Discussions & News


In this section I will offer my thoughts and views on various topics and provide readers with an opportuntiy to comment - such comments may be included to create an interactive discussion. I will try not to be too wordy or academic as above all I feel that collecting ought to be fun!

April 12th 2024

My thanks to James for letting me post this lovely picture of part of his growing collection of early Toby jugs including the splendid Collier which he took delivery of this week. The picture of an 18th century tavern scene above is almost a mirror image!

Discussions & News

February 24th 2024

The V&A in South Kensington is identifying a number of "superfan" advisors to share their knowledge and experience of collecting with the museum and to promote both the concept of collecting and the wonderful collections within the V&A. One of the first areas of collecting that they have chosen is Toby jugs!

I'm delighted to be working with such a renowned museum and will endeavour to do all that I can to promote this great area of collecting - here I'm discussing some of my collection (Martha Gunn, Ralph Wood short hat and a step Toby) with Simon Spier a curator and historian at the V&A. 

Discussions & News

February 19th 2024

One of my favourite sales from 2023

I sold upwards of 100 early Toby jugs last year and many sold for in excess of £1000. Whilst all of these were enjoyable sales to collectors and friends around the world this one was particularly pleasing. This mid 19th century cross legged Toby was in my clearance section and he was acquired by a very nice lady in Wales and he sold for £65 including postage - from memory my profit was c. £10

Why was this sale so memorable? Lois, the lady in question emailed me in December to let me know that she had decided to start collecting Toby jugs and wanted this to be her first - Lois is 86!

Discussions & News

1st January 2024

A quiet evening in for us with something to eat and something to drink – a perfect way to see in the New Year!  A massive thank you to all of our friends for your support during 2023 and our wishes to you for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2024
Discussions & News

22nd December 2023

2023 has been a busy year and I've been fortunate enough to acquire many good early Toby jugs which are now in collections around the world. More recently I managed to buy several fine Toby's which will be on the website in the New Year including this lovely pearlware Unfrocked Parson from the Christies 1996 BUTE sale which has just gone off to my restorer to have his hat properly re-fixed! 

On a personal note - good afternoon Justin  (Justin assures me that he looks at my website every day!) 

Discussions & News

16th November 2023

James proudly displaying his growing collection of early Toby jugs and his latest addition which arrived this week - a rather nice early 19th century pink lustre Toby!

Once smitten it's common for new Toby jug collectors to buy every Toby jug they see (exactly what I did 20 or so years ago!) but James has been sensible and focussed on assembling a representative selection of early English Toby jugs - they look great! 
Discussions & News

2nd November 2023

With the discovery of the previously unrecorded Roman Nose Toby jug (top left) here is an updated picture of the known Roman Nose and Shield Toby jugs - how many other rare Toby jugs are out there?
Discussions & News

19th September 2023

This lovely Twyford or step Toby from the Sir Henry Sutcliffe-Smith collection sold today at Woolley and Wallis where, despite damage to hat and rear of head and his right arm having been off, he sold for a hammer price of £2800 - c. £3700 including commission etc. 

To a great extent such damage can be ignored when the Toby is rare!
Discussions & News

27th August 2023

Two very nice Toby jugs came up for sale today at Lion and Unicorn auctions in Hollywood and both achieved excellent results proving yet again that good early English Toby jugs continue to command serious prices. I have sold more early Toby jugs in the past 8 months than in any similar period over the past 20 years and of great importance is the fact that this year has welcomed many new collectors thus ensuring the future of this fascinating area of collecting.

A lovely Ralph Wood "ordinary" Toby jug sold for a hammer price of $2700 (c. $3375 including buyers premium) and appeared to be in very nice condition.  
Discussions & News

June 15th 2023

Another shipment of Toby jugs going off to collectors this week!

I'm delighted to say that a number of new customers have started collecting early Toby jugs this year - from as far afield as Argentina! I normally sell about 100 good early Toby jugs each year but have exceeded that number already in 2023 and I thank you all for your continued support. 

Whilst we collect Early Toby jugs because we simply love them it's good to see that the market is so bouyant as this can do nothing but increase the investment value of our collections.
Discussions & News

May 29th 2023

Whats in a name?

I have sold a number of these "Admiral Rodney" mugs over the years and also one for Admiral Hood. It was only when I bought one for Admiral Lord Howe at a recent auction and had an opportunity to compare them that, apart from height differences, I realised that they are identically moulded. 

Whilst I believe that the likeness is actually of Rodney the Staffordshire potters used some "licence" and felt it was perfectly acceptable to attribute them to any Admiral that was in vogue at the time!  Either way they are extremely fine mugs and complement any Toby collection very well!
Discussions & News

23rd February 2023

The collection of early English Toby jug's that came in from the far east two weeks ago have caused a lot of interest and as you can see many have  already found new homes - more to list so please keep looking!

Here are two fine and very well decorated Toby's jugs with distinctive central "acorn" pipes, base decoration and small jug foam - clearly from the same pottery / moulds and may well have been decorated by the same hand but which pottery we don't know! The one on the left is already on my website and the right hand version came in with this collection.
Discussions & News

January 19th 2023

"you win some and you lose some"

This nice sailor Toby jug with some damage and a pre sale estimate of £300 - £400 sold this week at Bellmans auctioneers for £3510 (hammer price £2700 plus commission etc) I know this because I was the underbidder! Apparently I was bidding against a "lady" in the room  

Fortunately I have a large consignment of fine early Toby jugs coming in shortly and so was not too disappointed but so good to see early Toby jugs commanding such excellent prices - I've always maintained that these good Toby's constitute great investments! 


Discussions & News

7th January 2023

Are you seeing spots before your eyes!

My thanks to a good friend for this picture of four fine Toby jugs with a rather distinctive decoration!

Whenever you put a selection of Toby jugs together that have similar characteristics they just look so good.


Discussions & News

12 December 2022

As Christmas approaches time for a more seasonal picture courtesy of Phil - not sure which I prefer a Toby or a chocolate - why am I even thinking about it

A chocolate every time!

Having said that the Ralph Wood trio do look delicious and rather tempting!

Many thanks to Phil and a big hello to Justin!
Discussions & News

Good morning Justin!

December 12th 2022

My thanks to Peter for this rather splendid "Toby clock" 

Peter's cottage is crammed with Toby jugs (fabulous collection) and Toby related ephemera but clearly not enough to satisfy his hunger for all things Toby and so he has created this rather nice timepiece - too much time on his hands?
It looks great!


Discussions & News

December 3rd 2022

Something to look forward to! 

A rather large collection of early Toby jugs in the process of being packed ready for shipment to me in the New Year - not yet sure of the exact date they will arrive but I will start listing them on the website as soon as they do.

A good variety and some great examples - so exciting!

Discussions & News

16th October 2022

Where is he now?

I bought my first Toby jug in 1999 and was smitten! As many of us did I spent the next few years buying pretty well every Toby I came across at fairs and assembled what I thought was a rather nice collection and then decided I would treat myself to a good early Toby: this nice prattware Toby, Lot 390 from the Woolley and Wallis sale on 26th February 2003.

Of course the moment I put him alongside my lovely mid 19th and early 20th century Toby's I realised what a dreadful mistake I'd made as he made them all look so mundane - they had to go! and I was faced with having to spend considerably more for a Toby in future and I'm so pleased I was - the rest is history.

Where is he now? my records start from 2004/5 and I must have sold him before then and would be curious to know where he ended up?  


Discussions & News

September 21st 2022 

A good friend in America has kindly compiled this impresive collage of Shield and Roman Nose Toby jugs - all late 18th century and he has added to the original collage created by Paul (below)  These are all rare Toby jugs and currently residng in private collections and museums around the world.
Discussions & News

June 23rd 2022
The Challenger collection of Toby jugs
This fine collection sold at Bonham’s London over three sales in December 2020, June 2021 and December 2021 achieving excellent prices across the board plus a world record price for a Toby jug of £65000 plus premiums!
The residue sold yesterday at Bonham’s and many sold at below reserve, however, it must be remembered that these were the Toby’s that had failed to sell in the previous sales largely due to poor condition and/or significant restoration - or simply because they were not good examples.
There were some exceptions and one of the best to sell was this lovely (ex BUTE)  creamware Toby (in very good original condition) with the unusual agate ware legs and also two interesting mid sized Martha Gunn Toby’s.  
Discussions & News

12th May 2022
I spent an enjoyable hour this evening reading Desmond Eyles 1953 “Good Sir Toby” and am struck by just how astute he was regarding many aspects of Toby jug collecting and much of what he says is as valid now as it was almost 70 years ago. I came across this comment by Lord Mackintosh of Halifax which I wanted to share: 
“As a collector I have had more fun with Toby Jugs than anything else: and I think that “fun” is the operative word. I believe that the Toby jug owes its universal appeal for over two centuries to the fact that it seems to sum up all that is meant by English humour. One cannot imagine any other nation having produced the Toby jug. It is one with our great English comic characters from Falstaff to Pickwick. A Toby jug has a solid, sensible, humorous ring about it. It fits into any room of any period: it is always just right. It suggests good cheer and good company and is as English as the parish church, the village inn, and cricket on the green”   
Of course Lord Mackintosh refers to the very early Toby jugs as he “wouldn’t have given a toffee” for a late Toby!
Discussions & News

19th March 2022
My thanks to John from Houston for this 1960’s picture of the author J. R. R. Tolkien in his study together with what appears to be an early Devonmoor Toby jug! As the pottery was making Toby jugs in the early 1930’s and The Hobbit was written in 1937 it would be rather nice to think that this Toby jug might have inspired him to create his imaginary "small folk" - I’m sure not but a nice thought!
Yet another person of great note who had affection for Toby jugs.
Discussions & News

1st February 2022

If you can't think of what to buy your wife (or husband) for Christmas then how about taking a picture of YOUR favourite Toby jugs and having it made into a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle for them? My friend Graham did this for his wife (who does not appreciate Toby jugs at all) and its taken a month to complete - she had indicated that next year a re-think is necessary.

Having said that what a lovely collection of Hearty Good Fellows!
Discussions & News

December 27th 2021

My Toby jug's bigger than yours! 

My thanks to Peter for this picture of his "Toby" room with a variety of great Toby's and Toby related pieces. Standing at 43" tall his "Squire" to the right of the picture must be a serious contender for the largest Toby in the world - unless you know differently!  Some great Toby's including his Peter Meanley Toby in his  image complete with tankard and "Wally" bird!

Press "more" for a close up
Discussions & News

20th December 2021
Un-restoring a fine Toby jug
It’s not uncommon to have a Toby appear (under a black light) to have major restoration when in fact the issue is minor due to restorer’s tending to over paint the surrounding area to hide the repair. In the case of this Ralph Wood shield what appeared to be major restoration hides no damage at all!
The hands looked fine but a black light indicated complete restoration. Gently tapped with a coin any restored area ought to result in a dull “ring”, however, the auction house wouldn’t allow this so I took a risk and bid for him. Once I was able to use a coin the ring was true – the same tone as other parts of the Toby.
Discussions & News

December 14th 2021

Thanks to my good friend Chris (from the south of England) for letting me show you these pictures of his fine collection of early English Toby jugs – all arranged on his dining room table as otherwise there would be too many shelves to show!
I have had the pleasure of working with Chris over many years in building this excellent and very representative range of Toby’s which include a number of rare examples and I’m happy to say that the collection continues to grow.   
Discussions & News

14th September 2021

I'm often asked by customers what do I know about the provenance of the Toby jug they are buying and whilst occasionally I can say that it sold in the 1967 Mackintosh sale or the 1996 BUTE sale etc all too often the answer is very little. Over the past 240 or so years thse Toby's will have been in many collections and had numerous owners and any records, particularly pre the days of computers, are thin on the ground!

