Dear Helaine and Joe:
Hello, my dad wanted me to send this pic to you to see if this cookie jar is worth anything. He said it is over 60 years old. I have no idea where my parents bought it. It is in great shape for how old it is.
Dear C. R.:
Many people have fond memories of cookie jars full of goodies. The sweets containers could be in the form of spaceships, clowns, old cars, gum ball machines, various animals from crocodiles and hippos to squirrels and rabbits, or they could be a favorite character from movies or television (R2-D2, Howdy Doody, Betty Boop and of course, Cookie Monster).
Plotting to steal between-meal cookies was practically our duty as children. And this monk dressed all in brown with “Thou Shalt Not Steal” emblazoned across the bottom of his robe would not have even slowed us down for one second. But we are sure C. R.’s parents thought it was cute when they purchased it.
Monk “Thou Shalt Not Steal” cookie jars were made in various forms by several companies including Red Wing, Treasure Craft, Cumberland Ware, McCoy and Twin Winton. We were not told how it’s marked, but the piece in today’s question was made by the Twin Winton Company, originally of Pasadena, Calif.
One source says Don and Ross Winton – yes, they were actually twins – started making ceramic items for sale in 1936 at age 16 while they were still in high school. But the twins hit a big speed bump when Disney threatened to sue because the twin’s designs were supposedly too near to the company’s images.
But the saga has a happy ending. When Walt Disney learned the age of the boys and that the ceramics they produced were their only means of support, Disney called off the lawyers and told them to leave the boys alone. This may or may not be true, but World War II accomplished what Disney decided not to do: close the company down.
Twin Winton reopened in 1946, making a Hillbilly line of products, and the twins were joined by their brother, Bruce. In the early 1950s the business was moved to San Juan Capistrano and El Monte, Calif.), and cookie jars with a wood tone finish started being made in 1951.
Some Twin Winton “Friar Tuck” cookie jars (yes, that is what these were called) are marked “copyright 1960.” They appeared in the company’s 1965 catalog along with a pair of Friar Tuck salt and pepper shakers. We found Twin Winton Friar Tuck cookie jars in both signed and unsigned versions.
The McCoy and Cumberland Ware “Thou Shalt Not Steal” monk cookie jars are very similar to the Twin Winton version, except Twin Winton’s Friar Tuck has two fingers raised on his left hand. The cookie jar should be valued in the $40 to $60 range.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson have written a number of books on antiques. Do you have an item you’d like to know more about? Contact them at Joe Rosson, 2504 Seymour Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917, or email them at [email protected]. If you’d like your question to be considered for their column, please include a high-resolution photo of the subject, which must be in focus, with your inquiry.