Royal Doulton’s toby and character jugs and mugs were made in the likeness of more than 300 subjects. Over time, the handles on jugs were molded to accentuate the character. For instance, the handle on a pirate mug is shaped like a bird; on a golfer mug, the handle is shaped like a bag of golf clubs; and on the Queen Victoria mug, the handle is her scepter. Many other English potters produced their own version of character mugs and jugs, providing endless opportunities for collecting. Look for names such as Allerton, Lancaster Sandland, Kelsboro Ware, Character Ware by Sterling, Beswick Ware, Shorter and Son, Highmount, Tony Wood, Artone, Studio Original and Burleigh Ware, as well as many Japanese knockoffs. Because the items are so plentiful, it is a buyer’s market, and great deals can be had on the Internet. A recent search on eBay for toby jugs and character mugs turned up a listing of 4,322 examples for sale, and almost all were reasonably priced. To learn more about the subject, visit www.tobyjugmuseum.com.
Julie Robinson Robards is an antiques journalist and dealer living in Upper Jay. She is the author of two published books on celluloid, an advisor to several antique price guides and a writer for AntiqueWeek Newspaper since 1995. She may be reached through her website www.celluloidforever.co.