Mason jars are some of the most plentiful antique kitchenware pieces. For many years, these jars were used for storing food, but now in the modern world, they’re used for aesthetics too. Older mason jars, especially those in good condition, have become significant for collectors and can be worth a lot of money.
Most vintage mason jars are worth between $8 – $12 U.S. dollars each. Some vintage jars, such as those with unique colors, sizes, or other attributes, can be worth $100 or more. There are even some really rare antique jars worth thousands of dollars!
The price of an old jar is dependent on many factors, including the year it was made and how rare it is today. Old, rare jars have appeared and disappeared over the last century. Some of them pop up at auctions now and then and can be bought for large sums. So let’s delve into the worth of mason jars.
Are Old Mason Jars Worth Money?
Today it’s very easy to buy new mason jars in bulk for around $3-5 each. However, the average antique jar starts at around $10. Although they are old, vintage mason jars are pretty common as so many were produced throughout the years. Any antique mason jars in very good condition or with rare attributes such as unique colors or defects can sell for $100 or more.
One important way to determine value is age. You can date a jar’s approximate age by determining when the company started using the logo emblazoned on the jar. Jars with older logos, especially from the Ball brand, are likely to be worth more than jars with newer logos.
Color is also another way to approximate when a jar was manufactured. Amber glass jars were popular at the beginning of the 20th century due to a misconception that the color kept food from spoiling. Jars with certain green shades, like dark olive, are also seen as valuable and can cost as much as $300.
Once you identify your vintage jar and know it’s brand, color, size, and approximate age, you can check sites like Ebay’s sold listings as well as Worthpoint to see what jars similar to yours have sold for recently.
How Much are Vintage Ball Mason Jars Worth?
Vintage Ball jars are valued based on their condition and age. Cracks in the glass, as well as stains, can reduce the value of the Ball jar.
The most common vintage Ball jars are easy to find at auctions and markets, and they range between $5 and $20. Vintage ball jars with their lids intact can cost higher, up to $30. Very few jars, which are rare due to color or defects can value up to $100. A great example is this olive green Ball jar, which was auctioned for $100.
There are even more expensive Ball jars, including one of the earliest ever made, which was auctioned off at just over $11,000.
Are Kerr Mason Jars Valuable?
Kerr jars were founded in the 20th century, unlike Ball jars which entered production in the late 19th century. So, vintage Kerr jars are typically cheaper than Ball jars. You can find common Kerr jars for around $5 to $15. The rarer jars tend to start at $20, like this amber Kerr jar which was made circa 1940-1960.
The most expensive Kerr jars you can find will likely be under $1,000. This very rare emerald green Kerr jar was auctioned off for less than $800. Notably, the starting bid of the auction was just $200, compared to rare Ball jars that have starting bids of over $2,000.
What are Old Atlas Mason Jars Worth?
Vintage Atlas mason jars are reasonably affordable, compared to Kerr and Ball jars. You can get a unique Atlas jar for just $10, like this clear blue jar with its paper label intact. This vintage green E-Z seal Hazel Atlas jar, shown below, sold for just under $100.
There are more expensive options, like this rare early-1900s Atlas mason jar that was sold for over $1,000.
Are Golden Harvest Mason Jars Valuable?
Golden Harvest jars are some of the least valuable in the antique market. This is because the brand first entered production in the mid-1970s. You will see some older jars for around $5 to $50, but it is unlikely that you will find a rare collector’s item.
What are the Most Valuable Mason Jars?
Some special and rare vintage mason jars have become very notable for their prices. Here are five of the most valuable mason jars:
This jar came into the market mid-way through the 19th century and became notable due to the uniqueness of its cork. There may have been quite a few made after it was invented in 1858, but it is quite rare to find one in great condition.
It is so rare that even if you did find this jar, it will cost above $1000 to purchase. If it is in perfect condition, the price could go as high as $4000. Even the cork lid, which made the jar unique, trumps the price of the average vintage mason jar. You can get the lid alone for around $60.
This unique mason jar was manufactured in 1870. It is notable for the embellishment on the sides of the jar: “The Chief” is embossed, alongside the letter “K” in cursive. Another unique feature is the wire fixture under the lid that seals the jar by hooking the lid to the sides.
It’s very rare to find this jar, even in poor condition. In good condition, however, you would be parting with approximately $800.
When companies manufacture items for many years, there are bound to be defects every once in a while. Back in 1933, Ball made a mistake with 12 jars, setting their glass embossing upside down in error. These were very different from the upside-down jars that were produced for dispenser use.
Those 12 jars had that notable defect, and defects are seen as very valuable in the world of collectors. Today, it is extremely rare to find one of those 12 jars, especially in reasonable condition. Even if you do, you would need to pay around $1000 today to own it.
This jar was manufactured around the same time as the Chief jar, in 1886. It has a unique black color, as well as a unique style of sealing jars at the time. Rather than the usual metal lid, the fruit jar had a glass lid that locked onto the jar with an iron clamp.
It may have been produced in many colors at the time, but while these other colors are expensive, the black jar is extremely rare. It’s near impossible to find one, and if you do miraculously come across a Black Amber Magic Star, you’ll have to fork over more than $3,000.
This jar is probably the only jar worth five figures in USD today. It was invented in 1881, and like other jars on this list, it has a distinct feature on the lid. A wire was attached to the lid and connected to the bottom of the jar, which was a unique way to seal jars at the time.
The Van Vliet Improved Jar is worth a stunning $23,500. The real reason for its massive price tag isn’t just the scarcity; after all, other scarce jars cost less than five figures. The Van Vliet factory burned down just four years after the Improved jar was invented, burning many such jars. This makes the Van Vliet the rarest mason jar on earth.
Old mason jars are a nice addition to your collection, especially if you can find jars that were made in the late 19th century. However, the rarer the jar, the higher the price is going to get. Old jars in pristine condition can cost a lot of money, as high as thousands of dollars. However, some fairly new jars, made in the mid-20th century, sell for much less.