Our antiques expert assesses a McCoy ivy leaf tea set to help determine what it's worth today.
This tea set has been in my family for more than 55 years. “McCoy USA” is inscribed on the bottom. What can you tell me about it?
—M.S., Asheboro, North Carolina
A: McCoy is one of the most recognized names in American pottery. In 1899, the J. W. McCoy Pottery Co. was established in Roseville, Ohio, where 12 other notable potteries were already in operation. Growth soon allowed McCoy to take on a partner, and the business became the Brush-McCoy Pottery Co.
In 1925, Nelson McCoy, J. W.’s son, purchased a massive kiln, 300 feet long, which increased production. In the early 1940s, the name “McCoy” was added as the new pottery mark. Because it was never registered as a trademark, the name has appeared on imitations and reproductions. Though this is not where the phrase “the real McCoy” came from, it’s a good reminder that before investing in any antique, it’s a good idea to first become familiar with the forms, shapes, colors, sizes, marks, weight and history of authentic pieces.
Your 1940s ivy leaf tea set is artfully designed and functional. The teapot has a raised leaf finial, and all three high-gloss pieces have molded branch handles. A number of these sets are available. In perfect condition, the value is $135.
—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)