COMPLIMENTARY COPY VOL. 44, NO. 21 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2013 Published Weekly By Joel Sater Publications www.antiquesandauctionnews.net Something To Munch On: Collectible Cookie Jars indestructible staple of pirate-ship lore, was a close relative.) Snickerdoodles. . Oatmeal When sugar tickled the taste Scotchies. . Black-and-Whites. . buds of seventh-century Persia, a Toll House. . Pecan Sandies . . goodie more familiar to today’s Windmills . . and cookie-minded Saddle, American Oreos. sensibilities made Bisque, 12” h., its debut. The he names alone $300-$325. sweet snacks call out the journeyed to the “ C o o k i e Western world in Monster” in each of the 14th century, us. Cookies, those ohand “travel cakes” so-tempting tiny were soon being treats, personify the hawked on every phrase “something street corner. for every taste.” Particularly popThere are nut cookular: the nuties. Date cookies. filled “jumble.” Nut-and-date cookThe word ies. Cookies you “cookie” comes to bake. Cookies you us courtesy of the don’t bake. Cookies Dutch, a bowdlerizayou mold, press, roll, tion of the term koekdrop, fold, or fill. je, or “little cake.” The Cookies. You enjoy them earliest Dutch versions until the last, appetizing crumb has disappeared, and the cookie were just that: little bits of cake batjar is empty. Sure, there are other ter, used to test oven temperature things that start with the letter before a cake was baked. The resul“C.” But, in the words of tant “little cakes” proved so scrump“Sesame Street’s” Cookie tious that they became sensations all Monster, “who cares about da on their own. Brought to America with Dutch settlers, the newly-chrisother things?” tened “cookies” quickly found favor. Crumbs of Cookie Lore Although cookie-like wafers Homemakers enjoyed a dessert that have been around since baking could be prepared with minimal began, the earliest incarnations fuss. Hungry hordes liked their crisp bear little resemblance to our texture, lighter than the heavy cakes modern cookie conception. Not previously in vogue. One and all particularly sweet, these early found them irresistible, a popularity baked hard crackers were prized that has only increased over the cenfor their ability to withstand the turies. Today, cookies can be found rigors of travel. (“Hardtack,” that in over 95 percent By Donald-Brian Johnson T Some jars acted as advertisements for mascots or celebrated famous films. “Elsie,” the Borden spokescow, is shown as a cookie jar here, unmarked, 12” h., $300-$325. Also, a cookie jar celebrating the 1939 movie classic “The Wizard of Oz” (1998), Warner Brothers Studio Store, 12” h. $60-$75. of American homes. We gobble down over two billion of them annually. (In case you’re keeping count, that’s about 300 cookies per person each year. Are you doing your part?) Cookie Containment No matter how quickly they disappeared, some type of convenient storage container for freshly-baked cookies was still called for. The first cookie jars were known as “biscuit barrels,” the moniker a holdover from the British term for cookies. (When next in London, remember: request a biscuit with your meal, and you’ll likely receive a piece of cookie-like shortbread, rather than the anticipated hard roll). The biscuit barrel (a glass jar, often pink or green, with a screwon metal lid), was primarily utilitarian; decoration was secondary. Metal variations were known as “biscuit tins,” and some thrifty housewives even made do with repurposed oatmeal boxes or coffee cans. In 1929, the Brush P o t t e r y Company of Zanesville, Ohio, changed all that. Brush introduced the first ceramic cookie jar. It was green and emblazoned with just one word: the self-explanatory Cookies. Other manufacturers quickly followed suit, and the biscuit barrel became a thing of the past. From the 1930s onward, cookie jars were expected to serve a dual purpose: to store cookies and to do so attractively! Over the years, although glass, metal, plastic, and even wooden cookie jars had their adherents, the ceramic cookie jar held sway. Ceramic proved the most versatile medium for decoration and shape. More importantly, ceramic cookie jars were nonporous, keeping their contents free from the absorption of unwanted outside elements. As for those often ill-fitting ceramic lids? Well, in the days of fresh-baked cookies, it really didn’t matter much if a cookie jar was completely air-tight; the cookies never lasted long enough to go Train engine, McCoy, 8” h., $200-$225. stale! Ceramic cookie jars soon became a whimsical, welcoming fixture in every home kitchen. America’s appetite for decora“Red Riding Hood,” Hull, 13” h., $125-$150. tive ceramic cookie jars lasted from the late 1940s well into the 1970s. Prominent among manufacturers satisfying that hunger were McCoy and American Bisque. Other notable cookie jar creators: Shawnee, Hull, Hall, minimally adorned with floral or leaf decoration, applied via paint or decal. Then, in response to buyer demand for variety, imagination took over, in the form of “shaped” jars. Since cookies appealed not only to children, but also to “former children” (i.e., everybody else), why not cookie jars celebrating childhood favorites? An entire storybookfull of nursery rhyme and fairy tale character jars ranged from “Red Riding Hood” and “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater,” to “The Wizard of Oz” and the (particularly apt) “Little Gingerbread Boy.” There were cookie jars based on silver screen and TV favorites, including “Pinocchio,” “Donald Duck,” and “Howdy Doody.” Generic whimsy found expression in such themes as playful kittens, frolicking clowns, winking owls, and grinning alarm clocks. Advertising icons such as “Elsie the Borden Cow” also found their way onto jars. And, since a cookie jar’s home was in the kitchen, there was an overabundance of food-based figurals. Among them: apples, strawberries, pumpkins, and watermelons, along with such unlikely cookie companions as tomatoes and green peppers. Any verbiage was simple and to the point: “Have A Cookie”; “Try Mom’s Cookies”; as well as the less accommodating, “Did You Ask First?” The California Cleminsons went a step further, with jars Shawnee’s “Jo Jo the Clown,” 8-1/2” h., $100-$125. RobinsonRansbottom, Treasure Craft, Abingdon, Brush, Lane, Metlox, California Originals, Regal, and Red Wing. Cookie jars even appear in the inventories of such unlikely contenders as Roseville and Gilner. Themes Like Old Times The first ceramic cookie jars were simple cylinder or pot shapes, bearing such folksy mottos as “The Way to a Man’s Heart. . .” Some cookie jars did double-duty: American Bisque’s “Blackboard Girl” toted a functioning chalkboard, on which household necessities could be noted (for instance, cookie ingredients!). Nearly any theme could conceivably be re-imagined as a cookie jar. . . and was. (Continued on page 2) Cookie jars shaped like food can add charm to any kitchen counter. Jars shown here include a Pineapple by McCoy, 10” h., $125-$150; Golden apple by McCoy, 8” h., $75-$100; Red Apple by McCoy, 12” h., $75-$100; Watermelon (1993) by Boston Warehouse Trading Corp. marked “Made in China,” 12” h., $25-$50; and Strawberry by Treasure Craft, 10” h., $50-$75.