Happy Face AKA Smiley Face Cookie Jar | Vintage Collectible Spotlight

Happy Face AKA Smiley Face Cookie Jar | Vintage Collectible Spotlight

Malcolm Ross Hudson

The Happy Face Cookie Jar, often affectionately referred to as the Smiley Face Cookie Jar, is a cherished vintage collectible that continues to bring joy to homes. Released by McCoy in 1972, this whimsical piece embodies the playful spirit of the 70s and remains a favorite among pottery enthusiasts and collectors alike.

The Origins of the Happy Face Cookie Jar

McCoy is a brand of pottery renowned for its quality and creativity. The Happy Face Cookie Jar debuted in 1972, during an era that celebrated bright colors and cheerful designs. The jar features a vibrant yellow color with a wide, friendly smile, instantly evoking happiness and nostalgia.

Design and Features

The cookie jar stands approximately 11 inches tall and is adorned with the words "HAVE A HAPPY DAY" in black hand-painted lettering. It was designed to be both functional and decorative, making it a popular addition to kitchens across America. The jar was sold in its original packaging, which added to its appeal as a collectible item.

Popularity and Cultural Impact

Despite not being a rare item, the Happy Face Cookie Jar gained significant popularity. Its cheerful design resonated with the public, and it quickly became a sought-after piece for collectors of McCoy pottery.

Promotional Campaigns

To boost sales, several companies, including NAPA, used the Smiley Face Cookie Jar in promotional campaigns. These campaigns further cemented the jar's place in popular culture, featuring it alongside other smiley face merchandise like mugs and banks.

Burry's Happyniks Cookies

In 1973, Burry's Happyniks Cookies, a division of the Quaker Oats Company, offered a promotional deal where customers could purchase the cookie jar for $3.00 and a box top from their cookies. This clever marketing strategy expanded the jar's reach and solidified its status as a beloved collectible.

Collecting the Happy Face Cookie Jar

For collectors, the Happy Face Cookie Jar represents more than just a piece of pottery. It is a symbol of a bygone era, a tangible piece of 70s Americana. Collectors often seek jars in excellent condition, with original packaging and minimal wear.

Tips for Collectors

Condition: Look for jars with vibrant colors and intact lettering.
Original Packaging: Jars with their original boxes are more valuable.
Provenance: Documentation or proof of purchase can enhance the jar's value.

Caring for Your Happy Face Cookie Jar

To maintain the beauty and value of your Happy Face Cookie Jar, follow these care tips:

Cleaning: Use a soft cloth and mild detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the paint.
Storage: Display in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.
Handling: Handle with care to avoid chips and cracks.


The Happy Face Cookie Jar by McCoy is more than just a kitchen accessory; it's a piece of history that continues to spread joy. Its enduring appeal and cultural significance make it a prized collectible for enthusiasts. Whether you're a seasoned collector or new to the world of vintage pottery, the Happy Face Cookie Jar is a delightful addition to any collection.

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