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Ask Mary: Value of cast iron collection – Where to start?

Ask Mary: Value of cast iron collection – Where to start?

I received a note from Tammy of Shepherdsville, Kentucky via the contact form about learning about and valuing a collection of vintage and antique cast iron cookware.

Tammy wrote:

“My dad was an Griswold and Wagner collector and I do mean a lot of stuff I am wanting to know which book I should buy the red or blue book I [saw] there was a muffin one also. I have quite a lot of muffin pans do I need all 3 to research to sell and are the prices current in these books…”

Well Tammy, it sounds like you have your hands full of wonderful vintage and antique pieces of cast iron cookware!

When I first heard from Tammy, I replied and told her that I typically recommend starting with the Blue book. If you have a lot of muffin and gem pans you are trying to identify, the Muffin book by Jon Haussler is a great resource. It is aimed at Griswold pieces, however; if your muffin pans are not Griswold it will not be of great benefit.

The Red book was the second book put out by David Smith and Chuck Wafford. It enhances and elaborates upon materials in the Blue book, and has a greater focus on Wagner-made pieces.

Prices in the books are not current. In my years of vintage cast iron selling and buying, I have seen prices fluctuate up and down. Value, to me, is what people are currently paying for a piece. It isn’t what someone asks for the piece; it is what it actually sells for.

You can learn more about setting the value of a piece here; including how to find sold listings for the past 90 days on eBay. Another option would be to bring the collection to an auction house that knows vintage and antique cast iron cookware, like the Simmons Auction Company or Dinky’s Auction House. That would let the market set the value. Yet another option would be to retain a person who knows the value of vintage and cast iron cookware to evaluate the collection and give you an opinion as to fair market value.

I hope you find this information helpful, Tammy – good luck!

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