Recently I was asked to try and find out about a Ralph Wood Shield Toby and whilst research is ongoing on this a good friend Paul managed to locate a copy of Frank Falkners "The Wood Family of Burslem" published in 1912 and we have managed to identify two who's whereabouts are known today - another Shield Toby and a Sharp face.

The Shield is a rare large hat version and when you compare this with the rather blurred picture from Falkner's book you can identify a sufficient number of identical glaze markings etc to be sure that it is in fact the same Toby now in a fine English collection - press "more" to see the sharp face.............  

Discussions & News

9th August 2021 

Following on from my earlier comment (below) regarding the other website listing the auction hammer price as a “sale result”

A fine pair of short hat Ralph Wood Toby jugs decorated in pale translucent glazes.

Their “sale result”                 What I actually paid
Blue coat         £1000              £1220 (i.e. hammer + 22%)
Yellow coat     £  650               £  897 (i.e. hammer + 38%)

Additional auction charges on top of the hammer price are a fact of life and ought to be taken into account when buying - or publishing a sale result!    

I rarely comment on other websites, however, in this instance my concern is that new collectors might happen upon this website and be persuaded that early Toby jugs are not worth collecting – that would be so very wrong  Please read on (press more)
Discussions & News

22nd July 2021
A rare and beautifully decorated Prattware Boy on a Barrel Toby jug c.1800 which I acquired for my collection in the Bonham’s December 2020 sale of the Timmey Challenger collection – the hammer price was £6000, however, with premium plus vat and 5% import charge (a total of 38%) I actually paid £8280 - and was very happy to do so as this is a fabulous Toby jug!
I mention the difference between the hammer price and the actual price paid to address the fact that another website (that frequently comments on recent sales of early Toby jugs) chooses to only publish as the sale “result” the hammer price.
A second Boy on a Barrel Toby sold in June and this other website published the sale “result” as £4800 which was indeed the hammer price, however, with the additional charges the buyer will have actually paid about £6600! Good early Toby jugs are fetching excellent prices and hopefully they will in future publish results which are inclusive of these additional charges rather than simply the hammer price.
Discussions & News

19th April 2021

Toby jugs feature in the Sunday papers!

An interesting article by Toby Walne in yesterday's Mail on Sunday discussing the high prices recently achieved at auction for Toby jugs and suggesting that rare Toby jugs might be regarded as good investments. 

I'm less familiar with how prices for 20th century Toby or character jugs have fared, however, I do know that over the past 20 or so years prices have steadily risen for good early Toby jugs and this continues.
Discussions & News

13th April 2021

An extract from a catalogue for a sale held at Sotheby's in London on 21st May 1948 showing a rather fine Ralph Wood Roman Nose Shield Toby jug which it appears sold for £360 - it was the property of T Hughes Esquire. One of the Holy Grail's of Toby collecting and had I not been in a pram at the time I would have bid for him!

Below another extract from an even earlier catalogue showing another Shield Toby and we are in the process of trying to establish whether or not either of these have been previously recorded.
Discussions & News

January 10th 2021

My thanks to a good friend for allowing me to post this picture displaying just a small part of what is an important collection - the newly acquired Hollins Toby looking very much at home already alongside a Postillion and a Coachman.

On the lower shelf a fine Squire and yellow coated Toby sit each side of a Ralph Wood raised glass Toby with the extremely rare impressed mark "Ra. Wood Burslem 51"

Discussions & News

December 30th 2020

My thanks to Phil from Dover for this really nice picture of a montage of Ralph Wood Toby jugs and other figures with seasonal adornments - as a professional photographer Phil puts my pictures to shame!
Discussions & News

23rd December 2020

Having just listed a rather nice Thin Boy Toby for sale on the website my good friend Paul has kindly put together this montage of six of these rare Toby jugs - we are not sure of exactly how many Thin Boy Tobys 's exist but we think probably 15 - 20. This picture displays well the variety of decoration.

It's always easier to sell than to buy good early Toby jugs which is why I am always eager to learn of any for sale - typically I wait for months to identify a good piece and then I've managed to buy 25 over the past two weeks! I have already listed some of these and others will be listed over the next week and in early January.

Discussions & News

28th October 2020

This fine Ralph Wood Lord Howe Toby jug c.1780 sold today at the Diss Auction Rooms of T W Gaze auctioneers for a little over £5500 including premiums. Clearly early Toby jugs continue to command high prices which is good news for all collectors!

Condition was good with no restoration and just a few firing lines and the expected nibbling of the manganese on the hat rim.- a lovely Toby jug.
Discussions & News

October 4th 2020

Original Toby jugs by Trevor Perks

When Trevor’s daughter Sheryl mentioned that her father had made some Toby jugs depicting the rarer moulds I expected these to be nice but naïve, however, when I received pictures I was really impressed as these have great merit. Clearly Trevor has not attempted to create exact copies but has simply made a Toby that is representative of a Thin Man or Squire etc and they are really good!
My thanks to Sheryl and to Trevor for allowing me to show these pictures and I’m sure that you will enjoy seeing them and agree that he has done justice to the original – I particularly like the Tipsy Man and Prince Hal! 

Discussions & News

24th August 2020
My thanks to Phil for this topical, politically correct and amusing pictures of two rather nice snuff taker Toby’s observing the need to wear masks – now all we need to do is get everyone else to follow suit!  
Discussions & News

18th August 2020

My thanks to my good friend Milt for this picture of his loft sent a few days ago. We have been working together for several years building up what is now an exceptional collection of Toby jugs - little did I know that Milt had kept all of the boxes that I had used to deliver Toby's to him!

Discussions & News

22nd July 2020

This excellent Martha Gunn Toby jug sold today at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood auctioneers for a hammer price of £4700 which, with premiums, came to a little under £6000. In lovely unrestored condition and with her original cap or crown she will now join a fine collection of early English pottery (including a number of Toby jugs) in the south west of England.

Good early English Toby jugs continue to command high prices which of course is great news for all collectors!
Discussions & News

July 14th 2020

Two lovely girls - Giuliana and Martha!

Giuliana proudly holding her grandfathers Martha Gunn Toby jug that arrived this week adding to what is fast becoming a very fine collection of early Toby jugs. 
Discussions & News

15th June 2020

We so often disparage treacle glazed Toby jugs, however, when you see a group like this you just have to think again as they can look so good! My thanks to Phil for this picture showing from left to right:

Ordinary Toby, Gin woman, Mr Punch, rare Rodney mug, Brampton style teapot Toby, Nightwatchman and Martha Gunn - all c1830-40 and very good examples in fine condition - perhaps every collection ought to have at least one treacle glaze Toby as they are very much a part of the history of early Toby's?
Discussions & News

31st May 2020

My thanks to Phil for this great picture of the four Toby's that I sent him this week - as you can see Phil has gone for a colour combination on these with an emphasis on green with a creamware body - the early Ralph Wood on the right has beautifully naiave decoration and the sailor is splendid

The second picture shows how well they display from behind and the two on the right have been particularly well decorated - strong case for putting a mirror back in the display cabinet to show more of the Toby!¬

Discussions & News

May 21st 2020

My thanks to Susan for sharing this picture of her fabulous collection of mid 18th century Whieldon pottery including her recently received cow creamer with stopper.

The cornucopia on the bottom shelf are lovely as is the fox and swan sauceboat and the Bacchus jugs look so good. My favourite is the lion on the second shelf up!
Discussions & News

May 15th 2020

My thank to Phil for this excellent photograph showing some of his Ralph Wood Toby jugs (two of which were delivered this week!) - they look so good together and the addition of the Ralph Wood Bacchus and Pan jug sets them of well.

Discussions & News

19th April 2020
Many thanks to Justin for sharing these pictures of part of his collection showing some rather special Toby jugs!

From left to right:
A lovely creamware step Toby, nicely decorated Toby with striped breeches, pale green coated Ralph Wood, beautiful creamware with sponged decoration and an interesting “in the white” Yorkshire  Toby.
Discussions & News

18th April 2020

Many thanks to my good friend Graham for this excellent picture of his small Toby jugs - sad to say I know that he actually has more of these! Once again showing just how good a selection of similar Toby's look together - I can see at least four Ralph Woods along with Portobello's and numerous others in a great variety of colours including some rare moulds - enough to brighten up anyone's day!  
Discussions & News

April 6th 2020

My thanks to Paul for this picture of 4 fine prattware Toby jugs c.1780 all of which display very similar characteristics - strap handle with acanthus leaf decoration, same shaped small jug, central stubby pipe, curved base corners and of course overall decoration - reasonable to assume that they came from the same mould and pottery but of course it's so frustrating that we have no idea which pottery!   
Discussions & News

26th March 2020

My thanks to Graham for this great picture of his family of Hearty Good Fellow's - such a lovely variety of cololurs and sizes and again showing how well a selection of similar Toby jugs can look so good together.

Graham is looking for a Lakin & Poole example so if anyone knows of one for sale please let me know  

Please take care and keep safe
Discussions & News

February 10th 2020

I have just taken delivery of this fascinating originall press photograph taken on 8th February 1958 in the "Toby jug" room at Thickthorn Hall showing Lord and Lady Mackintosh admiring a particular Toby jug and surrounded by part of his fabulous collection, the majority of which eventually sold at Sotheby's in May, 1967. Read on...........
Discussions & News

January 30th 2020

If you scroll down this page you will find details of this fascinating Toby jug created by Frank Stoner for Mr F. S. Hooker (an avid Toby collector) in c.1920 and now residing in The American Toby Jug Museum in Evanston, Chicago

The museum, established by the late Steve Mullins, houses the worlds largest collection of Toby and character jugs and admission is free. Within this fabulous collection are cabinets filled with many wonderful and rare 18th century Toby jugs - if you are a Toby collector then a visit to this museum is a must!  
Discussions & News

17th December 2019
My thanks to Brinley Hawkins for this picture which was taken over 20 years ago showing the late Vic Schuler with Brin’s Shield Toby – I can remember seeing Vic at Portobello Road in his tricorn hat long before I started collecting Toby jugs – little did I know how much an influence Vic would eventually become in my life!
There are many books on early English pottery which include Toby jugs but none better than Vic’s 1999 “Collecting British Toby jugs” which, whilst a modest book, is still regarded as the most comprehensive book on this subject and an excellent reference book.  
Discussions & News

10th December 2019

My thanks to Stuart Slavid - Skinner Auctioneers of Boston - for this picture of an interesting 19th century basalt Toby jug - the only Toby jug we have come across in black basalt! He may not be the most attractive Toby (ok you would'nt let your daughter marry him!) but he is extremely interesting with some nice detailing particularly on his cuff's  

Discussions & News

December 5th 2019

My thanks to Steve for this picture of part of his collection of "Ordinary" Toby's which look stunning - such a variety and they look really good at this angle.

Steve has a preference for the traditional Ordinary Toby (as do some other collectors) whilst I and many other collectors like to assemble a range of different moulds - but who can blame him when they look this good together!  
Discussions & News

19th September 2019

The sale of the Warner collection of British delftware at Woolley and Wallis auctioneers in Salisbury on Tuesday 17th September was a great success with many Lots selling at well beyond the high estimate including this interesting c1770 delft Toby jug which made in excess of £1000 including premiums.

