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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Manolo Blahnik Campari Mary Jane Shoes at Thrift Store!

When zipping about a thrift store, I usually go straight for the household section and bypass all the clothing racks. During one particular visit to Value Village, I passed the shoe section on my way and decided to roam around.

Amongst the racks of various shoes, all with different shapes, sizes, and condition, I noticed the bottom of a shoe peering over the shelf. It had a tall stilleto heel with a leather sole.

Yes. It was a pair of patent Manolo Blahniks priced for sale at $12.99. I was sort of shocked for a minute, thinking of blogs I had read where people made these insane discoveries of valuable items at thrift stores. I picked up the pair of shoes and checked it out. They were in pretty good condition with a buttery leather interior and authentic looking Manolo Blahnik label.


I don't consider myself a pro thrift reseller so I wasn't quite sure what to do. I knew the shoes I was looking at were of some value but honestly, I don't know much about designer shoes.  After much debating I put the shoes back on the shelf and headed home empty-handed...

When I went home and tried finding the shoes online, I realized that these were the Manolo Blahnik Campari shoes that were talked about on a Sex and the City episode (which I clearly had not seen). It turns out that the girls were denying the existence of a hot Mary Jane shoe that a grown woman could wear, and of course, these Manolos busted the myth. Neiman Marcus stores carry this shoe for $645.

Having seen the button closure detail on these stock photos and realizing that they looked exactly like the Value Village model, I went back the next morning to see if the shoes would still be there. Obviously someone beat me to the punch!

Every now and then, I can't resist taking a quick glance in the shoe section to look for hidden gems. Since missing those beauties, I have also seen a vintage pair of Chanel flats in aqua and red, and a pair of vintage Salvatore Ferragamo white ballet flats at thrift stores, neither of which I have bought.

In hindsight, I'm not sure I would have been able to find a good home for those shoes. I have some small doubts about their authenticity - for example, the shoes I saw were white patent leather, and I'm not sure the Campari shoe was ever made in white. I might have wasted $13 on a pair of decently made fakes.

What would you have done??

UPDATE: I should mention that I scored a great pair of Vintage Bally Peep Toe Pumps for $5 to help ease the pain... The best part? They fit perfectly! Read all about it here!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pyrex Butterfly Gold Store and Serve Casserole

I've added another Pyrex piece to my collection in the Butterfly Gold pattern! The colours on this piece make me think of Autumn, which seems so far away.

The Store and Serve pieces are some of my favourite from the Pyrex series. I like the fact that they have lids and stack up so easily. I love making my spinach dips in these, because it's so easy to stick them in the fridge to store.

I purchased this bowl and lid at Value Village for $5.99. Not a bad price for the pristine condition!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Le Creuset or Cousances Au Gratin Casserole

Amongst the many vintage items that I love to find, I covet Le Creuset pieces the most. They last a lifetime (or more), look great, and inspire me to try new recipes in the kitchen. I recently won an ebay auction for a Flame coloured vintage Au Gratin casserole dish.

I purchased this casserole dish for $10 before shipping charges, which I thought was a great deal. The larger version of this enamelled cast iron piece currently sells for $140 on Amazon.

Here comes the but... The underside of the pan is marked with the measurement across the pan in centimetres, with the number 20 in a diamond. It also reads "Made in France". It does not, however, have any markings indicating that it is a Le Creuset piece.

The seller, rightfully so, made no references to the brand, identifying only the markings that are visible. The piece came from an estate sale where the seller also bought a Descoware pan. Of the companies that produced enamelled cast iron in the flame colour, I believe there was only Descoware, Cousances, and Le Creuset. Descoware pieces however, are marked "Made in Belgium".

I have read some forums which discuss identification of fake Le Creuset pieces. Some have phoned their customer service line, where Le Creuset has confirmed three specific items always noted on the underside of their pieces:  1) Number representing the size in cm, 2) Made in France, and 3) Le Creuset.

I believe what I have here is a vintage Cousances Au Gratin piece. Cousances items simply had stickers indicating their brand on unmarked pots. In the 1950s when Le Creuset purchased Cousances, I can imagine some transition period where pieces used Cousances molds without having the new Le Creuset brand name stamped onto them.  The other indicator for me is the size tag within the diamond shape, which you see in many of the midcentury Le Creuset-marked pieces.

Either way, I'm happy with the great condition of the pan and the $10 cost. I'm quite sure I'll come up with some new recipes for roast potatoes or my tried and true garlic prawns with havarti cheese...

Linking to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kathie Winkle Teacup Saucers and Dinner Plates!

Our friends J&R piqued my interest recently about vintage tableware designed by Kathie Winkle. Working for the Broadhurst pottery company, she started her career as a painter and eventually went on to design over one hundred patterns between 1958 to 1978.

I came upon some teacups and saucers in the pastel green and blue Corinth pattern at my local Salvation Army thrift store. Believe it or not, it was near the end of a 50% off day, and nobody picked these beauties up! I scooped up each teacup for a dollar, and each saucer for 50 cents.

These Broadhurst lines of tableware included dinner plates, side plates, teacups, saucers, bowls, and teapots. Each line used the same basic ceramic foundation pieces, had a black and white pattern printed on them, and were hand painted before glazing. The handpainted finish is so charming, as some of the "imperfections" give each piece individuality.

I am really glad I decided to buy them, because they were a bit of a mystery when I first saw them. You see, the teacups are only embossed with "ENGLAND" on the underside, and the saucers read "Ironstone Broadhurst Staffordshire England Handpainted Underglaze, Colour Detergent and Dishwasher Proof". No mention of Kathie Winkle, but I suspect this is because the size of a saucer plate doesn't allow room for her swirly signature. I do know that Corinth is a KW design however, because it appears in The Designs of Kathie Winkle book.

