December 07, 2023

Antiques & Collecting: Tobacco jars

Many figural tobacco jars were made in the late 1800s and early 1900s, marked with just the letters “JM” or the letters and the printed word “Bohemia” or “Czechoslovakia.” The jars held loose pipe tobacco, but they were not humidors made to control humidity.

The figural jars are about 18 to 20 inches high with small statues of children seated in chairs, a dog in a barrel, a man drinking beer, even Buster Brown or gnomes.

Some of the jars are also marked with a city, the location of one of the many factories like Aussig, Bohemia. Most of the jars were made of terra cotta or majolica.

A telltale, signed JM jar has buff colored edges showing the ceramic. The maker was Johann Maresch (1821-1914).

He worked at many different factories and probably owned some of them. Other potters also used an initial mark.

The jars by Johann Maresch sell for $300 to $500. The other potters’ work sells for less than $200.

My daughter’s name is Kelly, and when she was a toddler, I started buying a small doll named Kelly that was Barbie’s “little sister.” They were sold for about $5 each, if I remember correctly. I bought a dozen of them over the years, putting them immediately into a box for safekeeping. They are all in their original boxes. They’ve never been opened. Are they just a fun remembrance of her childhood, or will they be worth something in the future?

The 3-inch-high preschool doll Kelly was marketed as the younger sister of Barbie, Skipper and Stacie.

Kelly was introduced in 1995 and retired in 2010. She was replaced by Chelsea in 2011. She was dressed in Halloween costumes, Christmas dresses and St. Patrick’s Day green for the holidays.

She was sold both separately and in boxes with a Barbie. Sale prices for in-the-box Kellys are between $25 and $35 online.

Tip: Keep a list of the things you are looking for and the sizes that will fit in your house. That includes space needed to get a large piece up a stairway with a low ceiling or a sharp turn.

Current Prices

Copper kettle, candy maker’s, round, rolled rim, hand-wrought cast handles with original rivets, 7 x 17 1/2 inches, $55.

Terra cotta figurine, French peasant woman holding a decorated vase on her head, naturalistic base, marked Lladro, 30 x 8 inches, $280.

Pair of sconces, gold tone metal, polished brass, half dome form, hanging frosted Lucite prisms, Karl Springer, 20th century, 15 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches, pair, $540.

Terry and Kim Kovel

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