I have an almost identically moulded delft Toby and whilst I have always considered him to be Dutch this one was catalogued as "Bought in 1967 as Lambeth delftware" Despite the nibbling around the hat rim this was a lovely, well decorated and very early Toby jug.  
Discussions & News

2nd September 2019

A great piece of detective work by my good friend Paul in finding a picture of a marked HAWLEY Toby that sold at Sotheby’s in 2005 and realising that it was identical to a Toby jug that I had on the website (in the archive section)

Having examined both together it is clear that mine is also HAWLEY and as you can see from this picture the decoration (as well as the general moulding) is in fact the same. I’m embarrassed to have missed another feature on this Toby - press MORE
Discussions & News

25th July 2019
Lot 90 at this mornings sale at Gardiner Houlgate auctioneers in Bath included this attractive Thin Man Toby jug – the estimate was £50-80 (allowing for significant but restorable damage to hat, right arm and base) and he fetched a hammer price of £2200 – with premiums a little over £2700!
There is no question that demand for early English Toby jugs, particularly the rarer examples, goes from strength to strength.
Discussions & News

18th July 2019
Many thanks to my friends at Antiquemsk in Moscow (who can be found on Instagram) for allowing me to use this picture of a fabulous Toby jug made at the Imperial Factory in Vienna – the first Austrian Toby that I have come across!
The decoration is absolutely lovely and whilst very similar to the English Toby’s he is clearly continental – available at Antiquemsk.  I have additional pictures so please contact me if you would like me to send them to you.
Discussions & News

1st July 2019

Thanks to my good friend Milt for this picture of his recently delivered Ralph Wood 51 mould Toby jug from the BUTE collection (on the left) togther with another ex BUTE collection Toby purchased from me a little while ago.

They look so good together and seem happy to be reunited after almost exactly 23 years - the BUTE sale at Christies in London took place on July 3rd 1996!

Putting a range of similar Toby jugs together can be very effective.
Discussions & News

June 5th 2019
This wonderful creamware Squire Toby jug sold today at Bonham’s for over £11000 including premiums – a probable record for a Squire and well deserved as it was a fine piece – congratulations to the buyer!
I sold this Squire some years ago to the owner of the collection (sold by Bonham’s over two sales November 2108 and June 2019) and it is clear that this purchase proved to be an excellent investment for him.
Fine and / or rare Toby jugs continue to command serious prices and, as I’ve said on many occasions, can prove to be valuable investments.
Discussions & News

Stephen Mullins
July 30th 1932 – June 2nd 2019
It was with great sadness that I learnt that Steve Mullins passed away on Sunday after a long illness and, as one would expect of this man, a brave fight
Steve was a Real Estate entrepreneur, a US Masters swimming champion and of course founder of the American Toby Jug Museum in Evanston, Chicago and having known Steve for some 15 years, a man who has done more for the Toby collecting community than anyone else I know.
I had the pleasure of visiting Steve’s museum a few years ago and it is indeed a wonderful collection and, typical of Steve, open free of charge to the public. He will be greatly missed.   
Discussions & News

9th May 2019

My thanks to Peter for this excellent picture of what he considers the secondary part of his collection - clearly the first part contains some fabulous Toby's!

Centre stage is the massive Devonmoor Toby above which are two excellent Peter Meanley jugs and I can also see a rare Measham bargeware female Toby top right and a myriad of other Toby's in all manner of styles and materials along with pictures, teapots and various Toby related items - looks stunning.  
Discussions & News

24th April 2019

While searching for details on a Toby jug for a collector I came across this wonderful late 19th century Martin Brothers Toby jug residing in the British Museum. It is only the second Martin Brothers Toby I have seen and the other is mentioned further down this page and he lives at Cannon Hall house near Barnsley! Does anyone know of any more?

Discussions & News

April 12th 2019

My thanks to Bruce from Connecticut for sharing this picture of his newly delivered posset pot and lid c1760 sitting alongside a very nice late 16th century lobed dish. One of the largest posset pots I've had and looking very grand!
Discussions & News

10th April 2019

My thanks to Phil for this picture of his Hollin's Toby which at 12" tall is probably the largest of the early English "ordinary" Toby's. Well decorated and moulded and Phil may eventuially be persuaded to part with him! - please let me know if he might be of interest to you.  
Discussions & News

February 25th 2019

Some collectors wish to have a large range of early Toby jugs reflecting the wide variety of moulds, colours and sizes available and others simply wish to focus on a particular type of Toby or limit their collection to a more manageable number, however, if you are able to include a selection of one type of Toby they can look outstanding together.

My thanks to Steve Mullins who owns The American Toby Jug museum in Evanston (near Chicago) for this picture of a line of Martha Gunn's and you can see how good they look together as do the Hearty Good Fellow's below!   

Discussions & News

A selection of early Hearty Good Fellow Toby jugs looking splendid together and displaying the range of colour and height variations available - all c1790-1820. The museum has an excellent range of early English Toby jugs (including several more Hearty Good Fellows!) and is a must visit when in Chicago.

Discussions & News

12th February 2019

My thanks to Peter for this picture of his Reading Toby which arrived this morning and is now on display - "sitting" tall next to a fine Ralph Wood shield and a good green coated Ralph Wood with pipe.

These Portuguese Toby jugs really do look good and sit well alongside their English cousin's and I'm now looking for more to go alongside this one!

Discussions & News

February 8th 2019

A Thin Man came up at Bonham's several years ago together with his original cap and whilst the Toby himself was nice but not extraordinary, with his hat on he was transformed into something rather  special!

I had my restorer make up three of these caps (slightly shorter than the original) - two for 2 of my Thin Men and one for this fellow and of great importance is the fact that I have marked (permanently) the inside of each cap or cup  "COPY OF CAP" so that no one can suggest at any future stage that this is an original.    

My views on restoration etc are quite clear and set out in an earlier article which can be found towards the bottom of this page. This is a bit of harmless fun but he does look great!
Discussions & News

February 8th 2019

Detail from a letter to Wilkinsons from Francis Carruthers Gould dated 14th April 1917.

A long debate as the whether the Field Marshal Haig Toby ought to have a ceremonial uniform (expresses concern on the practicality of a cocked hat with plume) or a field uniform and submits two coloured sketches for the field uniform – neither of which allow for the eventual “tank” base which he suggests “would be difficult to mould” "and the tanks were no more prominent than the aeroplanes” – a wonderful insight into the perception of warfare at that time.
Discussions & News

The letter also discussed the question of whether Beatty ought to have a torpedo and Carruthers Gould says “no torpedo could be appropriately introduced” arguing that at the battle of Jutland Beatty was concerned with the battleships and that the big guns were more pertinent than torpedo’s in relation to these dreadnoughts.

A side profile sketch of Botha with his suggested military insignia alongside a small pencil sketch of Lloyd George.
Discussions & News

An informal pencil sketch of Jellicoe with the Union Jack at the side of his chair and a more formal cutout drawing of Jellicoe with white highlights and the Royal Ensign on the side of his chair.

Clearly Carruthers Gould did not get his way with a number of issues discussed, however, he did create a fabulous set of Toby jugs!
Discussions & News

January 27th 2019

An excellent picture kindly assembled by a good friend and collector showing probably the largest range of Roman Nose Toby Jugs ever seen together and including several Roman Nose Shield Toby's - all very rare pieces and a number of which I have had the pleasure of owning at various times. 

If any of you know of further examples of Roman Nose Toby's I would love to hear from you and if you have pictures they would be greatly appreciated.  
Discussions & News

January 25th 2019

My thanks to Graham for this picture of an interesting Yorkshire Toby and if you scroll down you will find a picture of him without pipe. He had the stub of what had to be a pipe stem in his mouth and Graham has created a small pipe which is completely appropriate for the period - looks very good!
Discussions & News

January 11th 2019
The cabinet’s housing the early English Toby jugs at the American Toby Jug museum in Evanston, Chicago have recently been updated to accommodate some stunning new acquisitions and as you can see there are some extremely rare examples such as the large Rodney, drummer and Tipsy Man.
Also visible are two fine Sharp Faces, Ralph Wood shield, Step Toby and a Lord Hal.  The green coated midshipmite Toby was acquired from the Bute Collection when this sold at Christie’s in 1996.
Discussions & News

The “No Base” Toby (far right) is probably unique as has been fixed on to a small keg to act as a liquor dispenser – when I bought this I conferred with two very knowledgeable collectors to determine whether or not the keg was contemporary to the Toby (c1780)

For several reasons, but largely due to the fact that the glaze crazing on the keg base runs uniformly onto the lower part of the Toby, it was agreed that they were in fact fired as one. It was not uncommon for early Continental Toby jugs to be made to dispense liquor and so not a unique concept, however, the only English example that I’ve seen.
Discussions & News

18th December 2018

My thanks to Eugene from Russia for this picture of the Cakes and Ale Toby - absolutely fabulous!

As this is so similar to the Portuguese female Toby (pictured below) Eugene wondered whether there  might also be a  Portuguese version of the Cakes and Ale Toby? 

The Portuguese certainly made many fine Toby jugs to emulate the English versions as well as their own designs but I have not come across a Cakes and Ale Toby - if anyone has please let me know
Discussions & News

17th December 2018

My thanks to Bill from Pennsylvania for this delightful picture of his “Christmas Putz Village” complete with six rather angelic looking Toby jugs!

The Putz villages are traditional Christmas decorations from the Moravian communities along the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania
Discussions & News

December 15th 2018

This lovely late 18th century female Toby jug sold at Marques Dos Santos auctioneers in Portugal this week for 2400 Euro's once again showing how well regarded these Portuguese Toby's are and, whilst many are good copies of the English Toby's, this was a strictly Portuguese design and unlike any English counterpart.
Discussions & News

29th November 2018

The Lord Howe Toby jug was produced with a number of subtle differences one of which is the length of his hair and as this picture shows there are long, medium and short haired versions - my thanks to Iain for the loan of the pink coated Howe to display the long haired example and the two Ralph Wood versions are available on the website.

Note also that the Howe in the centre has a longer frock coat - this can be seen clearly where the coat drapes over the barrel.
Discussions & News

29th November 2018

My thanks to Graham for this picture of two very similar and very interesting Yorkshire Toby’s which I would say were c1820. The bottle and goblet Toby on the left is similar to the Portuguese copy of the original Yorkshire and the Portuguese potters made these with books, gourds, bottles and wineskins but the colouring certainly suggests that this is English.

The Toby on the right, presumably from the same pottery, obviously had a pipe as the stub is clearly visible on the right side of his mouth, however, impossible to say what shape this would have been – no mark on arm or hand where this might have rested and therefore perhaps straight out but less likely as it would have been so vulnerable but perhaps this is why it’s missing!
Discussions & News

14th November 2018

I managed to buy these fabulous Rodney and Drummer Toby jugs at Bonham’s today along with a Thin Boy – sadly on behalf of an American museum rather than for my own collection! However, I did manage to buy a particularly fine Ralph Wood Lord Howe which will go on the website soon along with some other recent acquisitions.
Discussions & News

Both Rodney and the Drummer (along with the Tailor Toby which sold to a good friend at the same sale) are from the 18th century Midshipman family of Toby jugs. All achieved very respectable prices with Rodney and the Tailor in excess of £20,000 and the Drummer over £14000.  
The Tailor is an excellent and rare Toby jug and in 2009 this example sold for c£36000, however, I believe that that record price was largely as a result of two wealthy collectors bidding against each other rather than a reflection of the true value of the Toby. Today’s price is more realistic but still a very significant price.
Discussions & News

10th November 2018

Sold at today’s Jeffrey S Evans auction in Mt Crawford, USA this lovely step Toby with excellent glaze achieved $2808 proving yet again that good early Toby jugs continue to sell extremely well.

