Shawnee Pottery: Facts, Trivia and Collectibles

The company's Smiley pig cookie jar is a favorite among collectors

Vintage Shawnee Pottery 1940's-1950's Puss N' Boots Salt & Pepper Shaker Set

Photo from Amazon 

The Shawnee Pottery Company made well-known pottery lines like Pennsylvania Dutch and Corn King. The company was located in Zanesville, Ohio and claimed in its advertising that it could produce 100,000 ceramic items per day.

Companies such as Woolworth, McCrory, S. S. Kresge, and Sears Roebuck and Company all became customers/outlets for Shawnee Pottery, helping the fledgling company become established. The various companies supplied the designs for their products and promised to purchase them.

Shawnee offered a wide range of products for the kitchen, from baking dishes to whipping jars and everything you can think of in-between. They also produced a line of decorative art pottery, from aquarium ornaments to wall pockets.

Shawnee Pottery Kitchen Items and Cookie Jars

The first Smiley pig cookie jars were the cold painted jars, offered with either a blue or red scarf at the wholesale price of $12 per dozen. The Smiley salt and pepper shakers were sold wholesale at the price of $3.60 per dozen.

Meanwhile, the 1945 Sears Roebuck catalog offered sets of the Shawnee salt and peppers (watering can, farmer pigs and winking owl) at 47 cents each, along with teapots for $1.29 (horizontal ribbed base) and $1.59 (vertical ribbed base).

Shawnee and Terrace Ceramics

Terrace Ceramics bought the Shawnee molds when the company went out of business in 1961. So some jars might look like a Shawnee mold, but were made by and marked Terrace Ceramics. The quality and design of the jars are definitely different and will usually not be confused with the real thing.

New Shawnee Pottery

In the mid-1990s another Shawnee Pottery Company surfaced for a few years selling cookie jars, which should not be confused with the vintage Shawnee company. This company has also been advertised as "The New Shawnee Pottery Company". They have sold and produced several different cookie jars, Although the markings on the bottom of the jars do not look like the older company, this could confuse new collectors.

The New Shawnee Pottery Company has made several different designs and they are all very different from the original Shawnee jars.

Commemorative Jars from the Supnicks

Starting in 1992, Mark and Ellen Supnick produced a line of Shawnee Commemorative jars. These jars are well marked on the bottom with Mark Supnick's Commemorative Edition, along with the year, the name of the jar, jar number, and signatures.

According to the Supnicks, there is no way these jars can be tampered with, and they should not be confused with the vintage Shawnee pieces.

The commemorative jars were made in limited editions and included the Extremely Lucky Elephant, Purr-fect Puss-n-Boots, several different Muggsy designs and Sailor Boys, as well as a myriad of differently decorated Winnie and Smiley Jars.

Shawnee Fakes and Look-a-Likes

There are numerous fakes on the marketplace with the Smiley pig being the most popular target.

Several Shawnee jars have been copied and produced by larger companies. One reproduction is the Sailor or Jack Tar jar. Since it is well marked on the bottom as a Midwest jar, there should be no problem with its origin. The Block China/Jonal company also produced a series of retro classics that included a Puss 'n Boots jar.

Most Popular Shawnee Pieces

Although everything Shawnee is collectible, cookie jars are especially well-liked. The Smiley pig, Winnie pig, Muggsy dog, Puss n' Boots, and Dutch Jack and Jill were some of the more popular jars produced by Shawnee Pottery. Smiley, in his many variations, is one of the most "wanted" jars of all for cookie jar collectors, not only Shawnee collectors. 

Since gold-trimmed jars are always the most sought after, it's interesting to note that most gold trimmed jars were originally seconds or had blemishes. Gold and decals were applied to the jars to "hide" the imperfections. These jars were later sold in specialty shops at a higher price, and of course, now command a much higher price.

Today, it appears the sky's the limit when it comes to the rarer gold trimmed, decorated jars. In 2002 a Smiley Pig sold for $6750. at the Kent Mickelson Auction House in Missouri.