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Glass canning jars better known as Mason Jars have been around since the mid 1800’s and are named for their inventor, John Landis Mason. Some of these old glass jars have become very sought after by collectors and some have sold recently for over $30,000.
The earliest glass jars used a sealing wax around the lip of the jar that held the tin lid in place. John Landis Mason however changed everything when he invented a version of the screw on cap in 1858. Many of the surviving jars from that period are embossed with the “Patent Nov 30th 1858 on the bottom. The earlier jars also have the words “THE GEM” embossed on one side. Jars with 1858 patent date embossed were made well into the 1900’s, which makes it difficult for collectors to determine the value of a Mason jar. Add to that, the fact that other companies later adopted the name “Mason” for their jars as well.
Regular clear or aqua colored glass Mason Jars can range in price from a couple of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars depending on what type of jar it is. Collectors look for other colors that include amber and dark shades of green. The rarer jars have turned up and in other colors including cobalt blue, amber, black and even milk glass. These colored glass jars helped preserve the food better by keeping less light from entering. The blue jar on the left recently sold on Ebay for about $104.