Yesterday Deidra and I saw this green fake Mayfair cookie jar in an antique mall. The seller must have thought it was the real thing because it was priced at $75.
My trusty Gene Florence Collector’s Encyclopedia of Depression Glass notes that Mayfair cookie jars, shakers, juice pitchers and shot glasses were reproduced in several bright colors. We can instantly spot this jar as fake. Here’s why:
Hocking’s green Mayfair is an unusual shade of soft, pretty yellow green, not this bright emerald color. Here’s a green center handled server which is the correct color.
I’m not aware of any Hocking patterns made in a bright emerald color. Hocking made Mayfair in pink, the green shown, a beautiful blue as in the piece below, plus a few pieces in topaz yellow and crystal. If you see any cobalt/dark blue, emerald green, amethyst or red, walk away. The piece is fake.
Florence notes the design on the fake cookie jar base is indistinct and faint, smooth to the touch where the real ones have a clear pattern. Also the bottom will be perfectly smooth while the real jars have a mold circle about 1 3/4 inches across that you can feel.
The pattern on jar we found felt distinct but it was not right. The pattern was raised enough to feel but the glass itself had a rough, stippled texture that felt all wrong. Real ones have noticeable, distinct raised designs with smooth curves and the background is smooth.
Cookie Jar Lid
Florence suggests to look at the design parallel to the straight sides of the lid. The fake tops have a line that “curves gracefully toward the center V shape, like bird wings in flight” while on real lids that line is flat and straight.
This was harder for me to visualize, but if you look at a piece you know is fake – like this cookie jar – then it’s easier to match the pattern with the description. Sure enough, the line by the straight side curves to the V.
The top photo, showing the jar in profile, shows the finial isn’t on quite right. I didn’t notice this until getting the photo offf my cell phone and cannot say whether the piece was damaged and glued together or the manufacturer made it crooked.
Summary: Be Aware But Don’t Worry Too Much
I wrote this with two aims. First, I hope this helps those of you who have questionable pieces decide whether yours is real. But most important, I hope this helps everyone put the problem of reproductions and fakes into context: Once you know they exist most fakes are easy to spot.