Collecting Ball Mason Jars – June 15, 2011

15 Jun

The Ball brothers started manufacturing jars in 1880, however it was their expansion to include the Mason factory that makes them the household name that they are today. Clear Ball mason jars are typically used for canning, but their early predecessors can be collected for both their beauty and their value.

Valuing a Ball Mason Jar

Ball mason jars can be found in cobalt blue, green, amethyst and amber. Jars in these colors are worth more because fewer of them were produced. There are roughly 14 kinds of Ball mason jars dating from 1885 to the present, but the best way to date and price a Ball mason jar is by the way Ball is imprinted on the front of the glass. Typically the older the jar the more valuable it will be. The oldest Mason jars have the double “B” within the “M” and the double “C.” These are by far the most valuable mason jars because they are both handmade and a shoulder seal. Perhaps the most valuable Ball Mason jars are those with mistakes. They range from the missing “N” in “mason” to the entire imprint being upside down.

Buying Tips for Ball Mason Jars

  1. Collectors may seek Ball mason jars based on color because they are more valuable jars.
  2. Date the jar by looking for either hand blown bubbles or shoulder seals; theses signify the age of the jar.
  3. Do not buy Ball mason jars based on the number imprinted on the bottom of the jar. The number thirteen is highly collectible because owner’s often smashed them due to their “unluckiness.” However the number only signifies in which station the jar was made.
  4. Quart-sized jars are often the least valuable because they were made in large quantities. Collectors often appreciate the odd-sized jars.
  5. Small chips or cracks will decrease the value of the jar.
  6. Original lids will increase the value of the jar.

Displaying Ball Mason Jars

Mason Jars can be displayed to reflect a variety of personalities and styles. Often collectors can display them in kitchens by placing uncooked pasta inside or by stacking them in glass-fronted cabinets. Another neat way to display Ball mason jars is to create a shelf that allows the jars to be placed on their sides; this enables a collector to showcase the numbers on the bottom of the jar. It is important to display Ball mason jars so they do not become damaged. New clear Ball mason jars should be used for craft projects.

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3 Responses to “Collecting Ball Mason Jars – June 15, 2011”

  1. Florene Matthis October 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    I?m impressed, I must say. Really not often do I encounter a weblog that?s each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the issue is one thing that not sufficient persons are talking intelligently about. I am very completely happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something referring to this.

  2. Debbie August 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    I have a Ball mason jar its green and has the old screw on type lid it looks like a quart size, there is a oblong circle on bottom of jar it has Ball i script and says perfect mason. Was wonderin if it wud b worth anything, is in good shape no cracks or chips good condiion

    • sheetzj August 29, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

      It may be worth up to fifteen dollars or so because it is green which is a highly collectible color. I am not sure about the writing on the bottom.

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