by Dr. Lori Verderame
McCoy Pottery Company – Its History
In 1910, Nelson McCoy established the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co. in Roseville, OH. This area of Ohio provided a good source for natural clay and the McCoy firm used this clay to manufacture decorative stoneware. Predominantly producing earthenware pieces for kitchen use, the company expanded in 1925 modernizing its production facilities. Decorative pieces were produced in addition to their traditional kitchen items.
By the mid 1920, McCoy hired designers to sculpt and decorate the pottery. During the Depression, McCoy condensed resources by working with other pottery firms in the American Clay Products organization. By 1933, the company was renamed, the Nelson McCoy Pottery Company and many new designs were introduced.
In addition to the firm’s famous figural cookie jars, McCoy planters, vases, and other utilitarian pottery remain popular with collectors. These pieces regularly command high values.
From the 1940s to the 1960s, McCoy was best known for its production of cookie jars. McCoy made cookie jars from about 1939 until production ceased in 1987. The first McCoy cookie jar produced is also one of the most valuable cookie jars in the secondary market today which can be valued into the several hundreds of dollars.
By the 1960s, McCoy was experiencing numerous financial difficulties as the firm was unable to compete on the international import market. The McCoy firm was sold to The Mount Clemens Pottery Company in 1967 and then to the Lancaster Colony Corporation in 1974. In 1990, production stopped and the McCoy company ceased business.
Request an online appraisal of your McCoy pottery piece from Dr. Lori.