best home or use of old U.S. whiskey jugs or crocks

sue_bNovember 30, 2011

I am helping inlaws downsize and have these four large whiskey jugs or crocks. I believe these are from a home in North Carolina circa 1840. I have learned demand is low. I don't have a place for them and neither do my inlaws. Do you have any ideas for repurposing, donating or a place I can send these to someone who will appreciate them? This is my first post and I thank you for your advice in advance.

We are in Northern Virginia near DC.


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Option 1: set them free. Give them to Value Village or any local thrift store or used stuff store, and someone who wants them will find them. We always want to personally usher our belongings to a new home, but if you set them free they can often do a far better job than we can of finding the right new home. Craigslist free listings can be amazing that way.

Option 2: find a use. If I had the two open-mouth ones, they would be bathroom or bedroom garbage or recycling containers, or plant pots (maybe with holes drilled, or with inner pots). Or they would hold gardening tools at the back door, or my excess plastic garbage bags, or umbrellas, or something. The jugs beggar my imagination somewhat, but maybe conversion to lamps or candle-holders? Of course, if you go to option 1, someone else will find a use!

Karin L

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Stand the 2 jugs and the crock somewhere and put weeds in the jugs and a plant in the crock....don't drill a hole, first of all because it may splinter and2 ndly bedause the plant will leak on the floor....use the crock as a cache pot...put a plant in another pot inside of it.
They are charming....and go for from $20 to $50 each around here.
The sugar jar with the lid may be painted....or maybe not.
Stick it on a shelf and use it to hold the back door for sno melt....or potting soil....or clean it out well and put peanuts or dog food in it.
Lots of uses!
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 5:21PM
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I repurpose my crocks and jugs for everything. One is for kraut making. One jug I empty olive oil in and keep by the stove. One holds my flutes and whistles. One has dog food in it. One holds dried grasses. One is for wine making. One holds bulk salt.

The thing is, if any one of them really is that old, some bring major money. Did a dealer tell you the demand was low? I was going to suggest rather than just give them away, drop them off at an antique store on commission. They're off your hands and should sell eventually.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 8:14PM
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Ebay suggests there is a market, Calliope is right to suggest you check that (though many of those prices will be optimistic). Yours are particularly nice compared to that list, in my opinion. Especially the last two. I'd have trouble walking by those in a vintage store or flea market :-) whether I had a use in mind or not. If it was a dealer who suggested demand is low, s/he may have been trying to lowball you if you were looking to sell them. If you sell them on commission, then the dealer is motivated to get the highest possible price for both of you.

Karin L

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 8:52PM
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Thank you for this excellent advice. I am much more excited by them now and I'll bring them in from getting dusty in the garage. I'm glad I posted here.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 12:08PM
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Thanks for the credit of saying to check Ebay, but I don't put much stock in it ........other than perhaps a sold price and then take it with a grain of salt. Ditto some of the 'antique' sites. I was looking at one the other night, and saw an English Marmalade crock listed as nineteenth century. I just sighed. That particular crock has an exact duplicate up in my sewing room, I keep safety pins in. I know for a fact it wasn't any older than 1960s, because I ate the marmalade out of it. Likewise the 'antique' cheese crocks you get a Wisconsin version of Cheeze Whiz in. You can pick them up at Goodwill for fifty cents to a dollar and they were asking $9. LOL I have cartons of them in the basement I can't bear to throw away. But would if somebody wanted to give me $8 apiece for.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 5:26PM
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"If it looks old....ask a big price!"....that's the mantra of many dealers.
As an example...Maytag dairy has been selling a "cheese preserver"....a glass jar designed to have some water in the bottom and a wheel of cheese sit on ridges so it's in a humid atmosphere but not in the water. Been ordering them from Cambridge for more than 50 years....same thing....same mold...Current cost is $29.95. I see them routinely offered for sale in shops and on eBay for lots more! Touted al "old original"...LOL!
Also the crock jars that hold cheese spread....made for Maytag Dairy by Western Stoneware....have been for about 40 years!! May be 40 years old....but it looks jist like the new ones!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 6:48PM
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When I was a kid down on the farm, we used jugs like those to carry drinking water to the field we were working in.

Whatever you do, do not drill holes in those - it ruins any value they may have.

Larger crocks if glazed inside can be used for making kraut or pickleing.

Door stops?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 4:24AM
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Sorry, Calliope, I didn't mean to suggest that you'd recommended ebay! I meant to credit you for questioning what the OP had been told about whether demand really is low, and ebay is one way of doing that. I did spend a very enjoyable hour or two studying the crock listings and there are (a) some very nice ones that I do believe are old, and (b) some bids on items that are listed. I'll try to track whether they sell. One of them most likely will... I found one or two that I really like, so this question may end up costing me a buck or two and putting a crock in my house :-)

But I have to say that last one is nicer than your average crock. Linda, is that the one you called a sugar jar?

Karin L

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 1:25PM
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I like the two with wide mouths, the first and last pic, too. The one in the last photo has that big chip in the lid. I'll scavenge my yard and my neighbors over the weekend for big greenery and make some holiday displays out of these....maybe spray paint some branches. And if it really is a sugar crock I can start keeping sugar in it!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 4:48PM
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My mother always had one like that (chip and all!) in the pantry with sugar in it.
I wonder what happened to it?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 5:42PM
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The most sad think I can think of is an empty whisky jug!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 9:22AM
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Too bad that you don't live closer to me, or i'd take them off your hands. :) I have numerous crocks from my husbands great aunt. Some are used as planters, and a really large crock was used to hold my son's toys when he was younger. Now it sits empty in his room as a decor piece.

I have my smaller Indian head crocks on a ledge on the basement stairs.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 10:47PM
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I am the original poster and I thank you for the encouragement to keep and use them. We display the prettiest one, chip and all, on the mantle. Pharmacy bottles from the same father-in-law are on the side cabinet to the left. I am happy to have a family memory where we can see it every day.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:10PM
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I have several and have most of them up way high on the plant shelves. I have all kinds and love them all. I wouldn't use them for foodstuffs though since back in the old days they sometimes used lead-based glazes. They look nice with greenery in them just like you did, they can also hold kitchen utensils. I've seen the really big ones used to hold umbrellas, canes, etc. next to the front door. I used to have a bunch of pussy willow branches in one of the big ones, curly willow would look good, also.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 4:40PM
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omg I love them I have a bunch sitting around I have an old 1700 brick farmhouse,they and other things look great here.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 4:18PM
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The jar sitting on your mantle would make a great cookie jar. I would hold enough for a family of 10 kids.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 2:39AM
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