Collectors raid the cookie jar Antiques: It doesn't have to be extremely old to be desirable. Value is a matter of design, rarity and condition.

November 10, 1996|By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel | Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

Cookie jars don't have to be very old to have substantial value. A jar's value is determined by design, rarity and condition more than age.

Covered jars for cookies were used in England during the 19th century. They usually were made of cut glass and silver.

But it is the American pottery jar that has attracted collectors.

The first American cookie jars, either glass or pottery, seem to have been made in the 1920s. The early jars were shaped like covered cylinders or pots.

By the mid-'40s the figural cookie jar came into fashion. Jars were made to look like barrels, animals, fruit, vegetables, people, cars and hundreds of other objects.

Cookies, children and comics go together, so many jars were inspired by the cartoons and comics of the day. Superman, Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, Mickey Mouse and Woody Woodpecker are among the many comic figures that appear as cookie jars.

Makers of jars include Red Wing, McCoy, Brush, Hull, Regal China, Metlox and Robinson-Ransbottom.

One jar in demand by collectors is shaped like Yogi Bear, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character who debuted on television in 1958. Yogi got his own show in 1960, and he appeared in a full-length movie in 1964. His most recent show went off the air in 1992; reruns of his various cartoons still air.

The Yogi Bear cookie jar, made by the American Bisque Co. of Williamstown, W.Va., was made in 1961. It came in several color variations. Most Yogi jars sell today for $300 to $400.

The label on the bottom of my bentwood chair says Great Northern Chair Co., 1939. How much is the chair worth?

Joseph Silverman founded the Great Northern Chair Co. in Chicago in 1918. The company first specialized in Vienna-style bentwood chairs.

Silverman's son and son-in-law took over the company in the 1930s. In 1954, they sold it to Manfred Steiner, a former manager, and designer Sam Horwitz. The name was changed to Shelby Williams, and the company began to offer more stylish furniture.

In good condition, your chair is worth about $200.

I bought a pair of unpainted iron bookends at a flea market. They're identical fishermen that measure 6 3/4 inches high. The bottom is marked LITTCO. What can you tell me about them?

The Littlestown Hardware and Foundry Co. was founded in 1916 and made bookends between 1920 and 1932. The company, BTC which is located in Littlestown, Pa., now makes aluminum castings for industrial use. Your "Fisherman with Net" bookends were made about 1928. They're worth from $130 to $190.

Tip: To clean alabaster, first dust with a soft brush, then wipe with turpentine or dry-cleaning fluid. Do not use water. Alabaster dissolves in water.

The Kovels welcome letters and answer as many as possible through the column. Write to Kovels, The Sun, King Features Syndicate Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

Pub Date: 11/10/96

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