Pierre the Chef Cookie Jar

Question:
I have a Redwing Pottery Cookie Jar that belonged to my great-great-great grandmother. Patent stamped on bottom: D-130328. It is a two shades of blue baker with hat, moustache, hair covering right eye with arms folded across his big belly. I do not have a picture at this time, but can obtain if necessary. Please advise Thank you, Deana

Answer:
The earliest Red Wing catalogs listed this cookie jar as "Pierre the Chef". Later catalogs simply called him "Chef".

The Pierre the Chef cookie jar was introduced by Red Wing in 1941, along with his friends Katrina the Dutch girl and Friar Tuck. Price lists from 1942, 1943 and 1944 show them as being available in blue, yellow, and tan colors. An undated brochure, probably from the mid to late 1940s adds green as an available color. These three cookie jars were great sellers for Red Wing. Many thousands of them were made and production continued into the mid 1950s.

The oldest jars are stamped "Red Wing Pottery" across a stylized wing in bluish-black ink on the bottom, along with three patent numbers. Jars made a bit later do not include the patent numbers. Eventually (around 1950) the ink stamp was omitted and only "Red Wing USA" appears on the bottom, imparted by the mold that formed the piece.

While these cookie jars are not at all rare, jars in excellent condition are not easy to find in any color. After years of use (often by the small hands of children more interested in the contents than the jar), these jars are usually chipped or cracked and have grease stains. A chef cookie jar in excellent condition would be worth around $75 to $100 in the yellow or tan colors, with another $25 or so for blue. Green would be worth more because the color is less common. Chips, cracks and staining will reduce the value significantly.