A few days later, I found a couple more Kathie Winkle pieces at a Value Village. This time, there was no mistaking what I was looking at - the distinctive Kathie Winkle signature was noted on the back of the plates, and I picked the two up for $3.50.

Now that I've had time to admire these pieces, I like them even more than when I first saw them! My main problem is that I have only two teacups, five saucers, and two dinnerplates. It's definitely not enough to make a set, so I'll have to think of something to do with them... Any suggestions?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pyrex Aqua Blue Scroll Promotional Bowl

My cup runneth over! I am very happy to report (while knocking on wood) that I have discovered another Pyrex Promotional piece. This time it was a $5 score at my neighbourhood Value Village, a turquoise coloured Blue Scroll Cinderella Bowl!

Doesn't it look great stacked with some of my other favourite Pyrex pieces? I have my Christmas-present Pyrex Dandelion Divided Dish and Pyrex Delphite Casserole supporting their new friend.

This Blue Scrolls bowl is from 1959 and I understand that it was originally sold with a clear glass dome lid and brass stand with candleholder. None of the accessories came with this great piece, but I was so happy to discover this bowl. When I caught a glimpse of its beautiful colour, I thought I was looking at the Balloons Chip and Dip set, then quickly realized it was a pattern I was not familiar with.

Pyrex also had a Green Scrolls pattern which had a similar motif in gold on a minty sage green background which is also stunning. I'm so glad they made a promotional piece with a variation of that pattern as this has quickly become one of my favourite Pyrex finds of all time!

Linking to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vintage Joy of Cooking Book, 1964 Edition

When I'm whipping something up in the kitchen, I tend to add ingredients based on what seems right. I like the idea of finding a recipe and using it as a backbone from which to experiment. I had never really known much about "The Joy of Cooking" by Rombauer and Becker, other than how Julia Child had it in her kitchen!

I found a 1964 edition a couple of weeks ago at a Value Village in the suburbs for $3.50. It's in quite good shape! I figured I could refine my cooking methods and learn a few things as it is chock full of recipes. The inside cover gives a few pointers on symbols found throughout the recipes.

The book was first published in 1931 after Irma Rombauer lost her husband and wrote to cope with her loss and earn some money. The cute drawings in the book have such a homemade quality to them and really adds to the charm.

Both that fondue pot and saucepan sure look like vintage Le Creuset!  It has been a while since I've found a nice book at the thrift. I was really happy with my pair of Jane Eyre books but this is my first vintage cookbook.

I will say that I most certainly will not be needing the pointers identified on Page 453, which discuss "small game" and details how to skin a squirrel. Yes, there are sketches involved. I must also share that Page 454 provides cooking and stuffing instructions for, yes, raccoon. Yeeps!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vintage Aqua Sugar Jar and Egg Beater

I have collected a few items in the beautiful shade of turquoise or aqua blue lately and I love them!

Cookie Monster really brings out the colour in everything. =) To be honest I'm not sure how much egg beating one needs to do to have such an efficient hand crank kitchen tool. I have to say that the rotor wheel looks pretty neat though. Both this piece and the sugar jar are marked "Made in Canada".

It was the handle that drew me to the jar. I think it'll look great when I clean it up and fill it with some nice white sugar. The jar has the "Androck" brand marking on it, which I've seen on several other kitchen goodies.

Each of these items were $2 and will provide a nice splash of colour in the kitchen. What brightens up the winter blahs in your kitchen?

Linking to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Vintage Wooden Coat Hangers

I came upon three old wooden coat hangers at the hospice thrift store a few months back, and for some reason, just fell in love. I snatched them up and the volunteer behind the counter said, 10¢ each ok?

My favourite one reads "Dominion Laundry and Drycleaning, Vancouver, B.C."  It also reads 1903 but it can't be that old, can it? I assumed perhaps that's the year Dominion Laundry started their business. Regardless, I thought it was neat that drycleaners back in the day gave you a wooden hanger with their business name imprinted on it. A vast improvement over our current wire models with paper advertisements.

Today was my last day at a job I loved for almost seven years. It was really tough to hang 'em up and say goodbye to people who made the place feel like a second home. I can't wait to see what awaits me at my next adventure, but right now I am wistful about days gone by.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mid Century Modern Chair - Craigslist Miss

Here's another lament about a great find on Craigslist that I missed out on! After scoring this great Royal Blue Velvet Chair in November, I started hunting around for other great accent pieces. I came upon this beautiful teal upholstered vintage chair with teak armrests and legs.

I love those tufted buttons on the back, and the great condition and colour of the chair. Swoon worthy! Listed at $70, I think this would have been a great buy. Apparently others that beat me to it thought so too! The seller was gracious enough to send me a high-res photo so I could share it with all of you.
As an aside, normally I cringe at the term "Mid Century Modern". You see, as a frequent Craigslist searcher looking for vintage goodies, I find that many sellers use that term without restraint since they know it has a lot of appeal. I hope I am not using it in the wrong context here, or I might be guilty of misusing the term myself!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Vintage Made in Holland Cups

I have a distant memory of using an avocado plastic cup-holder with disposable thin plastic cup "inserts". I believe these were old Tupperware but can't recall much more than that. We used to take them on road trips with my family, and I was reminded of them when I came across these cute colourful cups made in Holland.

I purchased these three Dutch cups in perfect condition for $1.50. I think they're shaped a bit like fragile eggs with their rounded bottoms; in fact their shape reminds me of the stemless Riedel wine glasses.

The green, brown and orange colours are so similar to Tupperware pieces we had in the 80s. Does anybody know these cups I'm thinking about?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...