Did you know that Andy Warhol collected McCoy pottery? Neither did I. He especially loved McCoy cookie jars, and after his passing, his entire collection was auctioned off to the highest bidder. In 1987, the 175 cookie jars(!) that Warhol had collected from flea markets and antique stores brought in an astonishing $250,000 at auction! One hundred and twenty five cookie jars? I don't think he kept them all on his kitchen counter... A collection like that deserves an entire room. I would like to see that.
The Nelson McCoy Pottery Company was originally founded in 1848 in Roseville, Ohio (due to the large supply of clay in the region) but the McCoy factory wasn't established until 1910. Producing beautiful pottery for nearly 140 years, the company was managed by three generations of the McCoy family, but was sold in 1985 (and closed five years later). During the economic depression of the 1930s, the McCoy Pottery Company teamed up with other local potteries to stay alive. The co-op was named, the American Clay Products Company, and they shared everything-- even one salesman! This joint venture might explain for the large amount of pottery on the market that looks like McCoy pottery, but does not feature the McCoy hallmark. This joint venture did not last, as the individual potteries in the co-op became too competitive and the McCoy Pottery Company eventually separated to manufacture independently.
Many of the products that McCoy produced featured leaves and berries, or swirls and interesting art deco details. A collector will regonize a McCoy piece first by it's color (their collection featured works in pale yellows, blues, greens, apricots, turquoise, and pink), and then by it's hallmark. However, not all McCoy pieces feature a hallmark... so, finding the REAL McCoy can be tricky (sorry, bad joke). I often see McCoy pottery and McCoy "mystery pieces" (look-a-likes that are not marked) at the flea markets. Some of these pieces are just marked "USA." Someone once told me that these pieces are referred to as "USA Pottery"... who knows. I just like the soft colors and graceful lines, plus they look terrific filled with fresh flowers...
Here are some McCoy look-a-likes at High Street Market:
Vintage art deco ruffled vase in cream
**UPDATE: If you want to read an INSANE article about Andy Warhol's vast collections, go HERE. You won't believe what a nut he was.**