I have a "Little Red Riding Hood" cookie jar that has been in my family since the early 1900s. It is in mint condition and I would love to know what it is worth. It is marked on the bottom, "Hull-ware Little Red Riding Hood Patent Applied For U.S.A." Any information would be appreciated.

Dear Helaine and Joe:

I have a "Little Red Riding Hood" cookie jar that has been in my family since the early 1900s. It is in mint condition and I would love to know what it is worth. It is marked on the bottom, "Hull-ware Little Red Riding Hood Patent Applied For U.S.A." Any information would be appreciated.

Thank you,

P.M., Mount Prospect, Ill.

Dear P.M:

First of all, let us begin by saying that this charming jar in the shape of Little Red Riding Hood is not "early 1900." In reality, genuine examples of this jar are from the mid-20th century. The first were made in 1943 and the last in 1957.

There is some controversy about this line, which carries the A.E. Hull Pottery Co. mark on its bottom. This Little Red Riding Hood line had been attributed to this company, but, in more recent years, collectors have began thinking that most of the production was done by the Regal China Co. of Antioch, Ill.

It has been suggested that Hull made the ceramic bodies and then Regal added the decaled decoration. This may or may not be the case, but most people still refer to these as being made by A.E. Hull.

There is no question that the line was designed by Louise Bauer, and besides the famous cookie jar, the general shape can be found as banks, canisters, casserole dishes, spice jars, salt and pepper shakers, mustard pots, pitchers, baby dishes and teapots, among many others.

The cookie jars came in two basic shapes -- the slightly rarer ones feature a round basket and the more commonly found ones have an open-ended basket that we say looks something like a taco. The one owned by P.M. is from this latter group.

Most of the figures on the cookie jars came wearing aprons, but a few can be found with no aprons -- and these are the rarest of all. These cookie jars came decorated with a wide variety of decal decorations, with a few turning up that are just gilded, and every now and then an undecorated example will turn up.

The A.E. Hull Pottery Co. was founded in 1905 by Addis Emmett Hull and located on China Street in Crooksville, Ohio. In the beginning, the company produced stoneware, dinnerware, kitchenware and toilet wares, but in the late 1930s began making matte-finished commercial artware.

In June 1950, tragedy struck the company when a flood hit the factory and caused the kilns to explode. The company rebuilt and reopened in 1952, but it was never able to re-create the old matte glazes because of the modern equipment it had to use. Hull Pottery closed in 1985.

Some of Hull's Little Red Riding Hood items can be very valuable. At one time an advertising sign (with patent number 135889) sold for more than $15,000 and some of the canisters were selling for more the $5,000. The rarest of the cookie jars sold for around $1,000 -- but, unfortunately, those days are now gone.

Currently, a Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar very similar to the one in today's question is retailing in the $200-$300 range -- if it is in absolutely perfect condition. Auction prices (what P.M. can expect to sell her piece for) seem to be in the neighborhood of $100-$150.
   

Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of "Price It Yourself" (HarperResource, $19.95). Contact them at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928. Email them at treasures@knology.net.