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California Originals

California Originals — it’s easy to recognize the jars, but hard to find out more about the company. Information is scarce, but the jars aren’t! There are no fence sitters when it comes to the brown jars made by California Originals. You either love them or hate. It took me a while to like them, now I love them.

California Originals Clock
California Originals Clock

Company History
California Originals started life in 1945 as Heirlooms of Tomorrow, making fine quality porcelain lace figurines. How the company changed directions from those intricate figurines to the brown cookie jars it hasĀ  became known for is a mystery to me, but the name was changed, the company moved to Torrence California and the production of pottery artware began.

California Originals closed its doors in 1982.

Distinctive Finish
Several companies produced brown wood-grain color jars, but California Originals and Twin Winton were the most prolific. Their finishes are quite distinctive, when it wasn’t brown, it was often in a matte finish with cold paint. If you’re trying to identify the non-brown jars, look for cold paint, with flat and matte finishes on the licensed pieces like Winnie the Pooh characters or the DC Comic heroes.

Prices and Values
California Originals jars prices can be all over the map, the simple brown jars can range from $25 to well over $100. for the more unusual jars.

Licensed jars will usually sell for quite a bit more. Superman, both brown and silver, Wonder Woman, Woody Woodpecker, Snow White are among the jars that command premium prices.

California Original jars are marked usually on the side, bottom portion of the jar with what appears to be the mold number. This particular mark is from the antique glazed Dumbo, but the look is similar to most of the company’s jars.

Typical Identifying Mark California Originals
Typical Identifying Mark
California Originals

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