This Toby jug along with a wide range of good early Staffordshire pottery had been deaccessioned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to benefit the collection acquisitions fund. I managed to buy several fine pieces which ought to be on the website in early December.
Discussions & News

November 6th 2018

I've spent the past 5 years looking for an antique glass dome which needed to be unusually large to house an 18th century (and fragile) leather Toby jug and I finally came across one at auction – really pleased until I realised it was 1cm too short and it’s now accommodating this lovely Portuguese reading Toby…………..
Discussions & News

………who is clearly very pleased with his new home!
Discussions & News

October 4th 2018
A fine looking quartet!
My thanks to Milt for this picture of 4 “large hat“ Toby jugs in a row looking absolutely splendid – the similarity in decoration might suggest that these are from the same pottery but of course we can’t be sure.
The “Large Hat” Toby is a particular favourite of mine and can be recognised not only by the slightly larger than normal hat but also by the narrow forward sloping base and generous strap handle – more pictures of these four can be found in my archive pages along with hundreds of other early Toby jugs.
A line of similar Toby jugs in varying decoration can look striking as they complement each other so well.
If you have a group of Toby’s (whether a line of similar Toby’s or a selection) that you would like me to feature please send a picture and details – there is a “click here” feature on my Home Page to enable you to do this and I, along with other collectors, will greatly appreciate seeing them!
Discussions & News

5th September 2018

Looking very much like a Ralph Wood raised glass 51 mould this attractive Toby jug, despite his head having been off, made a very respectable £900 plus premiums today at Burstow & Hewitt auctioneers. 
The auctioneer’s did not suggest that this Toby was by any particular pottery.

I have had two similar Toby jug’s and whilst they do appear very much like Ralph Wood’s there are a number of differences and, having discussed these with other collectors, the consensus is that they are probably not Ralph Wood. If you go to page 4 of my Toby jug listings you will find an example 1/7027 - same mould but different decoration. 

Either way a most attractive Toby jug.
Discussions & News

4th August 2018

I had not been aware that Toby jugs had been made in Sweden until I came across this lovely Toby jug produced by Rorstrand c1800 which came up for sale at Bukowskis auctioneers some time ago. Clearly influenced by the English Toby's but possessing subtle differences in moulding and colouring.

If anyone out there know's of one for sale..............
Discussions & News

11th July 2018
Early Toby jug prices SOAR!
I frequently suggest that collecting good early Toby jugs may possibly constitute a most enjoyable form of investing! If you take a look online at the results of today’s sale at Bonham’s you will see that this may well be the case as over 40 good Toby jugs were sold with most achieving extremely high prices including quite a few records.
Of course we collect for the sheer pleasure we get but it's nice to know that our collections may well be earing us a nice return!
Discussions & News

27th May 2018
These are very distinctive Toby jugs and if you look at the additional pictures of each in my archive section you will see that they both lean to the left having a noticeably angled rear base and a number of other features confirming that, whilst on one his right arm has been placed lower necessitating a longer pipe, they are almost certainly from the same mould.
Rare and early Toby’s and I know of only three others – my thanks to Milt for this lovely picture and so good to see them together after almost 240 years!   
Discussions & News

21st May 2018

This excellent example of the Clarice Cliff Churchill Toby jug sold yesterday on Ebay for £2015.

Produced in 1941 to form part of the earlier (c1917) Wilkinson's set of Toby jugs depicting 1st World War military and political leaders which were designed by Carruthers Gould - these are fine Toby jugs and many collectors of early English Toby jugs also collect these as the quality is exceptional.     

Discussions & News

March 27th 2019

This very well decorated Pratt Ware Toby jug sold this morning at Gildings auctioneers for c. £1700. In good original condition with just a chip to his hat he is a fine example and yet again proves that good early Toby jugs continue to achieve excellent prices which is great news for all collectors. 

Whilst I will often put details on my website of a Toby that has recently sold at auction I will never put details of a Toby that is coming up for sale – I consider this bad practice - plus I may well be bidding and want that bargain!
Seriously, if an antique dealer's website does announce the forthcoming sale of a Toby jug at auction this simply spoils the fun for everyone as we all want to find that “sleeper” that no-one else has spotted.
Discussions & News

March 4th 2018

I will shortly be listing this interesting Ralph Wood “ordinary” Toby jug – Lot 78 from the 1996 sale at Christie’s in London of the Marquess of Bute collection.

There is an old handwritten label to the base reading “4.4.12 Ralph Wood nice quality & colours marked “W” very rare” We know that this collection was almost complete by 1912 and so it is possible that this note was either written by the ceramic scholar William Burton who assisted the Marquess in cataloguing the collection in 1912 or perhaps by the Marquess of Bute himself?

The underglazed W is clear and by hand and therefore inscribed before the final firing – presumably denoting Wood? Click the image to enlarge

Discussions & News

February 24th 2018

Without doubt this is a fine example of the Ralph Wood Planter Toby jug and my friend Alfredo informs me that he paid another dealer £5200 for this several years ago and he cannot recall them mentioning any restoration – he was of the opinion that it was in excellent original condition.

Upon inspection it was clear that his hat had been broken into six pieces, re-fixed, and painted or sprayed over - whilst the hat is original (no filler) and looks perfect it is of course restored and this affects the Toby’s value. Underneath is the label from the dealers in question with details of the Toby jug but no mention of restoration.

Restoration can be difficult to spot and even reputable dealers are not infallible - I can recall four occasions over the past 15 years where I’ve failed to see an area of restoration and in each case I’ve offered a complete refund or an agreed reduction thus ensuring that my customer was happy. It’s important that, in addition to receiving a written and detailed condition report, you also check the piece when it arrives and if you have any concerns contact the dealer straight away – any reputable dealer will address your concerns and deal with them in an appropriate manner and to your satisfaction
Discussions & News

21st February 2018
Many thanks to my good friend Milt for allowing me to publish pictures of part of what is an exceptional collection of early Toby jugs which I know many collectors will appreciate. A wonderful selection including many rare examples and the line of Ralph Wood’s look spectacular as do the three large hat Toby’s in the top right corner! This shows how a line of similar Toby’s in varying colours sit so well together.
Discussions & News

Again, some excellent examples including two lovely miniatures, a really well coloured Postillion (bottom left) and an equally well decorated Long Face in Prattware colours second from the right on the top shelf. Many of these can be found on my archive pages with additional photographs – great collection!
Discussions & News

21st February 2018
This wonderful Fiddler Toby jug sold this afternoon at Martin and Pole auctioneers in Wokingham for a hammer price of £8000 plus premiums – an unrecorded example from this rare group of Toby jugs in very good original condition – an exciting find!
Discussions & News

January 26th 2018

This attractive early 19th century pearlware Lord Howe Toby jug sold today at T.W.Gaze auctioneers - estimated at £80 - £120 it achieved a price of just over £2300 including premiums! Clearly good early Toby jugs continue to fetch excellent prices within what is a very strong collecting community.
Discussions & News

January 6th 2018
I have to thank Steve for noticing the similarities between these two excellent Toby jugs. He bought the Toby with the blue spotted coat from me several months ago and came over to collect the Toby with yellow spots a few weeks ago – fortunately he bought the blue spotted version along with him thus allowing these pictures.
Discussions & News

In addition to the similar decoration they both have an identical moulded flat head of foam on the small jug and a very distinctive pipe bowl. Upon close examination the moulding is identical on both and this allows us to conclude that they are almost certainly from the same pottery, probably the same mould and it’s quite possible that they were decorated by the same hand – a very fine matched pair!
Discussions & News

1st January 2018

 A big Thank You to all of our friends and customers for your support during 2017 and wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!
Discussions & News

21st December 2017

This lovely Portuguese version of the Martha Gunn Toby jug sold at the Marques Dos Santos auction in Porto on Tuesday for a little over 1800 Euro's - sadly not to me!.

Initially I thought that this was a flask rather than a Toby jug but she did in fact have a handle and was in lovely original condition c.1800 - my thanks to Sergio for this picture. 

Discussions & News

December 19th 2017

Good friends Peter and Sara came to the house yesterday to collect some Toby jugs and Peter gave me a surprise Christmas present of this lovely pottery plaque. Forget socks and aftershave - what more could a man want for Xmas!
Discussions & News

15th November 2017

Ralph Wood eat your heart out!

It was my 70th birthday last week and my daughter Zoe arranged for this incredible cake to be made - it's supposed to bear a slight resemblance to me but all I can see is a cross between Popeye and Bluto!
Discussions & News

July 17th 2017

Lot 49 The Mackintosh sale 1967

I have just acquired this unusual green coated Ralph Wood sharp face Toby jug – Lot 49 from the 1967 Mackintosh sale held at Sotheby’s in London. I’ve had several blue coated sharp faces over the years but this is the first in this rich olive green – the old hat repair has deteriorated over the past 50 years and I will have my restorer tidy this up but the missing stem of his central pipe will remain “lost” as that is how he is seen in the catalogue. A dealer’s mark on the under base in pencil ”reserved for Sir Harold”
Discussions & News

July 17th 2017
Peter Meanley’s    “Sara Toby jug”
The latest recipient of a Peter Meanley Toby jug is Sara who came over to take delivery last week and needless to say she’s delighted. Each Toby is personalised to incorporate the features that you want – in my case (see further down the page) one of my dogs, a favourite Toby jug and a trout fly. Sara’s academic interest in witchcraft is reflected in the owl, broomstick and hat!   
Discussions & News


If you are interested in having Peter create a “you” Toby then contact me and I will put you in touch with him - you will deal directly with Peter and I have no interest whatsoever beyond this introduction. Peter is a friend and, as he lives in Ireland, we often arrange for him to meet people here in Surrey to discuss particular requirements and take pictures etc. The entire process can take several months as Peter only fires two kiln’s each year.
Discussions & News

17th June 2017

Does anyone want to buy a part dinner service or a pair of figurines?

Looking a bit lost amongst the dinner service and continental figures is this rather nice step Toby – the Lot sold today at a very good auction house in the North West of England and of course to win the Toby you also had to win the rest of the Lot!

It is not uncommon for an auction house to include a good piece in a lot containing lesser pieces as this does ensure the sale of the lesser pieces. As you can see from the picture below he was well worth winning!
Discussions & News

Very early and generally in good original condition he dates to c.1780. The glaze is excellent, he has his original pipe and the “smudge” by his left foot is probably the remains of a dog as you can see the paws overlapping the base. Sadly he was spotted by others and so went for a higher than expected price but well worth it - now does anyone want a part dinner service!
Discussions & News

12th June 2017

From an excellent collection located in the South

My thanks to the owner of these three wonderful Toby jugs which form part of a much larger collection amassed over many decades – one of the finest collections I know of.

The decoration of the jug on the left is beautiful but the handle is probably one of the most exotic I have seen with a lovely Buddha perched atop!

In the centre an excellent Ralph Wood “ordinary” Toby made extraordinary by the depth of the green on his coat – I cannot recall seeing a richer green on a Ralph Wood.

To the right a good example of the Ralph Wood hooked nose Toby retaining most of his original gilding – this is so easily rubbed that it’s little short of a miracle to find this much remaining – and doesn’t it make him look fine!
Discussions & News

May 28th 2017

From the collection of a West Country Gentleman

It’s great to have a representative collection of early Toby jugs featuring all of the various types, however, when you create a range of Toby’s of the same style but of differing colours and sizes it can look spectacular as this range of Hearty Good Fellow’s clearly shows! See below for a similar selection of Sailors ad Planters.
Discussions & News

From the same collection and again showing how well a varied range of the same style of early Toby displays. In the centre a recently acquired “Dollers” sailor as well as a rare Trafalgar sailor and an unusual enamelled planter on the right. I must add that this collector also has a very wide range of other Toby’s in his collection – a very representative collection.
Discussions & News

24th May 2017
Recent acquisitions
Having searched for several years I have finally acquired a large Hollin’s Toby - well potted and decorated and certainly one of the largest of the early Toby jugs – c.1800. Clear impressed Hollin’s to the underbase – a great Toby! You gain a good idea of his size against this Ralph Wood 51.
A bit like buses – you wait for ages and then two come along – see below!
Discussions & News

I managed to buy a rare blue coated “no base” Toby jug a few months ago which is currently with my restorer. These are extremely rare and it is thought that only 4 or 5 exist – and then along comes another!

