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What is a Character Jug or a Toby Jug?

Debbie Porter

We sell many different Royal Doulton pieces at auction including character jugs and Toby jugs. Get in touch if you are looking for something in particular, or if you are looking to sell at auction.

Royal Doulton have produced character jugs since the early 1900s, where a character jug features the head and shoulders of a figure, and a Toby jug traditionally will display the entire body of a character.

Royal Doulton started to produce character jugs in the early 1900s, but production increased in the 1930s following on from the success of Charles Nokes’ Kingsware series that proved very popular.

Stoneware and earthenware character jugs have become collectable with characters from Charles Dickens characters and subjects from film and literature proving very popular including Old CharleySairey GampTony & Sam WellerPecksniffFat BoyMicawber and Buzz Fuzz. These jugs were so popular that they were produced until 1960 in 5 different sizes from large 7 inch jugs to tiny 1.5 inch vessels.

Royal Doulton Clint Eastwood and Clark Gable character jugs sold by Potteries Auctions

Lot 535 – A Royal Doulton small prototype Clint Eastwood character jug, sold for £1450, and Lot 536 – A Royal Doulton rare large Clark Gable character jug, sold for £900, as part of our Two Day Auction of Rare 20th Century British Pottery, collectors items, jewellery, & antiques on 14 March 2020.

New designers were subsequently brought in to model new collecting trends with designers and modellers such as David BiggsMax HenkWilliam HarperHarry SimeonLeslie Harradine and Robert Tabbinor. While a character jug is a model of a face and a toby jug is a study/model of a complete character, they are equally popular either way.

The market for jugs now is still huge, where collectors from around the world still compete for rare examples that come up for sale, such as prototypes or colour variations on popular designs.  Many examples like these are still very much sought after and can still sell for high prices at auction.

Royal Doulton Mephistopheles and Ring Master character jugs, sold by Potteries Auctions

Lot 495 – A Royal Doulton large size Mephistopheles character jug with verse, sold for £420, and Lot 500 – A Royal Doulton large The Ring Master character jug, sold for £70, as part of our Two Day Auction of Rare 20th Century British Pottery, collectors items, jewellery, & antiques on 14 March 2020.

Selling Royal Daulton at Auction

If you have Royal Daulton pieces you’re looking to sell, their pieces consistently perform well at auction and our staff is well-placed to provide valuations and advice on selling your items. Call 01782 638100 or to book a valuation appointment to attend one of our Tuesday valuation days. We also provide valuations via WhatsApp, simply send some clear photographs of your items via the app to 07864 667940. Additionally, we can send you links to our catalogues via WhatsApp–message the above number via the app and ask to receive our catalogues. Make sure you are subscribed to our email newsletters, too!

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