to European products. B.E. Allen purchased the company in 1922 and it stayed in the family until sold in 1982, it closed only one year late.
As with several other pottery companies, the history gets a little fuzzy. Pottery companies that were intertwined with American Bisque include American Pottery, Ludowici-Celadon, and Terrace Ceramics. To further complicate the history, American Bisque made and decorated jars that were (then) distributed by Cardinal China Company. The Complete Cookie Jar Book *by Mike Schneider does it’s best to untangle the maze of cookie jar companies and products and is well worth adding to the book shelf if you are interested in learning more about American cookie jars.
As with many of the companies from the golden age of cookie jar production, other products included planters, banks, pitchers among their most popular products.
Large wedge shapes on the bottom of the jars are one way to tell an American Bisque jar. Many jars are marked with U.S.A. and sometimes with a mold number. Airbrushing is common on American Bisque jars and adds to their distinctive look.
Fakes and Reproductions
As with many of pottery companies, reproductions are also a problem when dealing with American Bisque jars. Especially beware of the higher priced jars such as Casper, Audrey, the Flintstones jars and the Popeye series. One of the best ways to distinguish a reproduction is by the size, most of them are anywhere from 1/2″ – 1″ shorter than the legitimate jar. Also look for details on the paintings, facial features, etc.
The Bottom Line
One of the more prolific producers of cookie jars, American Bisque jars are well-made, heavy jars and an asset to any collection. There are numerous jars to choose from, including many licensed pieces, with prices ranging from $50 on up to over $1000. One of the rarest of them all is the Herman and Katnip jar licensed by Harvey Cartoons. I’ve personally seen the jar for sale three times, once for $7,000, once for $10,000 and an auction held by Hakes.com where the final price was over $10,000.
*There were several versions of this book, but any version will do for the basic information on American cookie jar companies, including marks and histories.
Produced in 1997 Height: 13 1/4" Licensed Jar Limited edition of 500 (full edition not produced) Estimated Value - $$$$
One of the best times to display a cookie jar is during the holidays. If you celebrate Christmas, cookies are usually part of the celebrations and what better way to store them than with a great Christmas jar on the kitchen counter. Start out with a jolly Santa or...
McCoy Pottery only made two black mammy cookie jars. Both jars are widely reproduced which has caused values to come down quite a bit over the last few years. This is second mold used by McCoy, but there were several variations on the words on the front of the dress....
McCoy Pottery only made two black mammy cookie jar designs. Both jars are widely reproduced which has caused values to come down quite a bit over the last few years. A jar with good cold paint is hard to find. Made: 1939 Mark: McCoy, USA Rare Cold Painted Values: $600...
Brush made two Humpty Dumpty jars, this is called the Beanie jar, the other has a peaked brown hat. This Brush jar is heavy, as are all their jars and is also known to be reproduced in several different ways. Beware of the jars marked McCoy - not the real deal....
One of the first, if not the first, licensed jar from Clay Art. A terrific piece that appealed to baseball collectors, as well as jar collectors. Made by: Clay Art Year Produced: 1997 Size: Approx. 12" Values: $50. - $75. More about Clay Art