This lovely brown coated example was acquired at Bonham’s last week and, apart from a few hat chips, is in very good condition. He stands at 7” tall, however, as he is full bodied (not the narrow body found on many mid sized Toby’s) he sits well against ordinary Toby’s.
Discussions & News

26th March 2017

Whilst I have focussed on the late 18th century and early 19th century Toby’s the museum houses 1000’s of jug’s – many rare and unique – from the mid 18th century through to the present day and from across the world.

Entry to the museum is free - Steve and the Assistant Curator Sandra Lachler possess a wealth of knowledge which they are happy to share with all collectors – a must visit museum!
Discussions & News

February 28th 2017

Good early Toby jugs continue to command high prices - despite a very nasty case of the pox this lovely example sold at Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury today at a little over £2000 including premiums - well moulded, richly decorated and in very nice original condition.   
Discussions & News

17th February 2017

The following email arrived this week and Dana kindly agreed that I could publish this picture - a further picture of this splendid Toby jug appears below.

Dear Bob, The Short Hat toby arrived safely today.

He was held up in New York for several days, I suspect by the 3 big snow storms we've had in the last week. Last Monday's blizzard alone left us with another 2 feet of snow!

At any rate, he is a simply beautiful jug and I feel very proud to be able to add him to my collection. I sent along a photo with the new arrival.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Best wishes,

Discussions & News

Dear Bob,

Yes, please feel free to use the picture on the website.

My friends and family (whom I think all believe that I'm a little bit cracked) will get a real kick out of it.

Best wishes,


Dear Dana

It simply doesn’t matter that no-one understands us. We’ll continue to collect and feel sorry for those poor people who lost their treasure hunting instincts when childhood ended!

Best wishes


Discussions & News

January 12th 2017

Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneers -
- one of the good ones!

In addition to being the leading auction house in the world for Titanic memorabilia Aldridges also have excellent fine art sales and I managed to buy several good Lots of early English pottery in their November sale. Whilst collecting these I noticed that two pieces had restoration not mentioned in their report - an honest oversight on the part of Aldridges.

My restorer stripped these and quoted me for restoration and I sent pre restoration pictures to Aldridges who immediately apologised for this simple oversight and agreed an appropriate refund. It's a great shame that some other auction houses do not act in a similar fashion and refuse to accept responsibility when they issue incomplete condition reports!

Henry Aldridge & Son are an excellent auction house - use them with great confidence!     

A picture of Alan Aldridge holding Wallace Hartley's violin played whilst the Titanic went down - this sold at Aldridges for $1.45m
Discussions & News

November 3rd 2016

Another good early Toby jug exceeds it's estimate.

This lovely marked Neale & Co Toby jug sold at Bonhams in London today for a hammer price of £2800 (c.£3640 including commission and vat) against an estimate of £700 - £900. In good original condition and with an additional inscribed mark 24 to the under base.

Clearly good Toby's are more than holding their value, and as I've suggested in the past, have the potential to be good investments! 
Discussions & News

3rd November 2016

Many Toby collectors have an example of the c.1840 Brampton King George 111 Toby jug in their collection and here is a picture showing the four sizes that they come in ranging from 8" to 11 1/2" together with a smaller example from an unknown pottery. These stoneware saltglazed Toby's are well moulded, richly coloured and not too costly. Several can be found for sale on the website.
Discussions & News

28th October 2016

This lovely creamware Toby jug sold at Durrants auctioneer’s today for a hammer price of £2200 – c.£2640 with commission. The estimate was very low and did not account for the fact that the underbase was impressed “Neale & Co” making this quite a rarity.

A pretty expensive impressed mark! - an almost identical but unmarked example can be found on page 4 of this website priced at £1200. Having said that it’s good to see yet another early Toby jug fetching such a high price.
Discussions & News

4th October 2016

This lovely Ralph Wood Toby jug sold today at Canterbury Auction Galleries for a hammer price of £2400 plus premium - c. £3000 - a great price and certainly more than I would have hoped to sell him for! As the underbidder I was disappointed to lose him but delighted to see yet another example of a fine early Toby fetching such a good price.
Discussions & News

August 31st 2016

Congratulations to the winner of Lot 692 in today’s sale at Rowley’s Fine Art Auctioneers – these five Toby jugs were estimated at £200-£300 and achieved £4940 including premium. Whilst four required restoration (the Long Face in generally good condition) they were good early Toby’s and warranted a serious price.

As under bidder disappointed, however, delighted to see further confirmation that good early Toby jug’s are maintaining excellent prices and that Toby jug’s in need of restoration (if rare or of fine quality) are well worth buying.
Discussions & News

August 9th 2016

My thanks to Sara for spotting this work at the Royal Academy 2016 Summer Exhibition in London.

Titled “At the sign of the White Horse” this is a limited edition digital collage on ceramic by the artist Tom Barker and is priced at £495.00 – I particularly like the snuff taker!
Discussions & News

22nd July 2016

This lovely early Ralph Wood Toby jug sold at Tennants Auctioneers this morning for £3198 including premiums - the estimate was £400-£600!

Of course I am disappointed at not having been able to win him, however, great news for all collectors as it again proves that good early Toby jugs continue to fetch excellent prices - these really can be regarded as good investments!

Discussions & News

July 11th 2016
My thanks to Phil for these excellent pictures of four fine Bacchus and Pan jugs all Staffordshire 1780-1800 – it looks like an extract from the 1996 BUTE catalogue!

These fascinating jugs were designed by John Voyez who worked for the Wood family in the latter part of the 18th century. Whilst strictly speaking not Toby jug’s they feature in many collections.
Discussions & News

On one side Pan and on the other Bacchus, a dolphin spout, monkey handle, lion skin and an owl! Occasionally you also find small models of dog’s or “the widow” on the base and I have also seen a commemorative version with portraits of King George on one side of the barrel and Caroline on the other - these are fabulous and complex pieces of early Staffordshire pottery. They come in creamware, pearlware and prattware with some produced by Whieldon and by Ralph Wood.
Discussions & News

June 12th 2016

My thanks to Milt, an American collector, for sending me details of his lovely collection and for allowing me to show this particularly nice early 19th century Portuguese Toby jug on the website. The typical creamware body richly decorated in manganese, blue, ochre and green translucent glazes and with a delightful caryatid handle – a great Toby!
Discussions & News

June 7th 2016

Several collectors have mentioned an article (please see this article below) on another “Toby jug website” which states “Prices continue to tumble” and are astonished that the dealers running that site are so very negative! Perhaps these people no longer actively deal in Toby jugs but to adopt such a downbeat attitude when in fact the Toby jug collecting community flourishes is very disappointing - they do their clients, who still value their collections, a great disservice.

In my opinion Toby jugs continue to constitute very good investments - and collecting is such good fun!  Pictured is a 5 ¼” tall continental Toby Jug money box from my collection.
Discussions & News

From another website

“Prices continue to tumble with this nice looking Prattware Toby jug only securing a low bid of £220”:

(Gerrards Auction Rooms 26.5.16 -19thC Ralph Wood style Toby Jug. Odd chips to glaze, height 10”. Condition: No restoration. Good condition, with odd glaze chips and missing glaze to the mug which he is holding in his hand. Estimate 80-120 GB)

I looked at this Toby and in my opinion there was restoration, the glaze losses were significant and there was no mention of the serious and extensive glaze staining – in view of this I didn’t bid.

Despite its actual condition a collector acquired what was still a lovely Toby jug at an appropriate price of almost three times low estimate – hardly prices tumbling!

Bob Moores

Discussions & News

April 25th 2016

Debbie found this at a fair last week;

A receipt from The Ministry of Works and Buildings dated 4th June 1942 for the “salvage of railings etc” from 236, Warley Road in Blackpool – in the midst of WW11 everyone was expected to contribute to the war effort by giving aluminium pots and pans and scrap iron to be melted down for airplanes, tanks and munitions.

Clearly the owner of number 236 was not impressed!
Discussions & News

4th April 2016

Since my article on Peter Meanley last year (see below) a number of collectors have commissioned Peter to create a Toby jug for them and here we see Peter Stennett taking delivery of his – it really is a magnificent Toby and I particularly like the Martin Bros bird!
Discussions & News

If you “Google” Peter Meanley and then go to “images” you will find numerous examples of Peter’s work including Toby jugs depicting The Queen Mother, Henry Sandon, President Obama, Judi Dench and many others. If you are interested in having your own personalised Peter Meanley Toby jug please contact me and I will put you in touch with Peter.
Discussions & News

March 20th 2016
Man Cave!
I was going to say thanks to Peter for this picture of his man cave but apparently it’s his front room and the fabulous Norton Commando motorcycle is his partner’s Sara! Peter’s collection of toby jugs looks great and so I guess this must be a “couple cave”
Peter will take delivery of his Peter Meanley toby jug (see article below) in April and I hope that he will allow me to put some pictures on this website.  
Discussions & News

January 5th 2016

This “Fiddler” Toby jug is one of only six made by Frank Stoner (a collector and dealer) c.1910-1914 and may well be a likeness of Lord Mackintosh of Halifax. One is featured in the third edition of Vic Schuler’s “Collecting British Toby Jugs” on page 57 together with an amusing story on page 55:
Discussions & News

One of Frank Stoner’s clients Mr F. S. Hooker (a prominent Toby jug collector) asked over dinner as he had many times before “when are you going to find me a Fiddler Toby?” Frank decided to have six fiddlers made with at least one in the likeness of Mr Hooker and the others of eminent collectors. The next time Mr Hooker came to dinner he was astounded to come across this fiddler and even more so when his wife later told him it looked just like him!
Discussions & News

January 1st 2016

Small (and mid size!) is beautiful

My thanks to Paul for these pictures of his excellent collection of small or miniature Toby jugs – the mid sized Sinner in the centre at c. 7 ¾” tall enabling us to judge heights. Some lovely Staffordshire and Yorkshire examples together with a rare female oyster seller and two examples of the Paul Pry Toby – the famous Georgian actor John Liston played the part of Paul Pry on stage in the early 1800’s.
Discussions & News

In this fine collection of mid sized Toby jugs we have a standard “ordinary” Toby in the centre at c.9 ¾” tall allowing us to judge heights. An excellent Hearty Good Fellow on the right, a yellow coated Askew and far left a wonderful pearlware high base. My favourite is the rare mid sized “ordinary” third from the right.
Discussions & News

November 29th 2015

My thanks to Bob from Illinois, not only for his purchase of the Fair Hebe jug that I recently listed, but also for sharing this picture of his fine collection of these fascinating jugs. Designed by Voyez in the late 18th century and produced by many potteries including Ralph Wood and as you can see created in numerous sizes and glazes.

You would be hard put to find a better collection and somewhere out there is a Fair Hebe Toby jug which sold at Bonham’s some 10 years ago.
Discussions & News

23rd November 2015

Please see my article on David Henderson and his fabulous pottery below - as you can see he has extended his range to include this richly coloured dish and many others.
Contact details are:  

07541 310 154
Discussions & News

21st November 2015

The best “worst” restoration that I have seen!

