Question: Among some Elvis Presley items I inherited from a friend is an 11-inch-wide, 8-inch-high musical ceramic cookie jar marked “Vandor 412.” It is shaped like Elvis sitting on a bench playing a piano. Both cookie jar and bench are white trimmed with gold. The bench contains a music box that plays “How Great Thou Art.” I am curious about the set’s age, maker, and if it has any worth as a collectible. — O.B., Egg Harbor Township
Answer: A favorite of cookie jar collectors as well as Elvis Presley fans, your 1990s combination jar and music box continues to draw decent dollars on the collectibles market.
Vandor was established in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the early 1960s. Although not a manufacturer, Vandor was the distributor of novelty ceramic items that were made in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and other countries.
A wide variety of characters such as Howdy Doody, Betty Boop, The Flintstones, Popeye, Elvis and Mona Lisa are found on Vandor cookie jars, clocks, ashtrays, mugs, banks, salt and pepper shakers, teapots, egg cups and spoon rests.
This year, a Vandor musical Elvis Presley piano and bench cookie jar like yours sold for $154.
Question: What can you tell me about a very unusual 6-inch-high ceramic vase I recently bought at a yard sale. It is covered with a layer of what appears to be bright dripping gold and marked “McCoy 24K USA.” The seller purchased it at a house sale several years ago and said it was tagged “Weeping Gold” at that time. Information about “McCoy” would also be appreciated, as any research I did ended with a confusing number of McCoy potteries. — R.B., Berlin
Answer: Well-known for its artware and tableware, the McCoy pottery that made your vase was originally established near Zanesville, Ohio, in 1848 by W. Nelson McCoy and W. F. McCoy. At that time, only stoneware crocks and jars were produced.
In 1899, Nelson’s son organized the J.W. McCoy Pottery in Roseville, Ohio, and added some lines of art pottery. During 1911, following a merger with other small potteries, the firm emerged as the Brush McCoy Pottery Co.
By 1933, the company had again reorganized, this time as the Nelson McCoy Pottery Co., and the firm changed their product design to include less utilitarian ware and more art ware.
During the 1940s, Nelson McCoy flourished, and despite a 1950s fire that destroyed many of its buildings, by 1960 it was the largest producer of pottery in the U.S. Throughout the 1970s, McCoy made and shipped millions of items each year.
The company was sold to Mount Clemens Pottery Co. in 1974 and sold again in 1985 to Designer Accents, which closed in 1990.
Your McCoy Weeping Gold vase is one of a number of matching pieces that emerged from the company’s Sunburst and Weeping Bright Gold lines. First created in the 1940s, the items’ gold dripping and spattered appearance, containing real gold, was popular and used until the mid-20th century. Weeping Gold objects cover a broad category of ceramics decorated with the distinctive, mottled and random finish.
Popular Weeping Gold items include ashtrays, creamers and sugar bowls, pitchers, candy dishes and teapots. In the 1960s, ceramic Weeping Gold Jim Beam Whiskey decanters were favorites.
Presently, Weeping Gold pieces are very collectible and reasonably inexpensive. Recent prices paid for 6-inch-high McCoy Weeping Gold vases have ranged from $15 to $20.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232. Email: treasuresby firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.