California Originals

It's easy to recognize the California Originals jars, but often hard to find out more about the company. Information is scarce, but the jars aren't! There are no fence-sitters when it comes to the brown jars made by California Originals. You either love them or hate. And for if you're trying to identify the non-brown jars, look for cold-painting and matte glazes on the licensed pieces like Winnie the Pooh characters or the DC Comic heroes.

History of the Company

California Originals had it starts in 1945 as Heirlooms of Tomorrow, making fine quality porcelain lace figurines. How the company changed directions from those intricate figurines to the brown cookie jars it's became known for is a mystery to me!

But the name was changed, the company moved to Torrence California and the production of pottery art ware began.

California Originals closed its doors in 1982.

California Originals Jar Pictures

California Jar
Barb Crews

California Originals jars prices can be all over the map, the simple brown jars can range from around $25, but surprisingly they can also fetch quite a bit more than that. When keeping an eye on jar prices, I'm often surprised at the prices realized at online auctions.

Licensed jars can go for quite a bit of money. Superman, both brown and silver, Wonder Woman and Woody Woodpecker all command premium prices.

Identification Marks

Identification mark
Barbara Crews

California Original jars are usually marked with a number (three or four digits) and the USA somewhere on the rim, on the back or near the bottom of the jar.

The image shown here is typical, it's from the Cuckoo Clock jar.

Catalog Sheets

Catalog example
Barb Crews

It's always interesting to see the original advertisements for the stuff we collect. If you have any of the Muppets California Original jars, this is a fun page to check out.

  • Sesame Street Jars

Prices and Values

Goofy's Cookie Co
Bill Correll

Shown are a sampling of prices one might pay for California Originals cookie jars.

  • Woody Woodpecker -- $417.(2006)
  • Goofy's Cookie Company -- $466.(2006)
  • The Count -- $455.(2006)
  • Dumbo -- $400.(2006)
  • Scarecrow -- $210.(2006)
  • Mickey Mouse on a Drum -- $275.(2006)
  • Pinocchio with Fishbowl -- $382.(2006)
  • Tigger -- $259.(2006)
  • Bambi -- $229.(2006)
  • Superman Brown Phone Booth -- $193.(2006)
  • Victrola Cookie Jar -- $73.(2006)
  • Snowman -- $73.(2006)
  • Cocker Spaniel -- $26. (2006)
  • Reclining Frog -- $75. (2009)
  • Eeyore -- $430. (2008)
  • Snowhite - $330.(2007)
  • Raggedy Andy - $161.(2008)
  • Big Bird Chef - $108. (2008)