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Real and Reproduction Griswold Skillet Racks

Real and Reproduction Griswold Skillet Racks

You’ve stumbled across an awesome-looking rack marked “Griswold” at a flea market or antique store. You’re thrilled because the price is $40. You’ve seen Griswold racks sell on eBay for more than $100.

griswold vintage advertisement advertising skillet rack stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
The rack was included as a “bonus” with the purchase of a set of Griswold skillets. From the collection of Larry and Marg O’Neil of Tacoma, Washington.

Reproduction Griswold Racks

Before you spend any of your hard-earned cash, you need to determine whether the rack you are considering is an authentic rack made by Griswold or a reproduction made by Colonial Tin Works.

In around 2004 Colonial Tin Works reproduced the Griswold racks and advertised them in Antique Trader for sale. They were billed as an “outstanding reproduction” and sold wholesale only; $14.90 for two. 1

The Griswold racks were not the only collectible pieces reproduced by Colonial Tin Works back in the day. Although I was unable to locate the actual ad for the reproduction “Griswold” racks from Antique Trader archives,2 I did find another Antique Trader ad from Colonial Tin Works offering reproduction antique Christmas decorations for sale to wholesalers. It was published in the November 10, 2004 edition.

Colonial Tin Works advertisement for reproduction holiday ornaments published in the November 10, 2004 edition of Antique Trader. Reprinted with the permission of Antique Trader.

Fantasy Pieces vs. Reproductions

I’ve written before about the danger of so-called “fantasy pieces.” A fantasy piece can be loosely defined as a situation where a company or person makes a reproduction of an authentic piece and doesn’t advertise it as authentic. The danger, of course, that when the piece changes hands, it may be billed as authentic and an unsuspecting buyer can be taken.

In this instance, Colonial Tin Works clearly billed the rack as an “outstanding reproduction of a rare Griswold fry pan display.” It thus could be considered a “fantasy piece.” However, as with the Griswold “silver pup” scandal, the reproduction rack consistently pops up for sale and is billed as an authentic Griswold rack.

Is it Authentic or a Reproduction?

How can you tell whether the rack you are examining is an authentic Griswold or one of the fantasy pieces made by Colonial Tin Works?

Here’s an eBay listing that attempts to inform potential purchasers of the way to tell an authentic Griswold rack from the reproduction. This is a very clever listing. Hopefully, it catches the attention of potential buyers of the reproductions!

Authentic Griswold Rack

Here are photos of an authentic Griswold skillet rack.3

griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real

Reproduction Griswold Skillet Rack

It wasn’t hard to find photos of the reproduction skillet rack. A quick google search for “Griswold skillet rack” turned up plenty of reproductions.

Here are photos from a “Live Auctioneers” listing of a reproduction rack. The listing says that it sold for $200.

griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad

Here is another fake Griswold rack; from Worthpoint. Selling price unknown.

griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad

What to look for

  • The size of the rubber feet covers. They are not always present on old racks, as the old rubber could crack and fall off. If the original rubber feet covers are present, the original authentic rack has shorter black rubber feet. The reproduction racks have longer rubber feet covers. This is not determinative, however, as the original feet covers could have fallen off and been replaced by a prior owner.
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad rubber feet
Authentic rack rubber feet covers
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad rubber feet
Reproduction rack rubber feet covers
  • The Griswold pattern number – 1054 – is present on the back of the nameplate of the authentic rack, as well as “PATENT APPLD. FOR.” It is not present on the reproduction.
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
Rear of name plate on authentic rack.
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
Rear of name plate on reproduction rack.
  • A magnet will stick to the nameplate on the authentic rack. A magnet will not stick to the nameplate of the reproduction.
  • The cross bars on the reproductions have “globs” at each end where they attach. These globs are not present on an authentic Griswold rack.
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
Note the lack of “globs” where the cross bars attach on the authentic rack.
griswold skillet rack cover lid metal wire patent applied for appld authentic reproduction fake how much cost price 1054 real vintage advertisement advertising stand cast iron real authentic reproduction cost price how much value fake fantasy ad
Globs where the crossbars attach on the reproduction rack.

And there you have it. With your newfound expertise in telling a reproduction Griswold rack from an authentic one, you’ll be a savvy shopper!

  1. A copy of the advertisement is pictured on a page in the forum of the Wagner and Griswold Society – one of the two cast iron collector’s groups in the United States.
  2. Many thanks to Karen Knapstein, then-editor of Antique Trader, for her efforts in trying to help me locate the original ad.
  3. Photos courtesy etsy seller AppleysVintage. Used with permission.

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