McCoy Pottery: The Price of Popularity

On my thrifting travels yesterday, I came across a couple of collector's books from the '80s for $5 a piece, and one of them was The Collector's Encyclopedia of McCoy Pottery by Sharon and Bob Huxford.

Given my only resources on the McCoy I collect were from a guide that contained other collectibles too, I thought it would be handy to have a whole book dedicated to these unique vases, planters, cookie jars and other pottery items.

It was terrific to see the wide range of products and styles McCoy did since its beginnings in the early 1900s. But the thing that surprised me most was not the diversity-- but the 1980s prices for these now sometimes pricey and sought-after pieces!


Any McCoy fan in possession of a time machine would be wise to leap into it now, head to the time of MTV's heyday, big hair, and parachute pants. And there, get thee to an antique mall and snatch up what McCoy you can find to bring back to 2009!

I wouldn't say you could retire on the investment. But you'd definitely have done well for yourself. Money for Nothin', even. :)

I mean, here is a favorite piece in my collection-- this McCoy shell planting dish from 1941...

In 1983, the price was listed as $7-$10. Nowadays a nice McCoy piece in perfect condition of this size tends to average around $30-$40 from what I've seen in my area. Fans of McCoy, I'd love to hear from you about the prices in your neck of the woods!

A cornucopia similar to this one, but be-tasseled, can be found in the encyclopedia...

The 1983 encyclopedia listed it as $5-$8. I'll have to check, but I think I paid about $10, and that, for today, was on the low side.

And this swan vase, listed the same price as above, was from 1946...

I've seen these swans in other colors-- cream being one of them. Usually they run around $20-$30.

This vase in "wheat" from 1953 was listed as $5-$8...

I think I paid $20 for it because I really liked the organic yet streamlined design to it, as well as its soft, blended harvest colors. I haven't seen another one like it to know what they're running around here.

This geometric/deco style vase is from 1941...

In 83, it was list as $5-$8 as well. I paid $11, and I recall feeling I got quite a steal. I've seen it in other colors, and it's been about $25-$45.

This pot and saucer from 1961 was listed a $4-&7...
While I got mine from the Salvation Army, I've seen pots like this at antique malls charging $12 for a highly-damaged and considerably smaller piece.

This little jobbie here I got for $4 yesterday....

It needs a good cleaning, but is otherwise in great condition. But in 1983, it was worth $1.50-$2.50. I would have greatly overpaid!

Anyway, I thought you all just might appreciate getting to see how at least one collectible item has appreciated over time. And it hasn't just happened with McCoy. I mean, collectors of jadite will attest to how what once was a common yet lovely Depression era glass got some attention from Martha Stewart and suddenly prices went through the roof. Only now am I starting to find jadite at more reasonable prices.

And what collectible will be next, do you think?

I'd love to hear from you all about how you've seen collecting change over the years, and where you think it's headed!

Until our next post on Wednesday, folks! Happy hunting!

12 comments:

SueLovesCherries said...

I've only got three McCoy pieces: a smaller bright yellow planter, a small mixing bowl in the blue & pink stripes that dh picked up, and a blue milk jug. They were all $1 to $4 at thrift stores.

Well, now that I have three of them, I guess you could call it a collection! I'd love to run across a vase or two cheap.

~ RM said...

Oh, McCoy! I have just learned about this. Isn't it funny that when you first 'discover' something, it pops up everywhere?

Melanie said...

I love McCoy, but in my area, it's beyond my budget. I do have a very nice brown cream pitcher that I inherited that's mccoy.

Had a couple pieces of mccoy years ago when I was young and ignorant and didn't know what they were. Wish I knew what I'd done with them. :(

When I first started collecting anchor hocking's forest green and ruby red, they were fairly reasonably priced, but have been steadily climbing in price. It's rare anymore that I find a piece that I feel is a bargain.

Jenn Thorson said...

Sue- You got some great buys on your McCoy pieces, for sure! Every now and then I run into them at thrift stores, though occasionally the thrifts see that the pottery is collectible and get kooky trying to charge antique mall prices. (I pass on it then.)

RM- That is always the way it is, isn't it? Funny how much stuff must be lurking around us, just waiting for our attention.

Melanie- Ah, both the red and green Anchor Hocking are very pretty. I see the red sometimes but the green very rarely these days at the thrifts.

Rebecca. Harlan, IN said...

What lovely treasures you have! I've always liked McCoy, and only have a few thrifted pieces....

When you mentioned cleaning your latest find, I wondered if you have any tips? Any ideas how to get those watermarks off w/o scratching or harming the piece?

Jenn Thorson said...

Rebecca- I honestly just used standard dish liquid soap and a non-abrasive sponge. It looks a whole lot better now!

Dennis said...

I have collected several pieces of McCoy pottery and have the reference book "The Collectors Encyclopedia of McCoy Pottery". I would like to find a very current price guide for this book,authored by Sharon and Bob Huxford. Is anyone aware of this and how to purchase this? Please Email me. Thanks!!! Also, McCoy has become very pricey here in Colorado!!!!!!

The Bead Bakery said...

Hi love your blog
I think you got some great scores on the thrift store Decor meter Im from union ohio and I shop alot of thrift stores and 2nd hand stores garage sales flea markets as well. mostly I go early when my son jumps on his bus I have been known to stop at a few curbs on trash day but about two days a week off to the goodwill I go Im not a dealer and I do not sell my finds but I have been doing this for many years and I know a thing or two you can find a few McCoys- here and there Haul- pfaltsgraff-Heager-Hull-fiesta ware-Suesex china-pryex-these are just a few that I KEEP MY EYE OUT FOR but I will pay $1.99 to $5.00 for some great old things I as well hate the fact that some of the thrift stores have gone alittle nutty on there high prices I bend down alot to look on the bottom back shelfs and I kinda go alot and catch the price girl slackin on some days I think it fun and I enjoy the hunt for that pretty pretty I just cant live with out

MA Fat Woman said...

I didn't know you were a Mccoy lover. From what I could tell from the pics you tend to like the softer colors, pastels. I do have a few of those but I'm into the Grecian 24 kt gold ware, canyonware, gondolas, panthers, pitchers,car planters, and the cookie jars. I've been trying to get the pine cone sugar and creamer set for about 15 years. (You've probably seen it)

Jenn Thorson said...

Dennis- Perhaps contacting Collector Books directly? They might be able to hook you up.

Bead Bakery- Yep, it definitely depends on the thrift store how the prices go for certain things. Some managers seem to be using Ebay as a guide for what prices to give items, but don't realize the thrift crowd is not exactly the same as the collector crowd, and the market typically can't bear those higher prices.

MA Fat Woman- Oh, yes, I do love my McCoy. And you're right-- I lean more towards the pinks, aquas, and greens in my taste (I have some excellent red vases, too, though), and the stuff I choose tends to be from around 1940-- the styles are pretty arts and crafts/art deco/nouveau. It just really goes well with my house. It sounds like you have a really interesting, diverse collection. And yes, I love those pinecone pieces. There is a teapot in that general style I would love to find someday.

Sarah said...

I have several McCoy Ball Jug Pitcher's, I am interested in selling them, as I no longer have the display space. Do you know of any reputable dealers in Denver, Colorado that I might be interested in my collection?

Thanking you in advance.

Sarah

Jenn Thorson said...

Hi, Sarah-
I'm only really familiar with dealers in the Eastern Ohio/Western PA region where I live. Maybe some reader here might be able to make a recommendation for you, though.

Anyone? :)