I acquired this Hearty Good fellow Toby at the NEC antiques fair this week – as you can see his hat had been lost and someone (many years ago) decided that creating a tricorn hat was too much like hard work and elected to fit a toupee – it looks fabulous! He is actually a really fine Toby and whilst I’m tempted to leave him as he is I will have my restorer fit a tricorn – I will post before and after pictures once completed.
Discussions & News

November 9th 2015

My thank to Eugene who is Russian and a collector of toby jugs who kindly sent me a link to the Russian State Historical Museum’s display of Toby jugs. These featured in the museum’s exhibition this year titled “English Breakfast” commemorating Anglomania – the popularity of English culture in Russia in the 19th century. 
Discussions & News

Whilst some of these are clearly English (Staffordshire) there are some lovely Russian copies of the Hearty Good Fellow – if you look closely the faces are slightly different from ours and I particularly like the eastern version!

The following link will enable you to see the rest of this interesting exhibition:

Discussions & News

November 7th 2015

The wisdom of our children

My daughter Zoe’s birthday card to me this year!
Discussions & News

12th July 2015
Roman nose Toby jug – in 13 years of collecting and dealing in fine early English Toby jugs I have only seen two roman nose Toby jugs come up for sale – these are exceptionally rare!
I own the first (a pearlware Ralph Wood) which sold at auction in Dorking, England in 2004 and this wonderful example came up for sale yesterday at John McInnis auctioneers in Massachusetts with a starting price of $100 – fiercely contested to $8000 plus premiums – worth every penny (cent)!
Discussions & News

July 7th 2105
My thanks to Robert Carde (USA) for the following:

Re: Ralph Wood hook nosed Toby 1/6462 
Having nothing better to do with my time ........
Hester Milgrove Taylor was born in Leigh on Mendip and her birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1840 in Frome. She married Alfred Gulliford in Shepton Mallet in 1863. It seems that the couple had no children and spent their married life in the Frome / SM / Vobster area. He died in 1915, she in 1916. I\'ve not been able to find her parents (yet). As a side note, in 1861 a Hester Taylor (age 21 from Frome) was a servant at Dumbleton Hall, Gloucester. The Rector of Dumbleton was Robert Wedgwood - Josiah\'s grandson. Fascinating!!


Discussions & News

12th June 2015
Martin Brothers Toby jug
I have always admired the work of the Martin Brothers of Lambeth who created wonderful pieces of stoneware pottery in the late 19th century including the “Wally” bird tobacco jars which are so sought after. I had not realised that they also made a Toby jug and my thanks to Philip Mernick for this picture of the Toby which can be seen at Cannon Hall House near Barnsley. 
Discussions & News

27th April 2015

This rare Ralph Wood shield Toby jug which has been in my collection for almost ten years has recently found a new home in the West Country and now forms part of a fine collection (fast becoming larger than mine) and I’m still not sure how Graham persuaded me to part with him!
Discussions & News

16th April 2015

In 1947 the renowned collector Lord Mackintosh of Halifax commissioned Leonard Jarvis to create the Churchill Toby jug in a limited edition of 350. Details of these can be found on the Toby jugs for sale section of this website.

In 1953 Lord Mackintosh gave a further commission to Leonard Jarvis to create a “Lord Mackintosh Toby jug” and it is understood that these were made in a small edition (probably less than 20) and were intended for family members and not offered for sale. Whilst these rarely become available I am happy to say that I was able to acquire this one (marked number 12) earlier this week
Discussions & News

31st March 2015

The latest addition to my collection! I am working with a collector in Spain who is selling part of his collection and I brought this back from Bilbao last month. These sailors are fine early Toby jugs (c.1800) which were at one time thought to be English (due to their similarity to the English originals) however, for a long time it has been accepted that these are in fact Portuguese
Discussions & News

On the under base is an old label for Boswell & Ward of London W1 who traded between c. 1965 and 1973 and it is fair to assume that they may well have thought it English. The dealers who sold this jug more recently have added their own trade label plus a hand written label stating:

“An 18th century creamware “Rodney’s Sailor” c.1785+ wearing a green jacket striped trousers. Provenance:- From a private collector Oxfordshire U.K.”

The collector clearly believed this to be English, however, it is fair to say that no mention of “English” is stated on the label – no mention of Portuguese either!
Discussions & News

31st March 2015

My thanks to Gerry in Canada for sending this picture of part of his collection – some fabulous Toby jugs and on the top shelf to the right his recently acquired Lord Howe in manganese on a creamware body and to the left a particularly nice Collier with raised pipe.
Discussions & News

10th March 2015
I am delighted that Peter Meanley has allowed me to acquire this wonderful and unique set of saltglazed Toby jugs depicting the G8 leaders (see details below) from the summit that took place at the Lough Erne Hotel near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh on June 17th – 18th 2013. Beautifully modelled and standing at approximately 45cm (18”) tall they are an imposing set – now I have to try to find somewhere to display them!

Discussions & News

Above from left to right:
Italian Prime Minister                                     Enrico Letta
President of Russia                                        Vladimir Putin
Chancellor of Germany                                   Angela Merkel
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom            David Cameron
President of the United States                       Barack Obama
Prime Minister of Japan                                 Shinzo Abe
President of France                                        Francois Hollande
Prime Minister of Canada                               Stephen Harper
Earlier in 2013 (and prior to the G8 summit) Italy elected Enrico Letta as its new Prime Minister and so the Toby jug depicting Mario Monti (pictured here) was not required – he now makes number 9 of the set.

Discussions & News

2nd February 2015

My thanks to Steve for these pictures showing a small selection from his extensive collection – whilst Steve has a wide range of early Toby’s he is clearly a devotee ofthe Yorkshire Toby jug and I know for a fact that he has others!

Below - three Prattware Toby’s displaying similar colouring and painted detail suggesting that they might well be from the same pottery?
Discussions & News

Whilst we know so little about the individual potteries who made these Toby’s in the late 18th / early 19th century, there are occasions when we find two jugs that are so similar that they simply had to come from the same pottery and were perhaps even painted by the same hand?

(Please contact me if you would like me to include pictures from your collection on the website – these are always of interest to other collectors)
Discussions & News

10th January 2015

My thanks to Peter for this picture of his recently acquired Davenport Drunken Sal Toby jug on display alongside some formidable ladies - thanks must also go to Sara who gave this to Peter for Christmas!

Discussions & News

5th January 2015

Wilkinson WW11 Allied Leaders Collection

Inspired by the original set of WW1 military and political leaders by Carruthers Gould which has proven to be so highly collectable, this set of 12 WW11 Allied Leaders Toby jugs was conceived and commissioned by Steve Mullins of the American Toby Jug Museum of Evanston, Illinois, designed by the renowned modeller Ray Noble and hand crafted and painted by Bairstow Manor of Stoke on Trent.

These Toby jugs have been produced to a high standard, production is limited to the numbers below, and they are available through a small number of dealers both here and in America. They can be ordered individually or in complete sets (subject to availability) and I have already taken orders for a number of sets. Please let me know if you would like further information on this set or wish to order one or more of these fine Toby jugs.

Discussions & News

Standing at c.11” tall (heights vary) the set comprises:

Edition size:

100 Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery
150 President Franklin D Roosevelt
100 General George S. Patton Jnr
100 General Dwight D Eisenhower
100 Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten
100 Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek
150 Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill
100 King George V1
100 Premier Joseph Stalin 100 King George V1
100 General Douglas MacArthur
100 General Charles de Gaulle
100 Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

£300 per Toby jug

It is anticipated that some of these will be available to ship over the next month or two and the complete set by c. June 2015.

Discussions & News

29th December 2014

Dr Peter Meanley

After graduating from the York School of Art Peter Meanley studied ceramics at the Royal College of Art and later gained a doctorate at the University of Ulster where he was a Reader in Ceramics for many years.

Peter has an excellent understanding and appreciation of early English Toby jugs and has worked with salt glaze for 30 years combining these skills to create some fabulous salt glazed Toby jugs caricaturing famous personalities - and also some significantly lesser mortals!

If you “Google” Peter Meanley and look in “images” you will see many examples of Peter’s work.
Discussions & News

I first heard of Peter when I saw Henry Sandon receive his Toby jug on the Antiques Roadshow and as I have a passion for both Toby jugs and salt glaze was immediately enamoured! Peter visited us in early 2014 and 10 months later produced our Toby jugs. Debbie and I are delighted to have Peter as a friend.

Please let me know if you are interested in having Peter create a Toby jug for you and I will be happy to let you know what is involved and put you in touch with him. Peter will visit you, take numerous pictures, and discuss what personal elements you would like incorporated – I had my dog Bentley, a favourite Toby jug and trout flies in my tricorn! The whole process to completion takes approximately 10 - 11 months.
Discussions & News

19th December 2014

Many thanks to my good friend Dana from Augusta for sharing this picture of his collection of Toby jugs with his most recent acquisition, the Martha Gunn, taking pride of place on the top shelf. 

Good to see the Trafalgar Sailor and small Drunken Parson again – a great collection!

Discussions & News

16th December 2014

Congratulations to the winner of this lovely late 18th century Portuguese Toby jug thatcame up at auction yesterday evening in Lisbon. Despite some old restoration to his boots he is still one of the nicest Portuguese Toby’s that I have seen and I am immensely jealous!
Discussions & News

December 9th 2014

These wonderful pieces, whilst influenced by Bernard Palissey and others, are very much the result of David Henderson’s childhood delight in discovering the myriad life to be found in rock pools, streams, fields, caves and rivers – all around us if we care to search.

David creates a wide range of chargers, platters, plates and dishes as well as individual items all containing fascinating elements of nature and he is also happy to discuss individual commissions whereby his imagination and yours can merge!
Discussions & News

David is a good friend and I am delighted to be able to showcase a few of his pieces on my website – I will be happy to take enquiries and pass these on to David or, alternatively, you can contact him directly:
07541 310 154
Bob Moores
Discussions & News

November 3rd 2014 

Hi Bob, Having recently discovered one of my toby’s (Martha Gunn) is illustrated in Vic Schulers book I decided to check out the provenance of others I own.

I found no more illustrated in the various reference books, however, I did discover an interesting past on another Martha Gunn in Vic Schuler's 1st Edition, the Martha Gunn complete with hat/cup proudly illustrated on the front cover (and reproduced on pg94 bottom left) also appears in Vic Schuler’s 3rd Edition Pg 78 bottom left, however, this time she sports the Prince of Wales Feathers suggesting a superior example!. 

Toby jugs each have unique individual characteristics, the run of glaze, the hand painted decoration or the odd chip and this is certainly the same jug. Restoration has its critics, but where would this stand on acceptability? 

Great selection of jugs on your site. Well done, really appreciate the prices being shown and open for negotiation . Why do so many sites fail to show the price? 
Discussions & News

November 7th 2014
Hi Graham
Many thanks for your brilliant detective work!
I have included pictures of each of the illustrations from Vic Schuler’s books and having studied these carefully they certainly appear to be the same Martha Gunn Toby – I agree that it is normally possible to tell from the painted detail on two pictures whether or not it is the same Toby.
If this is the same jug then it would appear that some unscrupulous dealer has decided to add the Prince of Wales feathers thereby adding value and this is of course quite unacceptable. As you know from my article (below) I believe that it is perfectly in order to restore a good Toby jug but under no circumstances to attempt to add value by enhancing the Toby in such a way. All the more reason for collector’s to deal with reputable dealers!
Bob Moores    
Discussions & News

May 18th 2014
Seventeen Toby jugs sold this afternoon at Stair Galleries in New York and, whilst a few were relatively mundane, the majority were good early pieces and fetched excellent prices. Despite some restoration all were heavily contested and this good Ralph Wood Planter sold for just over $6400 including commission. 
This bodes well for all collectors as it is clear that good early Toby jugs continue to not only hold their value but prices consistently increase – excellent investments!  
Discussions & News

This richly coloured pearlware Squire Toby jug with restoration to both handle and hat also reached over $7000 including commission yet again proving that restoration on a good and relatively rare Toby jug ought not to be a deterrent and should not  significantly devalue the piece. A fine Long Face Toby in nicely muted colours together with a Martha Gunn also did well as did a very nice Lord Howe.
My thanks to Stair Galleries for these pictures and also for providing comprehensive condition reports and an excellent service to it’s buyers
Discussions & News

  24th April 2014
Dear Graham – many thanks for your comments regarding the Postillion and I’m delighted that you are pleased with him – he does look great!
(This is the Postillion on the left of the “after” picture below)  
I completely agree with you on the question of restoration as this does allow collectors the opportunity to acquire “rare” Toby jugs at affordable prices and also, when eventually selling them, to achieve good prices as the estimates are reasonable and attract healthy competition.
Your last point is well founded and I’ve seen this happen several times - a rare and expensive piece comes up at auction and is contested to a very high price by two wealthy buyers and then, at some later date, a similar piece comes up and due to the lack of competition achieves a much lower price.
I’ll look out for that Thin Boy in need of care and attention !
Best wishes
Bob Moores

23rd April 2014
Hi Bob, Postilian looks great in the collection.

