Collecting – Vintage James Keiller Dundee Marmalade Jars and Crocks

You’ve seen these on Instagram and Pinterest or purchased them at a local vintage market, eBay or Etsy. They are so highly collectible right now. Here’s a brief history of the James Keiller Dundee marmalade jars and crocks.

Back in the 18th Century, the story goes that a ship carrying Seville oranges sought refuge in Dundee Harbor. The lot of oranges was sold to James Keiller whose mother, Janet, decided to make marmalade out of the bounty. Thus, the James Keiller Dundee Marmalade Company was born. Back in the day, it was believed that the pieces of orange peel in the marmalade aided in digestion.

James Keiller’s son, James, Jr. took over the business in the late 1700’s and named the company James Keiller & Sons. The company set up a factory in Guernsey (an island off the coast of Normandy near France). Dundee Marmalade’s popularity grew and by the end of the 19th Century, the marmalade was shipping to all the way to Australia, New Zealand, India and China.The son of James Keiller (Alexander) and grandson (John) ran the company after James Keiller’s death.

Keiller’s Dundee brand of orange marmalade became one of the first brands to be formally registered when the British Trademark Registry Act went into effect in 1876. The firm was acquired by Crosse & Blackwell in the 1920’s and sold again several times after that. The James Keiller & Sons Dundee Marmalade Company ceased to exist in 1992.

So, enough with the history lesson. I’ve gathered some information about the different styles of these marmalade crocks and how you can date yours back to a specific time:

This is one of the older crocks (1862-1873) which you can tell for two reasons: 1) the top of the crock has a curved rim which was used with a cork stopper rather than a screw-on lid. The second is the Prize Medal Label and the date which only includes the year 1862 (newer crocks have the prize medal dates of 1862 and 1873).

The rim on this crock was used with a metal and fabric covered lid. These pre-date the newer screw-on metal lids that you find on most jars today.

This crock (above) is newer as you can tell by the raised rim which accomodates a screw-on metal lid. It also includes the net weight in ounces.

This beauty is one its way to me from Portugal! I hope to have it soon.

I would love to hear about your collection and ways that you display these wonderful marmalade crocks!

Kobey’s Vintage Market – A Review


On Saturday morning I got up (very) early and took to the road to travel to San Diego for the first ever Kobey’s Vintage Market. I live in Orange County so the drive to San Diego took me about one hour.

When I arrived in San Diego I, of course, stopped at Starbucks to fuel up for the vintage market hunt.


Kobey’s has had a swap meet in the parking lot of the old San Diego Sports Arena (now Pechanga Arena) for years. I remember going to this swap meet back in my college days. The vintage market was set off to one side of the parking lot to make it easy for those who just wanted to attend that and not the regular swap meet. The vintage market also had it’s own entrance which made for easy admission (which, by the way, was only $2.00)!


The market opened promptly at 7:00am and the weather was perfect! Overcast and cool – just right for taking your time and not worrying about the hot sun beating down.

Once inside, I immediately found some treasures in the first booth! I collect ironstone as well as vintage English marmalade crocks and was happy to find both an Alfred Meakin ironstone platter as well as a Keiller marmalade crock. Her prices were very fair – no need to bargain here.


The thing about vintage markets is that when you arrive early, a lot of what the seller has available isn’t out yet. They’re still unpacking since they’ve only been allowed in for about two hours and it takes a lot of time to set up a booth (future blog post here). This market was just the right size for being able to walk through the rows a few times to really see everything that was for sale. I’d say, there were about 60-70 sellers at this show.


There were quite a few dealers selling vintage clothing which I’m not interested in but the selection appeared to be vast.


I found one dealer who had the most marvelous collection of smalls – those items you can put together to make a charming vignette. I bought some chandelier crystal pieces, a 1947 edition of Little Women (with colored illustrations inside) and a vintage rolling pin with red painted handles.

Another dealer I found had the cutest little wooden scottie dog which I couldn’t pass up. About the third time I came around to her booth, I spotted a vintage suitcase which I purchased for $10! Some great bargains all around!


These are the treasures I came home with from the Kobey’s Vintage Market. Good news – the market was such a success that they are planning on holding future markets. The next one is on December 7th and I’m always looking for a good excuse to get back to San Diego!