23 June 2013

'A Holy Grail to Cookie Jar Collectors'

For this fortnight's edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price, I was surprised to find the same chess set discovered in my most recent Video Friday post, 'There's No Place Like Home'. The item, titled 'WIZARD OF OZ ~ CHESS SET~STAR JARS ~ # 2 of 300 ~ NEW ~ Salt & Pepper & COOKIE JAR', sold for US $1600 after receiving three bids from two bidders.

The description said,

Up for Auction is an EXTREMELY HARD TO FIND WIZARD OF OZ CHESS SET AND SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS. MADE BY STAR JARS. This is # 2 of 300. The hight of the pieces range from 1 1/2" to 4 1/2". The cookie jar is about 18" X 18" not sure. Did not want to take out of the inner wrappings. Only taken out of box for picture. This all is in excellent condition. Sold as is.

By coincidence, a smilar chess set was listed three times during the month of June starting at $3800. Unsold each time, its description said,

Complete sets are SUPER SUPER RARE This is a magnificent set. Truly Rare. Only 300 of these were ever made worldwide and this number is 67/300 This set is made by Star Jars no longer in existance. Very very Rarely do you see this piece, This set is in excellent condition with no chips, no hairlines, no damage at all, it includes all the characters which are actually 32 salt and pepper shakers as the chess pieces, the cookie jar itself is extremely heavy 30-40 pounds. An absolute must have for the serious Wizard Of Oz Collector, Salt & Pepper Collector or Cookie Jar Collector. This set is in excellent condition.

The seller added some information about the origin of the set.

In 1993, Peter Gemmi founded Star Jars. Gemmi came from the Fine Arts Industry, and brought a wealth of information to the fledgling company by utilizing his expertise in collectibles. Peter, knowing that the major Hollywood Studios were apt to give licenses to companies that could create and enhance their licensed characters, set forth on a mission to discover a product that would utilize his Art Gallery background. Knowing that most licenses were taken, Peter decided that no manufacturer had secured the licenses for "upscale" limited edition numbered cookie jars.

In fact, early on in 1993 before Peter had chosen a name for the company, he was quite sure that having the license to Star Wars characters from Lucas Films would be pivotal for launching the new company. With that in mind, Peter choose Star Jars in order to impress Lucas Films. Though the initial attempt to win the license from Lucas failed, eventually Star Jars was given rights to Star Wars.

Star Jars first success came via Turner Entertainment, holders of the license for the Wizard of Oz. Treasure Craft was chosen as the company to manufacture the eleven piece series, which quickly became the industry standard for excellence. In 1995, the Tin Man was the first jar to be distributed.

By an even more extraordinary coincidence, a third set sold during the month 'Best offer accepted' for an unspecified price less than US $800.

I have up for auction what I believe to be a very rare cookie jar. It is a holy grail to cookie jar collectors. I have owned this since it was new and have never seen another and we travel alot around the country. I took lots of pictures for you to get a good look. Its a really great jar. The shakers measure from 1 1/2" tall to the tallest which is 4" tall. The jar measures 16 1/2" by 16 1/2" and 3 1/2" deep. It is marked on the back as you can see, and its a low number....31 out of 300.

There are two small issues. First the Winkie shaker, the tip of the spear got broke off an hour ago when I was packing them back in after photographing. I have the tip taped to the shaker so I dont lose it, and on the inside lip of the edge is a teeny shallow chip. It is maybe the size of a pencil lead that has been sharpened. It is a very heavy jar.

So the chess board is really a cookie jar and the pieces are really salt and pepper shakers. Did I get that right?

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