Is an empty Aunt Jemima syrup bottle worth anything?

Empty vintage Aunt Jemima syrup bottles can have value to collectors for a variety of reasons. Aunt Jemima syrup first hit store shelves in 1889, so any bottles from the late 1800s or early 1900s can be considered antique. The iconic image of Aunt Jemima has appeared on syrup bottles for over 130 years, making them nostalgic items that may appeal to collectors. Additionally, the Aunt Jemima brand recently announced it would be changing its name and image, so original bottles may increase in value as they become a piece of history.

Quick Facts on Aunt Jemima Syrup Bottles

  • First sold in 1889
  • Brand mascot inspired by minstrel show songs
  • Logo depicted a black woman named Aunt Jemima
  • Quaker Oats acquired Aunt Jemima in 1926
  • Brand announced name change in 2020 due to racial stereotyping

What Makes Them Collectible?

There are a few key factors that contribute to the value of vintage Aunt Jemima syrup bottles for collectors:


The oldest bottles from the late 1800s and early 1900s are the most prized by collectors. Key dates would be any bottles from before the Quaker Oats acquisition in 1926. Earlier bottles with the original “Davis Milling Co” markings are also more desirable.


Bottles in good condition, with minimal chips, cracks, or staining, are worth more than damaged bottles. Collectors want bottles that still have vibrant logos and display well. Damage decreases value significantly.


Certain sizes, styles, and variants of older Aunt Jemima bottles are harder to come by. Unique bottles are always more valuable. Clear glass bottles are more common than colored glass.


The iconic smiling image of Aunt Jemima makes these bottles appealing for collectors. Many remember the syrup fondly from childhood breakfasts.

Brand History

As one of the longest running food mascots, Aunt Jemima bottles represent an important piece of brand history. With the recent rebranding, the original bottles have new significance.

Estimating the Value

It’s impossible to give an exact value for vintage Aunt Jemima bottles as there are many variables that affect price. Here are some guidelines:

  • Bottles from the late 1800s can sell for $50 or more.
  • Early 1900s bottles range from $20-40 depending on condition.
  • Colored glass bottles fetch a higher price than clear.
  • Larger syrup bottles are worth more than smaller sample sizes.
  • Unique odd shaped bottles can fetch premium prices.
  • Extremely common clear glass bottles only sell for a few dollars.

Checking recent sold listings on eBay for comparable bottles in similar condition is the best way to estimate a bottle’s value. Condition is one of the biggest factors in determining price. Bottles with damage have significantly lower value.

Where to Sell Aunt Jemima Bottles

Here are some options for selling vintage Aunt Jemima bottles:


This online auction site reaches the largest audience of collectors. Sellers can post bottles for a minimum price or auction-style bidding. eBay’s policy of showing sold listings makes it easy to compare values.


This online handmade and vintage marketplace attracts buyers looking specifically for collectibles like old syrup bottles. Sellers can create listings showcasing a bottle’s history and details.

Collector Forums

Forums like Antique Bottles Collectors Haven connect sellers with knowledgeable collectors interested in antique glass bottles and jars. Users can post “For Sale” listings.

Auction Houses

Companies like Rago Auctions and Glass Works Auctions can include rare Aunt Jemima bottles in upcoming sales geared to bottle collectors. This reaches serious buyers willing to pay premium prices.

Flea Markets & Antique Shops

Local vintage and antique retailers may be interested in purchasing old syrup bottles to resell in their shops. Flea markets are also a venue to find buyers.

Factors That Decrease Value

While vintage Aunt Jemima bottles can be valuable, certain factors will greatly diminish their worth:

Chips and Cracks

Even small chips and cracks significantly reduce the value of glass bottles to collectors. Heavily damaged bottles have only nominal value for parts.

Faded Logos

If the Aunt Jemima logo has faded badly it lowers the bottle’s appeal and value. Collectors want vibrant colorful logos.

Rust and Corrosion

Rust around the cap or stained glass from metal corrosion will lower value. Clean bottles are most desirable.

Leaks and Missing Pieces

Bottles with loose or damaged caps that cause leaking will have no value. Missing pieces like labels reduce interest.

Common Clear Glass Bottles

The most common clear pint size Aunt Jemima bottles only sell for a few dollars unless they are very early editions. Scarce bottles are worth more.

Repairs and Damage Restoration

Repairs like gluing cracks or touching up paint reduces collector value. Damage restoration is usually not worth the cost.

Most Valuable Aunt Jemima Bottles for Collectors

Here are some of the most highly sought after and valuable Aunt Jemima bottles for collectors:

First Edition Bottle 1889

The very first Aunt Jemima bottle from 1889 when the syrup was created would be invaluable to collectors. It featured the “Old Aunt Jemima” image. No known examples exist.

Davis Milling Company Bottles 1910s

Early bottles marked with the Davis Milling Company name (the original creators of Aunt Jemima) can sell for over $100.

Cobalt Blue Glass Bottle 1905

Colored glass like cobalt blue is harder to find. A 1905 dated blue glass bottle sold for $380.

