What Makes McCoy Pottery Special

By Dewayne Imsand

During almost all of the years from 1848 to 1985, the McCoy family owned, or invested, in a pottery. It makes no different what someone wants to collect, whether it is utilitarian stoneware, art pottery, decorative pieces, or dinnerware, there usually was a McCoy pottery in existence that produced it.

In the pottery collector’s world, the McCoy name is highly recognized, and it may be the most sought after pottery in the country. If we can use recent eBay numbers as a guide, we find that there are 33 American potteries listed. The largest number of pieces by far, that any of these potteries had up for auction was 2091, and the name of that pottery was none other than McCoy. In addition, the number of McCoy pieces listed was much greater than the number of pieces from any other Zanesville area pottery, and that makes McCoy the popular “King” of the “Pottery Capital of the World”.

A person that does not collect McCoy pottery may say – Okay, McCoy pottery is popular, but what is the attraction, why do you collect McCoy? Well, the short answer is, because we like it. Of course, that just brings another question – What do you like about it? The answers to that may be as numerous as there are collectors – there are many different reasons, and some collectors have more than one.

Here are a few of the responses people have given when asked to explain why they have picked McCoy pottery from all of the available choices.

There are recognizable, utilitarian stoneware pieces from the 1800’s that are still existent, and it is exciting to own these old pieces.

The uniqueness of the art pottery produced by the J.W. McCoy Pottery gives a pride of ownership.

The Nelson McCoy Pottery, spanning so many years from 1910 to 1985, provides a great diversity of pieces, and allows collectors to specialize in any number of categories they choose.

The cookie jars produced by Nelson McCoy are unexcelled, and they are numerous and diverse, which allows a massive and most impressive display.

The realistic designs of the pottery produced, especially by Sidney and Leslie Cope, are outstanding.

The glazes used by the pottery are vibrant, and in true colors, plus finding a color to match your home décor is easy.

Many of the McCoy pieces remind us of days gone by. We can find things we grew up seeing in our childhood homes, and in the homes of our grand parents.

“McCoy” people take pride in the camaraderie that exists among McCoy collectors. Of particular enjoyment is the ability to meet and socialize with fellow McCoy collectors in Zanesville every year during the Pottery Festival. This year marks the 20 th year we will be together.

Besides the many personal reasons why we think McCoy pottery is special, there is one common reason that all McCoy collectors have. That reason is the presence and support of Nelson and Billie McCoy. They support our organization, The McCoy Pottery Collectors’ Society, 100 percent, and they are always willing to assist whenever they can. They are always available to answer questions. It makes no difference whether the question is a simple one from a novice, or a technical one from an advanced collector, everyone can expect equal time. I have heard Nelson answer the same questions over, and over through the years for different people, and he answers them today with the same consideration for the new questioner as he had for the first one. What a pleasure.

If you have an interest in pottery, then check out McCoy, I think you will like it. It is special, and the people are too.