The value of old canning jars, including Mason, Kerr and Ball jars, is determined by the jar’s embossing, closure, color, size, age and condition, according to Collectors Weekly. A jar in good condition that has its original lid is typically worth much more than a jar without a lid.
Embossed jars that are embossed with the patent date of Nov. 30, 1858 are among the most valuable, though the design never caught on at the time, notes Collectors Weekly. This patent date cannot be used to date the jar, however, since it was used to emboss jars for more than 50 years.
Jars with original tin lid closures are among the most valuable, and jars that are found with their original lids are also more coveted among collectors, explains Collectors Weekly. Jars with a five-pointed star insignia from A&D.H. Chambers, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are among the most valuable.
Unusually colored jars are worth more than those with common colors, notes Collectors Weekly. Black, cobalt and milk glass colors are the rarest and most sought after, while emerald, dark amber, amber and aqua are more common.
Other factors that can increase the value of the jar include age, with older jars being more valuable, and size, with larger jars priced higher than smaller versions, states Collectors Weekly.