The restorer has again done an excellent job, the colours and features are brilliant when you consider its age, if only they could talk, what history they have seen. I know restoration always promotes discussion but for me it is perhaps the only way I can afford to build a collection that has the rarities other collectors would love to own. I also would suggest that when a collector comes to part with a well restored rare toby he is more likely to get a good price and an easier sale than if selling a perfect (and very costly) example as there will be more collectors able to afford it and bid it up.
The number of collectors able to afford perfect rare examples is limited and of course it takes two bidders to push the price up at auction. When a collector stops buying then without the competition you can frequently see a major reduction in the prices realised. I can't wait until the next rare toby that needs some TLC comes on the market ( Thin Boy ) yes please. Graham

March 28th 2014
In February I showed this picture of the Postillion Toby jug that I had bought at Fieldings auction which was in need of restoration alongside a similar Postillion belonging to a friend. The Fieldings Toby needed a new hat and right hand and also had several chips on the base and handle that needed attention
Discussions & News


I am delighted to say that he is now back from my restorer and here he is looking very good indeed – this is a rare Toby jug and well worth bringing back to full glory. A full set of pictures can be seen under Toby jugs for sale.
The Fielding Postillion (on the left) is going to a collector in the West country and my friend decided to part with his Postillion and having put him on my website he sold within 24 hours.  
Discussions & News

March 4th 2014

Triple vision!

I could'nt resist taking this picture of three Wilkinsons General Louis Botha toby jugs together and I'm sure that there won't be many opportunities to do so again - only one of these is for sale as the other two are spoken for. 
Of the eleven toby jugs depicting the 1st World War military and political leaders made it was thought that General Botha would be the least popular and only 150 were produced - as the rarest he now commands the highest price.

Whilst he is a fine toby jug he is not better than the others in the set, however, the pleasure of owning a complete set (very few collectors do) makes this cost worthwhile! These really are exceptionally fine toby jugs.

Bob Moores
Discussions & News

February 24th 2014

Pearlware Postillion toby jug c.1800

We all waxed eloquently about the four ex Mackintosh toby jugs that came up at Fieldings Auctioneers a few weeks ago and with good reason, however, I think that this chap (on the left) was the hidden gem at the sale. It was difficult to see him clearly in the auction house picture and at first glance I thought that he was Portuguese (perhaps restored by a plumber as he appears to have a miniature toilet on his head!) however, the moment I picked him up I knew that he was a very nice and well moulded pearlware Postillion.

Fortunately I had sold a similar Postillion several years ago (the one on the right) and the present owner has kindly loaned it to me to enable my restorer to take a mould of the hat and right hand. Once restored I will put pictures of him on the website showing how he's turned out. A fine and rare toby jug and for all the reasons that I mention in my article on restoration below an ideal candidate for bringing back to full glory. Not surprisingly another collector has already laid claim!

Bob Moores

Discussions & News

18th February 2014

Standing Postillion

This is an extremely rare toby jug and the only one that I have seen in twelve years of collecting - also one of the few toby jugs that I really regret selling! Having said that he went to a good friend and is now part of a significant collection.

When I saw him several years ago I though at first glance that he was a smaller than normal Hearty Good Fellow in rather nice colours (he stands at 9" tall) and then I picked him up and saw his face - clearly the face of a Postillion and I knew that he was rather special! In fact my friend had known of another that he'd seen with a London dealer many years ago, however, still a very unusual and rare toby jug.

Discussions & News

The striped jacket and floral decoration to the rear make him really stand out and the strength of colour suggests the North of England or Scotland ?


Many thanks to my friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, for allowing me to include these pictures as I know many collectors will enjoy seeing him - does anyone out there know of another standing Postillion or have an equally rare toby jug that they would like to share?

Discussions & News

17th February 2014

I purchased the toby jug on the right SN:1/5085 (see under Toby jugs for sale) from a fine private collection in Kent last year and the toby on the left several weeks ago from a private collection in Norfolk. Whilst I'd realised they were similar it was only last week when I had a friend visiting that we placed them side by side and saw that they were almost identical.


These are clearly from the same pottery, using the same moulds, and when you look at the detail it's easy to imagine that they might have been painted by the same hand - perhaps not but an intriguing thought.

We have to wonder where they have been for the past c.230 years, who's owned and enjoyed them and where they will have travelled - to end up together again on my dining room table in Godalming - what are the odds on that!

Bob Moores

Discussions & News

15th February 2014
Wilkinson's Carruthers Gould Toby jugs

The set that I mentioned in early January (see below) arrived on February 5th. As most have now sold I am delighted to announce that (after a week of negotiation!) I have managed to buy another complete set of these exceptional Toby jugs - see picture.  I shall be listing many of these over the next few days.


Discussions & News

Client Collections

10th February 2014

Many thanks to Tony from the South coast of England for these pictures showing part of what is a very significant collection of saltglazed stoneware and early glass. A wonderful range of pieces and the one that stands out for me is the saltglazed face jug on the right of the second shelf - easy to see why so many toby jug collectors also enjoy 18th century saltglaze!
Discussions & News

This second picture from Tony shows some beautiful 18th century bottles and I particularly like the fish flask on the top shelf.
Discussions & News

Client Collections

10th February 2014

Many thanks to Peter from Kent for this picture of his recently acquired step toby looking very much at home with some friends above the inglenook - so cosy and so English!
Discussions & News

Client Collections

10th February 2014

My thanks to Gerry from Canada for these two pictures showing the toby jugs in just one of his cabinets! I have had the pleasure of working with Gerry for over 10 years and know him to be a very discerning collector who has always adopted the approach of quality before quantity - having said that Gerry has clearly achieved both!   

The short hatted Ralph Wood (second left lower shelf) with the decorated front base is really nice as is the Wood sailor in the white.
Discussions & News

Two more shelves from Gerry's excellent collection and I particularly like the prattware with decorated base ( second left bottom shelf )

Gerry - Many thanks for sharing these !
Discussions & News

8th February 2014

Todays sale at Fieldings auctioneers in Stourbridge included a nice range of early Toby jugs and four of these were from the 1967 Sotheby's sale of the Mackintosh collection. Not all were in the best condition but I am delighted to say that I managed to acquire this very fine Ralph Wood - best of the four ex Mackintosh - a real connoisseurs toby jug!    I also bought some other pieces and these will be displayed on the site shortly - so good to see early Toby jugs continuing to sell at such significant prices and again proving their great investment value.
Discussions & News

Advance warning!

I have a complete set of Wilkinson toby jugs by Carruthers Gould coming in towards the end of February - Botha has pre sold. Please let me know if you are looking for a particular toby jug from this set. 
Discussions & News

September 18th 2013

Congratulations to the winner of this lovely Sailor toby jug that sold at Mellors and Kirk this morning (Lot 450) - I was the underbidder !


This was catalogued as a "Wood type sailor toby jug" and in my opinion is Portuguese, however, despite the fact that he needs a small amount of restoration he's a fine toby jug and well worth the £1800 plus premiums paid. If I had been successful I would have kept him to sit alongside other early /mid 19th century Portuguese toby jugs that I have. Whilst different from early English Toby jugs in a number of ways these early Portuguese Toby jugs have great merit.


Good early Toby jugs continue to fetch significant prices at auction and I'm confident that this will continue which is good news for all of us!



Bob Moores


Discussions & News

September 14th 2013

When you are next in Scotland go to Culpar in Fife and you will find this lovely memorial sitting opposite the Ceres Inn. This Toby jug figure is of the Rev. Thomas Buchanan who was Minister of Ceres 1578-99 and he was known as "the Provost of Ceres".  The statue was the work of a local stonemason called John Howie and dates to c.1837. 


Discussions & News

13th September 2013

Bob, A few days ago whilst viewing another dealers web site, under the "news" section I came across an article concerning a jug holding a wine glass very "similar" to the one shown as sold on your site. The article suggests the jug had been "enhanced" to increase its value and the tone could be interpreted to infer the dealer may be trying to deceive. As you are well aware nothing could be further from the truth. The facts are that I am uncomfortable bidding at auction and asked you to bid on my behalf and if successful to arrange for the restoration works required. In effect to act as my agent in this matter, (which you have kindly done before).  I was fully aware of the restoration work being undertaken, how could it have been enhanced to deceive? deceive who? The toby has now joined a collection built up over 45 years from which none have ever been sold or will be. The excellent work was carried out to my full satisfaction and I will certainly be buying more jugs from you in the future. Steve Mott

September 13th 2013


Many thanks for your comment Steve and whilst this other site did'nt show a picture of the Toby jug they referred to it may well have been your Yorkshire - I have shown a picture and it's a great toby jug!

During restoration we discussed the fact the there was a significant (and original) hole running through his right hand which had presumably held something that would have been visible both above and below the hand. To have fitted the common beaker would have left an unsightly hole showing under his hand and so we agreed that the most sympathic solution would be a stemmed goblet.

I'm delighted that he met with your approval and that he now forms part of what is an excellent collection.

Best wishes



Discussions & News

Hi Bob Following my email last week saying another dealer had mentioned some rare toby jugs coming up at auction in the USA on their website I thought you'd like to know that they have now put another article on saying how badly damaged they were and what a staggering price they sold for - Garths auction and sold for $3165 !. I imagine they weren't intending to bid themselves which is why they mentioned this before the sale but a bit irritating for anyone who was going to bid - we all want to find some hidden treasure that no-one else has seen! Plus in their first article they congratulated themselves on having got the auction to provide extra condition reports but didn't mention what the reports said and then after the sale went into all the details. Having told the world about them to encourage bidders they now destroy the confidence of the buyer - not really doing anyone any favours are they! Simon W.

Hi Simon
Garths auction in Delaware on July 27th, Lot 801 - Village Idiot and Thin Man Toby jugs.
Many thanks for your emails regarding the “news” articles that appeared on another website regarding this sale. I have just looked at various articles on that site and I’m astonished at how much time is spent commenting negatively on Toby jugs recently sold at auction. Why such a downbeat attitude is adopted within what is a vibrant and ever growing collecting community is difficult to understand.
It would be unprofessional of me to directly comment on individual articles that appear on this or any other website and I’m very confident that collectors who read these “news” items will be able to draw their own conclusions - some I imagine may be disappointed to see their recent auction purchase commented upon in such a manner. I will continue to occupy my time locating, and finding good homes for early English Toby jugs - rather than simply writing about them!
Talking of which, I was absolutely delighted to have won the Garths Toby jugs and quite frankly would have paid considerably more for them. The blue Chinoiserie detail on the Thin Man is most unusual and the Village Idiot is a really nice example – whilst the Thin Man requires more attention, condition on both is far better than I expected and it will not be difficult for my restorer to bring them back to full glory!  
You know my views on restoration - provided it’s a good Toby jug, a comprehensive condition report including all details of restoration is provided and the price fully reflects its condition, then buying a Toby jug with restoration is perfectly acceptable. These Toby jugs are prime examples and not surprisingly sales have already been agreed on both - once restored two collectors will each acquire a lovely and rare Toby jug at a very affordable price.
Best wishes
Bob Moores

27th August 2013 
(see Vernon Creekmore's message at the bottom of the page)

Dear Vernon

Thank you for your comment on my article regarding the "Garths" toby jugs - we agree that it helps no-one when a dealer discusses a forthcoming auction in this way!

