No, it's not the ultimate encyclopedia.
The latest offering from Fred and Joyce Roerig is mainly a re-do of their previous books, complete with the same pictures. It was a bit disappointing. I was hoping for more and different pictures of jars from the old established companies, as well as some of new exciting pieces from companies such as Vandor and Disney -- these would have been well-received. For instance, only one new Disney jar (since the last book was published) was shown -- the Incredibles figural jar.
I've had, and still use, the first three books by the Roerigs ever since they've been published, unfortunately I just don't see myself referring to this book very often.
About the Book:
In the introduction the authors state that Collector Books asked them to do a compilation from their previous, now out of print books, along with adding some new material. This is what they've done. Without "counting pages" I would estimate the book is about 85% previously published pictures and information. The authors also chose to "mostly feature American-made jars, but did include some American-based importer/distributors."
Taking bits and pieces from Roerig's The Collector's Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars Book I and Book II makes it a bit confusing for long-time jar enthusiasts. I would have been happier getting an updated version of their previous books, especially Book I with the better photography.
One of the new, updated sections is a chapter on Omnibus, a defunct division of Fitz and Floyd. But it's quite disappointing to see even these new pictures showing white jars against a cream-colored background, with many details washed out and hard to see. This is also a problem with using many of the recycled pictures from their previous book. For instance, one in particular is the Treasure Craft trio of jars -- watering can, angel and cookie van. The identical picture is in Book II, but the quality is so poor that you have absolutely no idea what the angel looks like or any of the detail. Before including it again in this book, it should have been re-photographed or at least had the contrast tinkered with a bit. I received the angel jar a few years ago as a present and was very pleasantly surprised -- I didn't recognize it from the book picture.
It's always a controversial subject and people will disagree one way or another, but overall the prices appear fairly realistic. There were a few categories that seemed on the low side, such as the Shawnee pig jars and the prices shown for original classic Fitz and Floyd Christmas jars, but as I said you can't please everyone!
A sampling of California Original prices from the book:
- Superman in Silver Phone Booth - $600 - $650
- Big Bird with Chef Hat $70 - $90
- Scarecrows $150 - $175
- Little Red Riding Hood - $325 - $375
- The Count - $600
- Christmas Tree - $125 - $200
If you collect everything cookie jars and all cookie jar books, you'll probably want to add this to your collection. But if you are limited on space or budget -- a better bet might be searching out The Collector's Encyclopedia of Cookie Jars I, II and III on eBay or Amazon. The prices are not updated, but they are great resources for collectors.