Preserve jars can be quite ancient. European storage jars often date into the 1600-1700s but the modern fruit jar, as found in this country, began to appear about 1840-1850 with the introduction of cork and wax seal jars and their tin top cousins. The development of a suitable closure which would prevent spoilage, be reusable and be economic proved challenging but the effort resulted in a great variety of odd closures which attract the big dollars from Fruit Jar collectors today. 


The 1858 jar probably is among the most common of the older jars and most examples were made well after the patent date.  Colored examples of any jar early or late will bring a handsome price at auction.  Colored means not clear or not aqua.  The next most common color is amber.  After that the examples get scarce in deep olives, teals and even cobalt.


Until the invention of a screw-top with a rubber seal, the most common means of sealing jars was with wax.  The terms 'wax seal' or 'wax sealer' usually refer to a jar with a groove around the lip which held both the metal lid and the wax in place. Colored wax seal jars will sell for the most.


Early colored jars are rare.  Most 19th century jars were made in aqua and most 20th century jars in clear glass.  Machine made jars in color are the best of the later jars.  Colored pontil examples, while rare, are known in a variety of colors with cobalt blue being the top of the line.



 1865-1885 Jars

This closure is often mistaken for an ink - it threads into the mouth of the $200-300 jar

This jar is not especially rare but add the closure and it is.

The closure makes the jar valuable.


New jars can be valuable in color like this 1858 jar.

New jars can be valuable in color like this 1858 jar.


Pontil Jars like these would command  prices in the thousands.


Numerous Reproduction exist so know from whom you buy.


Jars to fool the beginner




Leybourne, Doug. Red Book 9, Fruit Jar Price Guide. North Muskegon, Mich.: Privately published,


McCann, Jerry. 1996 Fruit Jar Annual. Chicago: J. McCann Publisher, 1996


Both authors have regularly updated their guides