What’s it Worth: Smiley the Pig Cookie Jar

Among the most collectible kitchenware items, Smiley the Pig cookie jar is worth a shiny penny if in mint condition.

What’s it Worth: Smiley the Pig cookie jar

What’s it Worth: Smiley the Pig cookie jar

What’s it Worth: Smiley the Pig cookie jar

What’s it Worth: Smiley the Pig cookie jar

 

As a child, I loved my mother’s pig-shaped cookie jar. I’m now 73, and would love to know what it’s worth.

—A.S, Fresno, CA

What’s it worth?

Smiley the Pig cookie jars continue to be among the most collectible kitchenware out there. Looking at yours, it’s easy to see why!

Smiley’s been around since 1944, when Rudy V. Ganz obtained the figural pig patent for the Shawnee Pottery Company of Zanesville, Ohio. Shawnee used the Smiley theme for creamers, pitchers and salt-and-pepper sets, too.  Because his colorings and costumes vary, collectors look hard for pieces with unusual colors, decal placement or gilt trim.

Shawnee, which closed in 1961, was never a mega-manufacturer of cookie jars. It was known for inexpensive novelty wares, including vases and figurines.

Recognizing vintage Shawnee cookie jars takes some effort, because reproductions abound. Check underneath for a raised-edge ring that follows the contour of the base, and look inside—most Shawnee is completely glazed there, too. Books available at many public libraries will list exact heights and markings. Commemorations, made under license, should be marked as such. And ask the seller for a guarantee of age.

Any breakage or scratches will diminish value, but your Irish pig is certainly worth smiling about—he still sports vibrant green cloverleafs and brown suspenders, front and back. He looks to be in mint condition, so he’s worth about $365.

—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)

Ann 1 December 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I have two Smiley Pig Cookie Jars that were purchased in 1946. One belongs to me and one belonged to my grandmother. At one time we had matching salt and pepper shakers but I have no idea what happened to them. I have seen several of these cookie jars in different shops around the country. I’ve even see a Lady Smiley.

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Gloria Hempelman 2 February 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I have a cat cookie jar of the same vintage and manufacturer that belonged to my grandmother. Also salt and pepper shakers and cream pitcher. It is one of my most treasured possessions. They were very inexpensive when purchased. My sister-in-law has a pig with a different design that the one featured. Basically the same except for the decorating details. Hers has survived being filled with cookies many times for eight children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It has sat on her kitchen counter since about 1945.

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