Buyers hope to get hands on cookie jars

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Wanda Lorenz was fighting the urge to buy Saturday. The Jackson woman said she was window shopping at a pottery and cookie jar auction at the National Guard Armory but soon realized there were a lot of cookie jars on the auction block she did not have in her collection of about 40.

"This is too exciting. I hate to leave. I'm going to the bank," she said.

Checking the bid sheet, she knew her item would not be up for auction right away.

Auctioneer Bill Kasting began by telling bidders they'd generally follow the order of the bid sheet so people would know whether it was safe to leave for a few minutes. Four pairs of eyes were set to the task of spotting bidders and auctioning more than 400 items owned by Janet Barding and Dennis Smith of Decatur, Ill. Barding and Smith hold an auction once a year.

"Typically an auction of this nature, which has a fairly narrow appeal, brings about 50 to 60 bidders and 75 to 100 people," Kasting said.

One of the pricier items, a Shirley Corl artist jar, started out at $200. As it lowered in price, Kasting took a break from fast auctioneer talk and told bidders it was worth a lot more.

"What's the matter, you don't like artist jars?" he said.

When the price dropped to $120, he again took a break. "This is a limited edition. It's a heavy jar, folks."

The jar sold for $115.

Among trendy Looney Tunes and Warner Brothers jars were collector jars that were especially valuable. Smith said one cookie jar was worth about $1,100.

Prospective buyer Sharon Sparzynski of Jackson has about 400 cookie jars all over the house. Only one stays out on the kitchen counter. She has been collecting for 13 years since she moved here from Minnesota. Her favorite, a Coors crock jar, is the first she ever owned.

That jar, however, had a practical use. Her grandmother always kept oatmeal raisin cookies in it, Sparzynski said.

335-661, extension 133

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