Sunday, January 30, 2011

Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #2 Rare Antique

I noticed two really nice cast iron pans at Value Village some time back. As you regular readers know, I'm usually on the lookout for the enamelled stuff, so I generally don't know much about bare cast iron pieces. I had, however, heard of Griswold and Wagner's history and knew that the companies were quite old and well known.

The smaller skillet was $6 and seemed to be a great size for frying up one or two eggs in the morning. The back of the pan reads:

Cast Iron Skillet
Erie, PA., U.S.A.

When I returned home and started doing some research on the pieces, I was surprised to find that I had purchased a rare, hard to find, and collectable Griswold skillet. The font and markings on the logo identify this piece as one created in either the 1920s or 1930s. My pan would be referred to by a collector as a "Griswold No. 2 Skillet, Pan Number 703, Smooth Bottom, Block Logo, EPU." The last item refers to the factory located in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA.

On ebay, I found several examples of this exact pan which sold for between $200-$400. The smooth bottom refers to the lack of a heat ring, a raised circle found on Griswold pans manufactured before the 1920's.  The same size pan of the older vintage with a heat ring fetches around $1,000 more.

I have learned that it is important for these antique pans to be flat and unwarped by the burdens of cooking over high heat. One of the tests used to confirm flatness involves sliding a $1 US bill around the perimeter of the pan's underside. I'm happy to report that this pan has good bones and is nice and flat on the bottom.

I can't believe that my $6 skillet is worth about 50 times what I paid for it! I am a bit confused as to why the #2 Griswold Skillet 703 is so important to collectors. I am speculating that perhaps fewer of the small pans were produced - maybe they were seen as being less practical than the larger pieces?

UPDATE: See the other skillet I purchased at Griswold Cast Iron Skillets Part II and read more about finding vintage pans yourself. I'll also let you know what my plan is with these antique pieces!

Linking to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday


  1. Congratulations on your find. I occasionally check the bottom of cast iron pans at the thrift, but have never found anything special. Imagine $1,000 for a small pan. I love old things, but that seems a bit crazy to me.

  2. Wow, I didn't know much of anything about cast iron pans so this was very informative. Now I will be looking at the bottom of those pans in the thrifts.

  3. What a great find! I am always tempted to buy cast iron pans, no matter what kind of condition they are in, just because I like them. They feel so homey to me.

  4. I love cast iron skillets, but mostly because my mom is an avid cooker and has about a hundred of them...but I never realized the collectables. This was such an informative post & I'll definitely be on the lookout for Griswold & Wagners from now on. Amazing find...KUDOS!

  5. I knew about Griswold pans, and I keep an eye out for them, but I didn't realize that some were so valuable! We were just picking them up to use, but now I'm gonna have to keep a closer eye out for them.

  6. There's definitely a wide range of prices within Griswold sizes and ages. I'll try to talk a bit more about that in the next post and also touch on Wagners and vintage cast iron in general.

  7. Great post- never really gave cast iron a second thought before!
    What an awesome return on your $6!

  8. Came over from Selena's Thrift Share. :) Oh nice find! Yes, some of the Griswolds are worth a bunch. Looks like yours may be in nice shape, too. I love my cast-iron pans.

  9. Wow, tons of great information. I found a Griswold cast dutch oven at my GW last year for $7.99. Resold it for $70. I always keep an eye out for these but haven't been fortunate enough to find another. Thanks for the great post!

  10. It is definitely amazing to think of all the valuable things that get thrown out by people. Think of the stuff that doesn't make it to Goodwill or get donated to other charities...

    I've updated a new post with more info on Griswold for those of you who are interested!


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