Find out how to Thrift Store for Classic Griswold Forged Iron Cookware


Anna Mente /

Shopping from thrift stores, flea markets, and property sales can be overwhelming. Given the sheer volume of things, how do you know where to start? How do you spot gemstones in the middle of all the junk?

As a professional reseller who has been combing thrift stores for over 30 years, I can help. When you’re ready to cut your shopping time in half, catch bigger bargains, or walk away with boastful finds to trade for cash, read on.

From hard-to-find household items to resale money, anything shown on my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” series qualifies as a BOLO (“be in search of”) item. If you find it, buy it!

Recommended find: Griswold cast iron cookware

Every thrift store has one – that weird section of discarded baking trays, random lids, and assorted kitchenware that is too big to put on a shelf. This strange area is where I sometimes find treasure – rusty, crispy Griswold cast iron cookware.

Founded in 1865 in Erie, Pennsylvania as Selden-Griswold Manufacturing Co., the company made hinges, thimbles, and other household items. By the 1870s, production had shifted to cast iron pots, pans and waffle irons.

Over the decades, Griswold has built a reputation for making some of the highest quality cast iron products in the world. To meet demand, Dutch ovens, roasters, tea kettles and a wider range of pots and pans have been added to the product line.

Faced with increasing competition and financial pressures, the company was sold to an investment group in the 1940s. After that, the brand changed hands several times and was briefly owned by another iconic manufacturer of cast iron cookware – Wagner. In the 1950s, the original Griswold factory in Erie closed.

Why buy

With a successful combination of great materials and simple design, Griswold is the epitome of functionality and durability. That is one of the reasons why it is still highly valued by collectors and chefs. Imagine buying a pan or casserole and knowing that it will last for generations, not just years.

The resale market for Griswold is just as long-lived; Year after year, buyers are willing to pay for authentic, early pieces. An extremely rare # 13 Griswold pan recently sold for $ 2,750 on eBay, and a # 1 Wiener Bread Pan sold for $ 1,259.

If you are interested in reselling Griswold pieces for a profit, some of the more common pieces of Griswold may be well worth your time. In 2020 I found a # 9 Griswold pan for $ 3.99 and flipped it over for $ 155.

Professional type: Griswold pieces usually have a number on the top of the handle or the bottom. The numbers are size indicators (although the dimensions of parts with the same number can sometimes vary).

Kentin Waits / News of Money Talks

Look what

Griswold is well marked and the many iterations of the logo make dating pretty easy. You can find the mark on the bottom of each piece.

The most common version includes a cross or a plus sign in a double circle. The name “Griswold” appears on the horizontal bar of the cross either in capital letters or in italics.

The Griswold logo can often be obscured by rust or grease deposits. In the used market, many pieces are simply ignored because the brand is not visible. This is good news for eagle-eyed bargain hunters.

Reproduction warning: There was an increase in Griswold counterfeits from China in the 1980s. While it can be difficult to see at times, avoid griswolds with poor cast quality, a rough cooking surface, or a logo that is “fuzzy” or not well defined.

Whether you are shopping for personal use or for resale, look for pieces that:

  • Place it flat without wobbling
  • No pitting (pitting is a form of corrosion that creates small voids in the metal)
  • Have a warming ring: Preferred by collectors, warming rings raise pans and pans so that the food cooks more evenly.

Professional type: Although not recommended for most antiques, cleaning cast iron cookware thoroughly can add value. The reprocessing process is demonstrated step by step in this video. To remove light surface rust easily, try the method outlined in “11 Secret Uses For Everyday Items That Save Money”.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation when you click on links in our stories.

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