The American Toby Jug Museum is home to more than 8,000 Toby and Character jugs, and related derivatives from around the globe. The collection spans the Centuries and features characters representing the times in which they were made, from the oldest dating back to the 1760’s to the most recent ones still in production. It is the largest collection in the world, and is on display and open to the public at The American Toby Jug Museum in Evanston, Illinois.
The Museum was founded by Stephen Mullins, who began collecting more than 65 years ago when he was just 13 years old. This was the beginning of a lifetime passion of learning about and collecting Toby and Character Jugs.
His collection resided in his home until 1985, when he moved 800 pieces to his office in downtown Chicago and eventually to the British Collectibles Shop in Evanston when his pieces numbered only 1,500.
In the fall of 2005, British Collectibles moved and the American Toby Jug Museum opened its own space. It now features 100 cabinets in a 4,000 square-foot museum setting and is arranged and displayed according to time period, manufacturer and category, such as military, political, holiday and advertising mugs. It also hosts the world’s largest Toby Jug, which stands at 39" high.
Stephen Mullins continues to seek new pieces to add to the museum, scouring the Internet and relying on scouts in England, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other parts of the world. He is considered the worldwide expert on Toby and Character Jugs, answering queries from around the globe. He and a colleague have written the definitive book and price guide on 20th century Toby and Character Jugs and followed that up with the comprehensive volume, A Century of Royal Doulton Character and Toby Jugs, complete with companion price guide. For 2013, they have produced a 64 page Supplement to the Royal Doulton book.
The museum also has commissioned a number of jugs, the latest being John F. Kennedy from Royal Doulton.