McCoy Pottery – How it Changed its Image in the Public Eye & Succeeded

Few companies are able to make a comeback, and certainly within its first two decades of existence, after recreating its image. Doing it in the public eye is even more challenging. Yet, for McCoy Pottery, it not only successfully pulled it off, but when it did re-emerge, it found an even greater stage.

McCoy in Zanesville

Like many American art pottery companies, McCoy got its start in the heart of art pottery paradise: Zanesville, Ohio. Founded in 1910 by Nelson McCoy and his father, J.W. McCoy, the company first set its sights on more utilitarian designs.  They found success, but it made what can only be described as rookie mistakes. It seemed as though it had a bit of an identity crisis in those earlier days.

Along with creating functional stoneware, it also was in the clay mining business. It partnered with close to a dozen other stoneware companies to define the American Clay Products Company. These designs were functional, just like McCoy’s own pottery designs, though there was nothing to really set the company apart and certainly there were no markings that revealed its collective origin. There was a bit of confusion: was McCoy Pottery now a part of ACPC or were they still two separate entities?

The public wouldn’t get the opportunity to figure it out as ACPC fell apart in the late 1920s.

Shifting Models

Three years later, smarter for the experience, Nelson and his father began rethinking and redefining the initial business model. Those first few years were challenging and by the mid 1930s, the writing on the wall was clear: interest in pottery as foodware was waning. The father/son duo had to rethink things yet again. Enter the Nelson McCoy Pottery Company.

The designs shifted and a new artist, Sydney Cope, played a significant role in defining the look and feel for the artistic efforts. The winds of change were still blowing, though and by the 1940s, and in response to the war, the company found itself making clay landmines.

It was also during this time that McCoy brought its technology up to par.

McCoy Redefined 

The war ended and before long, McCoy had finally found its identity. That identity included a maker of a more whimsical presentation. McCoy Pottery became synonymous with the cookie jars collectors still look for today. They’re highly collectible and it’s been suggested that McCoy designs are as prone as Roseville Pottery designs when it comes to counterfeiters looking to make fast money on fake pieces.

Help Identify this Clock Cookie Jar

Art Pottery Blog readers I need your help. We just got a large estate collection of older cookie jars.  I have been learning a lot over the last week or so regarding the various makers and years of production for Brush, McCoy, Abingdon and other cookie jar manufacturers. 

However, the clock cookie jar below has me stumped.  The photo of the bottom isn't the best but the mark on the bottom of the jar is USA 203.  I was guessing the cookie jar was McCoy but I can't find it in any of my pottery reference books. I know Abingdon made a similar clock cookie jar but the lid is different and the mark is not Abingdon.  I know there are a lot of antique cookie jar experts out there so I look forward to your assistance in helping me figure out if this is an old jar or a reproduction and who made it.



Greg Myroth –

Brush – McCoy Cookie Jars

Between 1954 and 1971, the Brush Pottery company produced over 50 novelty cookie jars.


It is important to note that in 1925, the Brush-McCoy Pottery name was changed to Brush Pottery. Many of the Brush cookie jars were designed by twin bothers Don and Ross Winton.  The twins did a lot of free-lance design for various pottery makers. Below is a listing of many of the Brush cookie jars.

1954 Cookie Jars

  • Cow W10
  • Formal Pig W7
  • Elephant Planter W8

1955 Cookie Jars

  • Circus Horse W10
  • Teddy Bear W14
  • Squirrel W15

1956 Cookie Jars

  • Davy Crockett
  • Peter Pan
  • Red Riding Hood K24
  • Little Boy Blue K25
  • Old Clock W20

1958 Cookie Jars


  • Teddy Bear W14
  • Little Girl O17
  • Granny O19

1959 Cookie Jars

  • Raggedy Ann W16
  • Humpty Dumpty W18
  • Panda W21
  • Clown W22
  • Old Shoe W23
  • Pumpkin W24