Quart Size Bottle 1900

Larger quart size bottles from the early 1900s can get top dollar due to scarcity. They sell for $100+.

Six Gallon Syrup Tin 1900s

Extremely oversized early syrup containers like six gallon tins can fetch prices over $500 in good condition.

1950s Calendar Girl Series

The collectible Calendar Girl Series with pin-up style artwork sells for high prices in good condition.

Unusual Limited Edition Bottles

Rare limited edition anniversary bottles and other unique releases are coveted by serious collectors.

Is it Worth Getting an Empty Bottle Appraised?

For common clear glass Aunt Jemima bottles with minimal value, getting a professional appraisal would not be advised or even an option. However, for more valuable colored glass bottles or early editions in good condition, an appraisal may be worthwhile to verify if the bottle merits selling at a higher premium price.

Auction houses that specialize in bottles and glassware would be the best places to contact to determine if a bottle warrants formal appraisal by one of their experts. Appraisals typically cost $50 or more depending on the complexity.

Sellers would need to consider if an appraisal’s cost is justified by the potential for the bottle to be valued highly enough to recoup the expense through higher selling profits. For most bottles, the time and cost of an appraisal outweighs the benefit. Instead, thoroughly researching sold listings for comparable bottles online is sufficient.

Spotting Reproductions

As the value of vintage Aunt Jemima bottles has increased, reproductions and fakes have appeared for sale online and at flea markets. Here are tips for spotting reproduced bottles:

  • Logo appears too new and vivid
  • Seams and mold marks look too crisp and sharp
  • Glass coloration looks artificially aged
  • Bottles may contain resin or other non-glass materials
  • May find modern bottles trying to mimic antique style
  • Artificial wear like chips or cracks is suspicious

Authenticating through an expert appraiser can help determine if damage or wear is consistent with age. Provenance detailing the bottle’s history helps confirm it is genuine.

Cleaning and Care of Bottles

Proper cleaning and care is essential for preserving and maintaining the value of vintage Aunt Jemima syrup bottles:

Use Gentle Cleaners

Harsh chemicals can damage glass and logos. Use mild dish soap, vinegar, or ammonia. Never scrub hard.

Hand Wash Only

The jostling of a dishwasher can lead to chips and cracks. Bottles should be hand washed gently with a soft rag.

Prevent Chips and Scratches

Always store bottles securely padded in boxes or bubble wrap. Any chips or scratches will significantly reduce value.

Check for Signs of Damage

Inspect bottles closely under light for any cracks, flea bites, abrasions, or weak spots. This can prevent further damage.

Display Out of Direct Sunlight

Light can fade logos and damage old glass over time. Keep bottles in moderate indirect sunlight.

Control Temperature and Humidity

Keep bottles away from heat sources and humidity. Excessive temperature fluctuations can weaken glass.

Is it Legal to Sell Vintage Aunt Jemima Bottles?

It is perfectly legal to sell vintage collectible Aunt Jemima bottles, provided the bottles are genuinely old and not modern reproductions being passed off as antique. As long as bottles are accurately represented for what they are, there are no regulations against selling even bottles bearing imagery that is now considered insensitive or controversial. As an iconic piece of brand history, vintage Aunt Jemima bottles and memorabilia have well-established collector value on the secondary market. Selling authentic bottles as collectibles is considered legal fair use.

However, it would not be legal to use the Aunt Jemima name, logos, or imagery in a way that infringes on the current trademark holder’s intellectual property rights. This means reproducing or replicating Aunt Jemima branding on unauthorized new products or merchandise. Collectible sales must be restricted to legitimately old bottles only. Sellers of vintage bottles should be aware that Aunt Jemima’s trademarks and recipes are still actively used and protected.

The Future Value of Aunt Jemima Bottles

With the Aunt Jemima brand announcing in June 2020 that it planned to change its name and imagery moving forward, the future value of vintage bottles featuring the original logos and racialized depictions has become uncertain.

There are reasons original bottles could appreciate in value as they become emblematic of a bygone era:

  • Limited number in existence
  • No more will be produced
  • Represent lost piece of history
  • Controversy increases interest

However, there are also reasons the value could decline:

  • Considered insensitive relics
  • Lose relevance and nostalgia
  • Decision discourages collectors
  • New branding makes old style obsolete

Much depends on how broader society judges these complex artifacts going forward. For now prices remain stable, but the future is highly uncertain. As with any collectible, values fluctutate over time based on evolving public perceptions.


Vintage Aunt Jemima syrup bottles can be valuable collectibles, especially bottles from the late 1800s and early 1900s in good condition. Bottles sell for anywhere from $20 for common clear versions to over $100 for rare colored glass or early edition examples. However, condition issues like damage, fading, and repairs dramatically lower potential prices. With the Aunt Jemima brand retiring the original imagery, the future value of these bottles for collectors remains to be seen. Sellers need to properly identify and price bottles based on age, condition, and rarity using comparable sold listings. While selling vintage bottles as collectibles is legal, reproducing or misusing Aunt Jemima’s trademark imagery can violate intellectual property law.

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