small guide on Toby jugs

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Hi I would like to start by saying how much I love collecting Toby jugs. For me walking into a charity or Antique shop and finding a toby sitting proudly on a shelf or hiding away in a box gives me such a Buzz I gess it is the hunt that i really like, Searching  for that Toby of your dreams, That Toby that will enhance your collection. How rewarding it is when you get it home and put it next to all the others.


Now some things to look for when buying Toby jugs  a Toby with a ugly warty face, a toby with a pipe in his mouth,a toby with detachable hat,(early Tobys had a hollow cap that completed the hat of the figure) a Toby with overlapping feet to the base. A Toby with decoration to the small jug he is holding, A Toby with buckled shoes,A Toby with a unpainted face.(My first ever Toby jug the snuff Taker 19th century)

Now it is down to you my friend. Trust your own judgement this is just a small guide. there are hundreds of Tobies

(Picture 1) yorkshire type toby mid 19th century

(Picture 2) hunch back Toby c1900

(Picture 3) Brown salt glace stoneware toby


(Picture 4) TIT BITS Toby c1917 commissioned by George newnes of the TIT BITS Paper estimated 100 were ever produced. worth investing in if you find one



(A TIP WHEN STARTING COLLECTING) When you first start out dont spend big money on something you dont really no much about. You coiud end up wasting your money, start small and work your way up. Always go for good condition it will pay of in the future. If a Toby is very rare or 18th century make a exception you can expect that for the age. if it is missing a handle or a arm you may waste your money. Here is a ordinary type toby he has been broken but he looks amazing in my cabnit with his stunning enamel colours . but he is no investment and he is for display only.



1 The squire 2 John bull 3 The snuff Taker 4 Cross legged Toby


john astbury (1688 1743)

Ralph wood I (1715 72)


cliff adkins


Burlington ware





plaster (poorly made)





(FEMALE TOBYIES)martha gunn

gin woman

drunken sal 

lady snuff Taker

lady with fan

Early female Tobies were not made as much as the male Toby. so if you find a early one you are on to a winner.



To me a character jug is not really a toby jug, I like to call it the little bro of the toby jug. To be a real toby jug you must have the full figure. The most common character jugs were made by beswick and royal doulton and dont fetch as much money as the toby jugs.  Here are some royal doulton chareter jugs to take a look at. The small one in the middle is  called mephistopheles, the lady is called sairey gamp, and old charley, They are all now out of production. They all have the A stamp to the base thats something to look out for thats as much as i know really on character jugs



Advertising tobies are getting very sought after, so they can only be a good investment here are some names to lookout for when you are on the hunt

1   Charrington toby jugs

2 Barkes Green lable whiskey

3 Bells whiskey

4 urn toby

here is a example of one of my advertising tobies, i will let you decide if you woiud class it as a real toby this is a skill you will need to develop as a collector.



As we get into the 20th century there seems to be less quality tobies then say the 18th and mid 19th century. Thats not to say that they are bad. they are still highly collectable. The best qualty period for the 20th century tobies was 1920`s 1930`s shorter and son made some lovely tobies and are nice to start a collection, as to burlington tobies. Here is a ordinary toby made by burlington They are common but i like him 



I do not think there is fake tobies asin trying to confuse and deceive people. There are modern replacers. Here is a reproduction of the standing man note spounge effect on socks. c1980!

 Be careful when you are looking for the squire Toby jug, they were made in burslem in the 1970s, they have confused experts and top dealers so be careful !



Luster tobies were very popular in the early 19th centery. the most common were

gold ,copper,silver, always look out for the pink luster  as it is less commen hear are a few names of the toby and the luster.

cross legged toby gold all over c1850

yorkshire ordinary silver all over (rare jug)

snuff taker silver/copper all over c1860

ordinary toby pink luster coat (rare....very rare)



you must go for the early ones when collecting this type of ware. The early ones have different tones in the glace, were as the later ones tend to have the same tone of brown.



i love looking for rare tobies. when i find one to me its like finding the holy grail. Here are some names of some very rare, and just rare un commen tobies.

Rodney jug

no base toby

drunken sal

negro slave toby

punch toby

man on barrel

open mouth toby

Here is the less common punch jug. c1840 he is not the punch from punch and judy, but the punch from the newspaper punch, sorry mine has no hand, but we all have are problems .



(Final message)

Hope you found my guide on tobies  a  help, i can only wish my love of them gives you the spark to start collecting. They are a fun thing to collect so dont let value spoil it ,They give me so much joy and i hope they do the same for you. Toby jugs have stood the test of time and will have there day to shine i am sure of that, And when they do i want to be a part of it.

Adrian (and the tobies) :)









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