1960 Cookie Jars

  • Happy Bunny W25

1961 Cookie Jars

  • Laughing Hippo W27

1962 Cookie Jars

  • Squirrel on a Log W26
  • Treasure Chest W28
  • Humpty Dumpty K29
  • Cookie House W31
  • Cinderella Pumpkin W32

1963 Cookie Jars

  • Gas Lamp K1
  • Three Bears K2


1964 Cookie Jars

  • Donkey and Cart W33

1965 Cookie Jars

  • Pig Bank 837
  • Donkey and Cart W33

1966 Cookie Jars

  • Puppy Police W39
  • Sitting Pig W37
  • Chick in Nest W38

1968 Cookie Jars

  • Owl W40
  • Stylized Cat W41
  • Hill Billy Frog W43

1969 Cookie Jars

  • Chicken on Nest W44
  • Happy Hippo W45
  • Bear W46

1971 Cookie Jars

  • Touring Car W53
  • Dog and Basket W54
  • Boy with Ballons W56
  • Western Horse W55
  • Fish W52

Additional Brush Pottery Resources:

Greg Myroth –


The Top 10 Pottery Searches for August, 2009


Below are the top ten most searched pottery collections for August, 2009.  The searches reveal consistency with few changes.  Clearly, the trends for Roseville are still strong, as it dominates four of the ten spots.

Roseville Pottery- Patterns A-E – Some of the patterns in this group include the incredibly sought-after Roseville Apple Blossom, the delicate Roseville Azurean and the ambitious designs in Roseville Capri.

Roseville Pottery – Patterns F-L – This group includes the Roseville Juvenile and the Roseville Laurel.

Weller Pottery – Beautiful and deep coloring with lean lines define Weller Pottery.  A perfect example that defines the Weller Pottery themes is the Camelot Vase.

Roseville Pottery – Patterns S-Z – Look for the Roseville Savona with its rich gold coloring and the vivid reds that define the Roseville Silhouette.

Roseville Pottery – Patterns M-R – This group has the unique shaped Roseville Pottery Magnolia Brown Cider Pitcher.

Rookwood Pottery – If you've not seen the Rookwood Faience Pottery Pears on a Branch Tile, now's the time.  This exquisite tile measures 10" in height and is 6 ¾" wide. 

Van Briggle Pottery – Known for its many markings, this collection has something for everyone.

McCoy Pottery – Look for any of the McCoy Pottery Vases.  Each is beautiful in its own right.

Newcomb Pottery – The blues and greens set this collection apart.

Fulper Pottery – Elegant and refined are commonly used to describe Fulper Pottery.

Despite the foothold Roseville Pottery maintains, Grueby's arts and crafts style, and the contemporary styles of Ephraim and Door Pottery just missed the Top 10.

Donna McGill

McCoy Pottery Prices

Two McCoy floral vases recently sold on online through ebay for over $200. The first vase was a 1940s floral vase in a pink glaze and it sold for $204.50.  The 7" vase was in mint condition and is shown below.  The vase is also referenced in The Collectors Encyclopedia of McCoy Pottery by Sharon and Bob Huxford on page 141.

McCoy Pink Floral Vase

The second McCoy vase and my personal favorite of the two was a 1940s 8" vase decorated with molded tulips in a clean, white glaze. This vase was in mint condition and sold for $239.16.  This vase is also below and is shown in the green version in The Collectors Encylopedia of McCoy Pottery by Sharon and Bob Huxford on page 133.  

McCoy White Tulip Vase

Just Art Pottery

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McCoy Pottery in the News

McCoy Pottery has recently been receiving a lot of press in various art pottery publications.  The August 2008 issue of the McCoy Lovers NMXpress features an article about a previously undiscovered and potentially one-of-a-kind Cope designed McCoy butterfly planter.  The rare planter was discovered in July during the annual Pottery Lovers Festival in Zanesville, Ohio.