I felt obliged to write this article as several collectors (in UK, USA and Europe) had expressed concern at these and other "news" articles that have appeared on the website concerned describing somewhat harshly Toby jugs recently sold at auction.

We have a great collecting community
and it will continue to flourish provided we can eliminate such negative comment

Best wishes


8th September 2013

Hello Bob

I read the articles regarding the Garths sales along with additional news pieces on the other website you mention and as a lover of early Toby's I hate the negativity that seems to be surfacing - snide comments can poison the well for everyone.

My expertise is early figures and I sometimes note erroneous descriptions or misleading/incorrect condition reports. When this happens, I email the appropriate person and the error is invariably corrected before a sale occurs because most sellers want to do the right thing. There just is no need for them to be nasty!

To critique Toby's sold at auction after the auction seems harsh. Imagine how your heart would drop if you found your new treasure described as moonlighting as a duck at the fairground or something similar. If it were me, I would probably never buy again. Despite my personal preference for a high collecting standard, I acknowledge that many collectors may only be able to afford to buy at the lower end of the price range and to be able to buy a well restored early toby jug at an affordable price enables them to acquire representative examples.

It's good that early Toby jugs that have suffered damage can be restored and found good homes with collectors who are made fully aware of the level of restoration and have paid accordingly.



September 11th 2013

Dear Myrna

Thank you so much for your comments.

I'm sure that most collectors who visit this other website will be able to form their own opinion regarding the "news" articles and will not be dissuaded from bidding for early Toby Jugs at auction - indeed recent experience confirms that prices for good Toby jugs continue to increase which is good news for all of us!

This other site continues to mention future auctions featuring early Toby jugs which I think is very bad form and of course disappointing for any collector hoping to secure a bargain. When they fail to mention a good early Toby jug being sold at a forthcoming auction should we assume that they might be bidding themselves!

I completely agree with your comments regarding restored Toby jugs in that they provide collectors with an opportunity to acquire a good early example which they otherwise might not be able to afford.

Kind regards


23rd September 2103

Graham - the proud new owner of the Village Idiot has just taken delivery of this fine Toby jug - please see his much appreciated comments at the bottom of this section.

The Thin Man is also back from my restorer and he really is a lovely example. He will shortly be off to join another fine collection

Bob Moores


Discussions & News

Small Hearty Good Fellow - from it's new owner - July 2nd 2013

Given the interest created by the small Hearty Good Fellow toby jug, I wonder if I might offer a comment as the new owner? One of the striking things about the jug, after the small size, is the brilliance of the glazing, which is never easy to capture in a photograph. Aside from the Christie`s example you mention, I have not see another of these small jugs decorated in this way during the course of quite a few years of collecting, so I suspect that this particular model is not that common. He may not be to everyone`s taste, but that is the nature of our hobby. Personally I think he is both unusual and great fun - extremely pleased to have him sit on my shelves!"
Discussions & News

Hearty Good Fellow

Hi Graham and thank you so much for your kind comments regarding the website.

I agree with you completely on the importance of providing prices and will continue to do so for every item on the site - of course I am always happy to negotiate, however, visitors need an indication of the likely value of any particular piece.

On the question of whether or not the buff coloured Hearty Good Fellow was a model on which subsequent HGF's were based - I have to say I simply don't know but I think it pretty unlikely. If anyone has a view please write in and I'll also seek the opinion of some of my more knowledgeable collectors

Many thanks


American Toby Jug Museum

Located in Chicago, the American Toby Jug Museum houses an amazing collection of 8000 toby and character jugs dating from the late 18th century to present day - a must for any visitor to the city.

The museum was opened by Stephen Mullins some years ago and is the culmination of 65 years of collecting. I have had the pleasure of knowing Steve for several years and have provided one or two of the toby jugs in the collection.

Steve had recently updated the Museum's website and it is well worth a visit:


PS. Steve has just sent me a series of pictures showing the section of the Museum for 18th century toby jugs and it is simply outstanding - and I thought that I had a good collection!

This has to be one of, if not the, largest collection of early toby jugs in the world and included within it are many extremely rare examples. So next time you are in Chicago..........


March 2013

Small Hearty Good Fellow toby jug

You may have seen the small Hearty Good Fellow toby jug that I have listed – a number of friends have pointed out that this toby jug has appeared on another website and has been described as “A very crude Hearty Good Fellow toby jug” – how terribly mean !
I consider him to be a charming example and what the other site failed to mention is that he is unusually short at c.8 1/3” and therefore rather rare - a similar buff coloured example sold in New York in January 2002 for $2820.00.
We collect toby jugs primarily for the sheer enjoyment that this brings and also perhaps with the hope that they will appreciate in value over time and become good investments as has been the case for a number of years – if only we could bring ourselves to part with them!
It is concerning when we see articles questioning the value, condition or quality of toby jugs that have recently sold at auction or elsewhere, especially if those commenting may not have had the opportunity to see the jugs for themselves. A healthy exchange of views is to be encouraged, but there is a danger that unduly negative comments may deter new and even established collectors from bidding for a particular toby jug at auction or buying at a fair. If this were the case then there would be fewer bidders, lower prices and ultimately a possible reduction in the value of our collections.
For the 10 years that I have collected and sold early toby jugs the market has been buoyant and with the advent of many new collectors over the past few years this should continue to the benefit of us all. I know from frequent contact with collectors around the world that these views are widely shared.
It doesn’t matter that few of our friends or even family understand us - collecting toby jugs is one of life’s great pleasures and I will do all that I can to encourage and promote this wonderful obsession !
Bob Moores

Restoration – early toby jugs
My thoughts on restoration apply to all areas of early pottery, however, I will focus on early toby jugs as this is an area where opinions vary.
We are talking about a fragile material which over a period of c.200 years has many opportunities to get damaged - I think it's fair to say that less than 10% or even 5% of toby jugs remain completely intact. Therefore, unless we are content with small collections, we must accept restoration as a fact of life.
Having said that it’s preferable not to buy a restored example of a relatively common and not too costly toby jug eg a brown or blue sponge coated barrel when given time a complete and original one will become available. Likewise, unless it’s a very rare toby jug, one that has been too heavily restored ought to be avoided. 
When it comes to the rarer or finer toby jugs then, unless you have a significant budget, you may well have to accept some restoration. Of course some toby jugs are so rare that you may never identify a “perfect” example and therefore acquiring one with some restoration is perfectly acceptable.
It should not be forgotten that many collectors simply cannot afford large sums of money for say a good Ralph Wood toby jug and the opportunity to buy an example with some good restoration at perhaps half of the normal price is welcomed.
Bear in mind that a good restorer will be able to ensure that to the eye the toby jug is perfect. It is only when examined under a blue light, tapped with a coin or looked at closely through a loupe (for continuous glaze crazing etc) that restoration is visible.
To conclude, don’t be dissuaded from buying a good toby jug that has had some professional restoration provided:
* The quality of restoration work is to a high standard
* The degree of restoration is not too significant
* You are made aware of all restoration including old work - a complete condition report
* The price reflects the fact that the toby jug has been restored and to what degree
Bob Moores

My article on restoration (above) was written 5 years ago and I believe that it’s still valid and worth reading. Since 2013 I’ve handled several hundred more early Toby’s and have concluded that fewer remain in “perfect original” condition than first thought and have amended this to read between 5% and 10%. 

Graham Lees 14th March 2013
Congratulations on an excellent site, easy to use and navigate with plenty of jugs to admire and choose. I particularly appreciate seeing the price of your jugs, so many dealers list their items as POA or refer to the price band a jug falls into. If you're looking to buy you want to know the price. No messing about, much better. REF: "Crude Hearty Good Fellow" He's not crude more unsophisticated. Crude is a rather derogatory emotive terminology suggesting he's not worth much compared to the more normal examples we see. Some priceless works of Art are viewed as simplistic in conception "crude" if you like, so much depends on personal taste and opinion. Personally I think he's great especially when seen on the site against his bigger brothers. Was he the model on which all the other HGF was based? I would love to know. Graham Lees
Crude Hearty Good Fellow.

Alfredo Garcia 5th April 2013
Alfredo Garcia After some attempts last week I finally I have a quiet afternoon to enjoy your new site. You know how busy I have been !. My congratulations, it is extensive and so now all collectors can see many images and much information on a wide range of suggesed pieces to add to any collection. The home page is a good welcome that awakes suddenly the interest. The Pratt pipe and the step toby jug are very desirable. You are right keeping them in your collection, but fortunately there are many good examples of toby jugs for sale, my passion. The items for sale section gives very good information with a short description and different pictures that tells a lot for choosing or at least for enjoying. (I will contact you soon for further information after choosing a couple of tobys) Only a suggestion, when you have asked for more images and then wish to return to the product list you go back to the beginning of the first page instead of going straight to the last item seen. Keeping the site alive, with interest for visiting, involves a big effort, but surely gives the pleasure of getting a closer relation with many collectors that can become a friend like I am. My best wishes Bob !!

Nestegg Antiques:

Dear Alfredo

My response to your message is long overdue and I apologise for this - I am still working out how this website functions, and incidentally I am working on sorting out your suggested improvement!

You purchased your first toby jug from me in April 2008 and since then your collection has grown significantly - it is now a major collection in global terms - and certainly the largest in Spain!

My kindest regards to both you and Begona and I look forward to being in touch with you soon


Dana M. Damren, U.S.A. 2nd May 2013
As a somewhat novice but passionate collector of early British Toby Jugs, I've found Bob at NestEgg Antiques to be honest in his descriptions, helpful with his advice, extremely fair with his prices, outstanding in his packing, and a great all around nice guy to "chat" with online. My goal is to add 2 or 3 new jugs to my collection each year and I know I have to look no further than this website for the best quality and selection. I hope someday to visit the U.K. and one of my destinations will hopefully be to visit Bob in person. Thank you, and keep up the good work!

Nestegg Antiques:
Dear Dana

My apologies for the delay in responding to your kind message - I'm still trying to figure out how this website works!

I have the pleasure of working with numerous toby collectors around the world and the enthusiasm that you show for every new toby jug that you acquire makes this so worthwhile - it really is my pleasure

Kindest regards


Vernon Creekmore 27th August 2013
Your discussion on the Garth's Toby Jugs sale is well taken. I also found the pre and post auction verbiage. I was quite put back by the comments. I was one of the underbidders and like you, do not need such help..

Graham Lees 22nd September 2013
Hi Bob, Fantastic " Village Idiot " toby, now in pride of place in the cabinet. Having read the various comments about the condition I did wonder what it would look like, sorry Vernon you missed an excellent rare jug, the only damage a minor 20mm hairline at the back of the hat and 2 very, very small chips at the rear of the base. Now restored it is pristine, I challenge anyone to find the damage. When my son inherits my collection he will no doubt sell it to buy a flash sports car. Auction catalogue will not pick up the restoration because it's so good. I am over the moon with jug. Thanks Bob Graham

Click to add comments