Bugle Boy Blog

Royal Doulton Toby Jugs and Character Mugs

One of the best parts of owning an estate sales company is the education I receive with each sale hosted. Collectibles are part of all of our lives and reveals a bit of our personality. With each estate sale I get to learn about the history of our clients collectibles. Each week, I am introduced to collectibles I never knew existed. I have learned so much so fast. I love it! I thought it would be fun to share those learnings in hopes that you find their stories as fascinating as I do.

First up, Royal Doulton Toby Jugs and Character Mugs. My recent client had an extensive collection of Toby Jugs. I know…I had the same question. What is a Toby Jug? “Toby Jugs are sought-after estate sale collectibles, for the value they bring to homes and the high prices they fetch at auction. These quirky figurines feature happy, seated men, each with a mug of his favorite beverage. Jovial-looking Toby Jugs have been a part of English culture for generations. Although the jugs’ notable appearance gradually evolved, they retain their lively spirit and are still popular with collectors to this day.”

“Toby Jugs first made their appearance in 18th-century England. Speculation continues about the origin of the Toby Jug name. One potential source is Sir Toby Belch, a memorable character from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Or, perhaps the name sprang from a popular song of the era, “Brown Jug.” Brown Jug’s tune features a character named ‘Toby Fillpot (or Philpot)’.”

“Royal Doulton is a leading name in Toby Jug collectibles. Toby Jugs have been around since the 18th century, but it wasn’t until Royal Doulton started producing them that they became a household name.”

“During the 1920s, Character Jugs were introduced. Each new jug would feature the subject’s head and shoulders instead of a head-to-toe depiction.”

“Over the years, the Character Jug handles began to reveal more about each character’s personality. For example, the Long John Silver Jug sports a parrot handle. The Alice in Wonderland Duchess Jug shows off a flamingo handle.”

Interesting to note…”If Character Jug was unexpectedly discontinued, the remaining pieces typically have a high value. The Clark Gable Character Jug is a good example. In 1984, Royal Doulton produced 2,000 Clark Gable Character Jugs to sell in the United States. However, Gable’s estate didn’t approve the jug, so Doulton stopped production of new pieces, recalled all sold pieces, and demolished all unsold pieces. Today, there are approximately 100 remaining Clark Gable Jugs in existence. Each is valued at approximately $3,363, considerably more than other celebrities’ jugs of that era.”

It was so much fun to unwrap the clients collection and see each character mug. Customers went crazy for them at our sale. One customer purchased twenty! And I will admit, I purchased one too. Which one? William Shakespeare. I am an English major after all!


Source “Toby Jugs Value & Price Guide” by Paul Williams

Attention Collectors: Blue Ridge Pottery Available!

Join us this weekend for the Great Greenville Estate Sale featuring ... a large collection of authentic Blue Ridge Pottery. New to Blue Ridge? Check out Southern Vintage Table or Wikipedia for a beginner's lesson. Great history, quaint vintage collectable dishware - and we have a BIG colleciton available at our next estate sale in Greenville, Texas (June 18-20, 2021). See our listing at EstateSales.net. This a MUST SEE sale, not to be missed. Join us!