The unique butterfly planter is significantly different from the pastel butterfly line produced by Nelson McCoy in the 1940s.  The planter is 8 1/2" long by 4" wide and is glazed in a brown matte, bisque wood-tone glaze. NMXpress reports the McCoy planter sold for almost $1,000. 

In other McCoy pottery news, the May/June 2008 issue of the Journal of American Art Pottery Association featured a rare McCoy elephant planter on the cover.  The article, titled " Yes, McCoy is Art" discusses the rare elephant planter purchased by the authors and the fact that McCoy produced many art pottery lines such as Loy-Nel-Art, Rosewood and Olympia. These art pottery patterns produced by McCoy are comparable to those standard glaze and hand-painted patterns produced by Roseville, Weller, Owens and other Ohio art potteries.  The article also points out that while Roseville, Rookwood, Weller and most of the other well known American art potteries employed many artists and decorators, there were only two designers at McCoy from the mid 1930s through the 1960s (Sidney Cope and his son Leslie). Earlier designers were Albert Cusick and Walter Bauer.

To further substantiate the claim that McCoy pottery is no longer just low priced mass produced pottery, the article notes the sale price for the rare elephant plant was an astounding $5,000.  Several other record sale prices for McCoy pottery including a $10,000 McCoy cookie jar sold in 1998 and the prototype McCoy Robin Hood Planter sold at auction for $11,500 in 2006 are also discussed. In addition I have noted several large McCoy sphinx floor vases and sand jars have sold at auction in recent months with most selling in $2,000 to $4,000 range. 

Greg Myroth – Shop for McCoy Pottery

Fake Grueby Trademark on McCoy Pottery Vase

We were recently contacted by a fellow art pottery collector who was trying to find out about the history and value of her Grueby pottery vase.Mccoy_with_grueby_stamp  When the collector emailed us photos of her vase, I recognized the piece as being a 1930s McCoy matte glaze vase.  At first I thought the collector had simply mixed up the photos and sent me images of her McCoy pottery vase instead of the piece of Grueby.

However, after a closer look at the photo of the bottom I noticed it was stamped with a fake mark which included words Grueby Pottery, Boston and the lotus flower trademark.  Fake_grueby_stamp_3

Thankfully the mark is not at all close to authentic Grueby pottery trademarks and would likely not fool anyone other than the most novice pottery collectors. Since it was a fake Grueby trademark I had not seen previously I thought readers might find it interesting to see photos of the vase and stamp.

Greg Myroth – Selling Authenic McCoy and Grueby Pottery

McCoy Pottery Collectors' Society

The McCoy Pottery Collectors’ Society will be hosting the annual McCoy Pottery collectors reunion from July 15 through July 21, 2007.  The headquarters for the McCoy convention will be the Comfort Inn in Zanesville, Ohio.  Pict6754

The theme for the 2007 McCoy convention is "The Blues".  Any J.W. McCoy, Nelson McCoy, or Brush-McCoy Pottery in shades of blue is welcome to be added to the display.  Highlights of the reunion include a mixer and pottery auction on July 15, 2007 and Pottery Show and Tell on July 16, 2007.  All pottery for the Show and Tell must be produced by the J.W. McCoy, Nelson McCoy, or Brush-McCoy Pottery.  Another popular event during the covention is the in-room selling which will take place throughout the week. 

Greg MyrothShop for McCoy Pottery

McCoy Pottery – Record Price for Planter

A new record sale price for a piece of McCoy pottery was realized at a recent Green Valley Auctions sale.  A McCoy pottery Robin Hood planter was sold at the sale for $11,500.  The McCoy Robin Hood planter was made in the same style as the Hunting Dog, Large Fawn, and Liberty Bell.  Some McCoy experts indicated the piece was one-of-a-kind.  Based on that sale price, it will be interesting to see if more unique Nelson McCoy pieces begin to show up in the market.


Greg MyrothShop for McCoy Pottery