Prices of Royal Doulton Toby Character Jugs vary greatly depending on the vendor. Color variations and handle intricacies are also factors that affect value. A 4-inch Toby mug can be found on Ebay for as low as $10.00. However, one of the rarest jugs ever made was sold at Sothebys for ?16,500.
Toby Jugs were first created in the early 18th century. They were revived in the 19th century by Doulton. The name "Toby" is thought to have originated from a character in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" named Sir Toby Belch. It could also have been inspired by a popular song in 1761 called "Brown Jug" that featured "Toby Fillpot."
The first jugs were produced with a brown salt glaze. In the 1920s, the company added color, and it changed the full-figure creations to show only the head and shoulders of a character from English song, literature, history or legend.
It took almost ten years for Charles Noke, an artist and modeler for Doulton, to be satisfied with the design and production standards and launch the first character jug in 1934. Toby-jug handles often show elaborate diversity, expanding on the traits and associations of a particular character and aiding in dating.