how to identify mccoy pottery

How To Identify Mccoy Pottery

McCoy pottery is a beloved collectible known for its distinct style and craftsmanship. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, being able to identify authentic McCoy pottery is essential.

In this article, we will explore the history of McCoy pottery, discuss various ways to identify genuine pieces, highlight popular McCoy pottery collections, and provide tips for evaluating their value.

History of McCoy Pottery

McCoy pottery has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. The pottery was first established by Nelson McCoy and his father J. W. McCoy in 1910 in Roseville, Ohio. Initially, McCoy pottery produced functional pieces like stoneware and kitchenware. However, they gained popularity for their art pottery in the 1930s and 1940s, featuring vibrant colors and unique designs.

Identifying Authentic McCoy Pottery

To ensure you’re purchasing or collecting genuine McCoy pottery, it’s important to be aware of certain identifying factors.

McCoy Pottery Markings

One way to identify McCoy pottery is by examining the markings on the piece. Genuine McCoy pottery often bears an impressed or incised McCoy mark, which can be found on the bottom. The mark typically includes the word “McCoy” or “Nelson McCoy” along with other relevant details like the year of production.

McCoy Pottery Colors

Another characteristic of McCoy pottery is the distinctive color palette used. McCoy pottery is known for its vibrant glazes, including earth tones, pastels, and rich blues and greens. Familiarizing yourself with the different colors used by McCoy pottery can help you spot authentic pieces.

McCoy Pottery Styles

McCoy pottery encompasses various styles that evolved over the years. Some popular styles include the McCoy Floraline collection, which features sleek and modern designs, and the McCoy Cookie Jar collection, known for its whimsical and charming character. Understanding the different styles can assist you in identifying specific McCoy pottery pieces.

McCoy Pottery Patterns

McCoy pottery also includes a range of patterns that were used on different pieces. Some popular patterns include the McCoy “Butterfly” pattern, characterized by delicate butterfly motifs, and the McCoy “Pinecone” pattern, featuring textured pinecone designs. Familiarize yourself with these patterns to distinguish genuine McCoy pottery.

Popular McCoy Pottery Collections

Over the years, McCoy pottery has produced several popular collections that have become highly sought after among collectors.

McCoy Floraline Collection

The McCoy Floraline collection is known for its unique shapes and textured glazes. This collection primarily includes vases, planters, and decorative containers. Floraline pieces often feature sleek lines and a modern aesthetic, making them a favorite among collectors of mid-century modern pottery.

McCoy Cookie Jar Collection

The McCoy Cookie Jar collection is beloved for its whimsical and nostalgic designs. These cookie jars often depict various characters, animals, and everyday objects. Collecting McCoy Cookie Jars has become a popular niche in the pottery community, with rare and unusual designs fetching high prices.

Tips for Evaluating McCoy Pottery

When evaluating McCoy pottery for its value and authenticity, consider the following factors:


The condition of the pottery plays a significant role in determining its value. Look for pieces with minimal damage, such as chips, cracks, or repairs. McCoy pottery in excellent condition will be more desirable to collectors.


The rarity of a McCoy pottery piece can greatly influence its value. Limited edition or discontinued designs tend to be more sought after. Additionally, certain colors or patterns may be rarer than others, making them more valuable.


Having proper documentation for McCoy pottery, such as original labels, certificates of authenticity, or historical records, can increase its value. Documentation provides proof of the pottery’s authenticity and adds to its provenance.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. How can I tell if a McCoy pottery piece is authentic?

To identify authentic McCoy pottery, look for the McCoy markings on the bottom, familiarize yourself with the distinct colors and glazes used, and study the different styles and patterns associated with McCoy pottery.

Q2. Are all McCoy pottery pieces valuable?

The value of McCoy pottery depends on various factors, including rarity, condition, and desirability among collectors. While some pieces may hold significant value, others may be more affordable.

Q3. Can I use McCoy pottery for everyday purposes?

McCoy pottery was primarily designed as decorative and functional ware. However, due to its collectible nature, many collectors prefer to display and preserve McCoy pottery rather than using it regularly.

Van Aken Plastalina Modeling Clay - 4.5 lb, Brown

Q4. Where can I find McCoy pottery for purchase?

McCoy pottery can be found through various channels, including antique shops, online marketplaces, and specialized pottery auctions. It’s essential to ensure the authenticity and condition of the piece before making a purchase.

Q5. How can I care for McCoy pottery to preserve its condition?

To care for McCoy pottery, avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, clean it gently using mild soap and water, and handle it with care to prevent accidental damage. Displaying McCoy pottery away from direct sunlight can also help preserve its colors and glazes.


Identifying McCoy pottery requires a keen eye and knowledge of its unique characteristics. By examining markings, colors, styles, and patterns, you can confidently identify genuine McCoy pottery. Remember to consider the condition, rarity, and documentation when evaluating its value. Happy collecting!

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