There have been a quite a few books written for the pottery and cookie jar collector. None of them is perfect, but a combination of several will help most collectors figure out what they have or what they should be looking for at the shops.
Here are my top ones in the order of helpfulness for the general cookie jar collectors. If a collector only specializes in one company, this list would not apply. Seventy-five percent of the time time I only use the top two books on my list, they are my go-tos. The first three Roerig books are nice to have in the library, but with three volumes I find it a bit annoying to have to page through each book in order to figure out which one might have what I need.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Values and prices have changed dramatically since these books have been published, use the values for comparison only, not as a true value that would be apply today.
- The Complete Cookie Jar Book by Mike Schneider.
Schneider’s book is all about the companies, the marks and how to identify the jars. He has large pictures and gives sizes of the jars. The larger companies will have their own chapters with multiple jar pictures, the lesser or smaller companies will usually have at least a paragraph or two, with a few images.
Note: There have been four different versions of The Complete Cookie Jar Book (Schiffer book for collectors) with slight differences in each subsequent version. Any will work, but version four would be the best.
- The Wonderful World of Cookie Jars by Mark and Ellen Supnick
There are two versions of the The Wonderful World of Cookie Jars: A Pictorial Reference and Price Guide, the second with revised prices. This book is great for the multitude of pictures. Hundreds of them, no make that thousands. There are approximately 3500 pictures in the book! It’s an excellent book for trying to identify what you have and also identifying what you want to have.
- The first three books by the Roerigs are in my library. They are used, but not as often as my number one and two picks above.
Collector’s Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars, Vol I
The Roerig’s first published this book in 1991, but with multiple updates. This book, along with the other two Roerig books, are good resources. If you can afford it — get all three of them.
Collector’s Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars, Vol II
This edition was first published in 1994 and is almost 400 pages of cookie jar pages. Lots of pictures as the Roerigs cover items not shown in book one.
Collector’s Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars, Vol III
Published in 1998, the third edition addresses the reproduction issue. A list of known reproductions (at the time of publication) will help the collector become more aware of what to look for to determine authenticity of a jar.
There was also a fourth book —Ultimate Collector’s Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars, Identification & Values, which is mostly a re-hash of their previous books, with a few additions. Although I have this on the shelf, I don’t even remember the last time I opened it.
Of special note is McCoy cookie jars: From the first to the latest by Harold Nichols.
This book is difficult to find and expensive when you do find it. There are two versions, the later one was a spiral bound book. If you can find it, Buy It! Although actual jar prices have risen quite a bit since publication, the complete index of all the McCoy jars is invaluable to anyone collecting cookie jars, especially when deciphering out what is and isn’t a McCoy.
Other books include:
An Illustrated Value Guide to Cookie Jars
The first cookie jar book that was published (1983), lots of pictures but not much information. You can usually find this book used for just a few dollars — at that price it’s nice to have.
- An Illustrated Value Guide to Cookie Jars (Book II)
Ermagene Westfall published the first cookie jar price guide, that I am aware of, in 1983. Book I was a small pocketsize book with little description, but good pictures. Ten years later Book II was published in a larger format and with a little more detail. Although I don’t use these as often as the other books, they nicely round out my collection of resources.
- Warman’s Cookie Jars: Identification & Price Guide
If you love cookie jar collecting, add this book to your collection. You can never have enough books showing jars and prices. But if you’re looking for information on newer jars (after the mid ’70s) this book isn’t for you. Author Mark Moran covers the 1930s to the early 1970s. This is probably my least favorite book on the shelf.