The Real McCoy: An ode to my cookie jar

For my fourth birthday, my best friend and next door neighbor Patty Zimmerman (who was three) gave me this very cute McCoy Pottery Humpty Dumpty cookie jar.  This became our family cookie jar, gracing our kitchen through many moves and houses.  Although it was technically mine, I didn’t have free reign of the cookies inside, sadly. However, I did master the ninja art of silently removing and replacing the lid in pursuit of a purloined cookie or two. It took a steady hand and steely nerve with my sharp-eared Mother sitting in the next room.  It was quite a skill!  When I moved out in my twenties, Humpty came with me. While I’ve rarely used him for cookies, he still has his place in the kitchen with his Cheshire Cat-like grin firmly in place.

McCoy Pottery Humpty Dumpty
  “The Cookie Thief” via Flickr

So, as I’ve been blogging about, I spent the last several months remodeling my kitchen and Humpty was moved to the relative safety of my dining room. My kitchen is finally finished (woot!) and I’m getting ready for the final photo shoot on Monday. I’m thrilled that Michael J. Lee is going to be shooting the kitchen (he did the gorgeous shots of a Boston town house living room that I did which was recently featured in the Boston Sunday Globe). Michael’s process includes a site visit prior to shoot day so he and the designer or stylist can decide which shots will work best and what kind of styling should be done to bring out the best in the space. It’s a fantastic extra level of service that really makes for wonderful finish shots. So, Michael came over to my house this past Monday. I didn’t spend a lot of time “styling” my kitchen for this pre-shoot visit, but I did put Humpty in a place of honor on my new counter.  And what does my fantastic photographer say? “Is Humpty going to stay?” Hmm, apparently, my real McCoy Pottery Humpty Dumpty cookie jar is not sexy enough for prime time.

Or is he?

Below is one of the scouting shots Michael took. Now, these are not meant to be beautifully finished shots. There was no photographic lighting, my kitchen is dark and required a wide open aperture to bring in as much light as possible to the shot and he was holding his camera by hand, not on a tripod. And, as I said, I had done no styling so there are visible sponges (the horror!) and brown bananas in the otherwise empty wire baskets. Oh, and my pans need polishing. But, doesn’t Humpty look fetching in profile?

Un-styled scouting shot taken by Michael J. Lee

Anyway, we’ll see if Humpty makes it into the final shots, maybe yes, maybe no.

Updated to add  🙂

McCoy Pottery Humpty Dumpty photo by Michael J Lee, design by Linda Merrill

But I spent a little time researching his provenance and found out several currently for sale. He was made by the Brush Pottery Company of Ohio (formerly the Brush McCoy Pottery Company) and the bottom is marked “W29 Brush USA”.  According to, the Brush Pottery Company produced over 50 different novelty cookie jars between 1954 and 1971.  My Humpty (with the jaunty cowboy hat) was made in 1962, and so was I, actually.  The “W” in the marking denotes that my jar was made by Don and Ross Winton, who worked as freelance potters.

Ebay has two listed one with a starting bid of 110.00. But there are some antiques sites where they are listed upwards of $250.00. Not that I’d ever sell, but it’s interesting to learn a little more about something I’ve owned nearly all my life.

Meanwhile, it’s been doppelganger week on Facebook and as I was doing research about Humpty, I couldn’t help but notice a few similarities… Blue eyes, pink cheeks, round face, big grin, pale, and dare I say it, porcelain complexion… ah, I crack me up.


14 thoughts on “The Real McCoy: An ode to my cookie jar”

  1. I have a SANTA cookie jar similar to your Humpty. Once a year I bring him out and it gives me so much joy. I totally get why you love him…and yes, I do see the resemblance 🤣

  2. I love that this post is 10 years old but that you found a way to make it fresh again, Linda! And the beauty of your porcelain complexion hasn’t changed one bit.

  3. Love that Humpty made the final cut and love the black kitchen cabinets! I’ve been working up to painting my ugly honey oak ones (also vintage 80’s that I, sadly, put IN – what was I thinking?!) a black. We’ll see…I need to add another window first so it may be a while!

  4. Ha! You crack me up too! That was so sweet, no pun intended. Growing up, my parents were friends with a lovely couple who collected cookie jars. They had an amazing collection, quite the conversation starter, and so charming. I haven't thought of them or their cookie jars in years, thanks for the lovely memory. And, I vote keep Humpty in the photo spread!

  5. LOL you are too cute !!!

    Humpty belongs in the photo I so hope he makes it in !!!

    My Grandmother had a rabbit cookie jar cream with pink ears…they built a new house in 1954…the kitchen was pink and aqua….Mr. Rabbit sat down low so all us grandkids could get a cookie….Oh I miss her…thanks for the memory !!

    All the best,
    Kathy 🙂

  6. It's snowing here again…how about up your way? I loved knowing cookie man's origins and date of birth…good story. And, he is awfully cute. But, I am not sure if he is wearing a cool enough outfit, although I admit to wearing a turtleneck and jeans nearly everyday, for a photo shoot. I would definately make sure he gets photographed so that you have the momento to smile back on. Now can I have a cookie, please!


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