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Reproductions, The “New McCoys”

What word can cause more anxiety in the hearts of collectors?

New collectors are usually the ones that are deceived by the new-old jars. But some reproductions are so good that they can fool even the longtime collector. How do you protect yourself? Easy, E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N! Read everything you can, browse auctions, ask questions, measure and don’t pay big bucks if you are unsure.

Joyce & Fred Roerig’s Collector’s Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars Book III also addresses this issue. An entire chapter is devoted to listing known fake jars and there are also quite a few pictures (12 pages), many with originals and reproductions shown side by side. Very valuable information if you are a vintage collector and have any questions about older jars.

Here is one section taken directly from the chapter* on reproductions:

Manufacturers of Reproductions

There seem to be four major manufacturers of reproductions. One is located in West Allis, Wisconsin; two in Zanesville, Ohio area; and the New McCoy Pottery, billing itself as manufacturing “antique reproductions,” in Spring, City, Tennessee.

The McCoy name is probably one of the most recognized names in the pottery industry; everyone automatically assumes a a marked piece to be “The Real McCoy.”

Here’s the history of The New McCoy pottery. The owner of this pottery seized the opportunity to capitalize on the McCoy name. He had his lawyers file a trademark for the McCoy name and began putting it on the bottom of his jars. This registration was challenged by Ralph Porto, owner of Designer Accents, who bought McCoy from the Lancaster Colony Group in 1985. Despite erroneous information to the contrary, Porto registered McCoy as a trademark on June 25, 1991. (interestingly enough, Jensen’s trademark, filed on August 31, 1992 reads exactly as Porto’s.)

Though Designer Accents closed for the 1990 holiday season and has not reopened to date, Porto stills owns the McCoy name. The New McCoy Pottery ceased using the McCoy trademark, instead marking their ware “Brush-McCoy.” (Brush McCoy never made cookie jars!) This too was challenged. Effective October 1997, Jensen is no longer legally able to use McCoy in any form on his product. As of this writing, their wares (when marked) are identified as “B.M.Hull.” Buyer, beware!

*Reprinted with permission from The Roerigs.