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Browsing my way through an elderly neighbor’s garage sale, I discover a 1970s-era Pyrex baking dish that brings me straight back to my grandmother’s kitchen — and the casseroles she used to pull from the oven.
Perhaps this nostalgia factor explains why this vintage kitchenware is making a comeback among younger generations. On TikTok, the hashtag #vintagepyrex is up to 301,000 views just in the last month, with 28 million tuning in over time. And according to TikTok, about 41% of people using that hashtag are under 35.
But while it might be trendy at the moment, the truth is, the interest in old Pyrex isn’t especially new.
“Pyrex is a mainstay with collectors,” says Dr. Lori, the Ph.D. antiques appraiser on the History Channel’s “The Curse of Oak Island,” Discovery Channel’s “Auction Kings” and Netflix’s “King of Collectibles.”
It’s a well-known brand with a reputation for quality — and Pyrex produced a number of limited edition pieces that were only made for a short time. That makes them like catnip for collectors.
Collecting old Pyrex and other vintage kitchenware is also fun because you don’t have to go to an antique dealer to find it. Garage sales, flea markets and your grandparents’ attic are all likely places to hunt for pieces that might be valuable.
How can you tell what’s worth money, and what’s just … old?
“When looking at vintage and antique items, be sure to do a little research to determine if you’ve got the real deal or a good reproduction,” says Willow Wright, an an antique curator and the owner of Urban Redeux in Alexandria, Virginia. “Condition of the piece will also have an impact on the ultimate value.”
Here are some specific pieces that might earn you some money.
Prices are going up on rare Pyrex because of good old supply and demand.
“Pie plates, baking dishes and other items of this durable line are getting more and more difficult to collect,” says Dr. Lori. “The market loves these items and people pay a pretty penny for them.”
Patterned dishware is particularly sought after, with some of the most valuable being the turquoise diamond pattern, the snowflake pattern and the Cinderella Pattern.
Prices vary based on rarity and condition, of course. Right now, eBay is selling a set of four vintage Pyrex mixing bowls for $295.
2. Cast Iron Cookware
“Cast iron cookware is particularly trendy at the moment,” says Nicolas Martin, the founder of Flea Market Insiders. He notes that this type of cookware was widely abandoned when modern kitchens started using electric stoves, but that recently more and more households are turning back to it.
According to Martin, renowned brands tend to be most valuable, especially for collectors and enthusiasts of vintage kitchenware.
“These pieces are usually marked with the brand name, ‘Griswold’ or ‘Wagner,’ often along with a location (like Erie, Pennsylvania, for Griswold) and sometimes a patent date,” says Martin.
And obviously, the condition of the pieces is important.
“Well-maintained cast iron cookware that retains its original seasoning (the non-stick surface built up through use and care) and that has minimal rust or damage can fetch higher prices,” he tells us.
Etsy is currently selling a Griswold cast iron skillet for $4,999.99.
“CorningWare, particularly the 1970s patterns, are all the rage with collectors now,” says Dr. Lori. “The La Marjolaine pattern is one of the most popular and so is the late 20th-century pattern called French white, which looks like France country baking dishes.”
In fact, you can find one of these La Marjolaine CorningWare dishes being listed at $2,500 right now on Etsy.
The first pattern CorningWare issued was blue cornflower, which was also one of its most popular. It’s easy to find, as it was reissued in 2017 due to its popularity — but some collectors may still want the older versions. Two other popular patterns among collectors are the wildflower and floral bouquet designs.
4. Green Uranium Glassware
Dr. Lori says she is seeing lots of interest in uranium glass, which is also known as Vaseline glass. It has a characteristic green glowing color, but it can be difficult to verify the authenticity without exposing the glass to ultraviolet light. Dr. Lori uses a black light, which you can buy on Amazon for under $20.
The most valuable uranium glass tends to come from big-name brands like Fenton and Anchor Hocking, but that also means it might be more expensive. This uranium glass refrigerator dish is selling for $98.49 on Etsy.
“Blue Opaline glassware is also incredibly valuable,” says Wright.
She notes that a single Portieux Vallerysthal wine glass fetches over $100 on the resale market. A seller on Etsy is currently offering a set of four for $256.
5. Antique Silverware
Sixty years ago, good silverware was considered a very valuable wedding gift. Today, people are more likely to ask for an air fryer or a Vitamix blender. But that antique silverware holds its value for collectors.
“Even if silverware doesn’t have the same value as it did in the days of our grandparents and parents, it’s no less interesting from a financial point of view,” Martin says. “Their resale price is linked not only to the price of silver, but also to the originality of the utensil itself, its functionality, and the finesse of its construction.”
The older the set, the pricier. This incomplete antique silverware set from Tiffany & Co. is listed for $1,400 on eBay.
6. Waterford Crystal
“Cut crystal by Waterford can be very valuable,” says Dr. Lori.
Other manufacturers can garner high prices, as can American Brilliant-cut crystal pieces like bowls, tumblers, glasses and punch bowls, she says.
Dr. Lori adds that when you’re considering whether your crystal is profitable, look for clarity, an ability to catch the light and a silvery sheen.
This antique set of Waterford Crystal Champagne stemware is selling for $335 on Chairish.
7. Limoges Plates
If you have or come across Limoges plates made in France by firms like Tressemanes and Vogt or Haviland, you may have some valuable pieces on your hands.
“They can be decorated with hand painting, gold leaf or in various patterns,” says Dr. Lori. “Full sets bring the most value.”
The condition of a Limoges piece is very important when you’re looking to sell it. It should have a strong, hard-paste porcelain body and detailed, hand-painted designs. It should also have a fine glaze.
Right now, you can buy a set of 10 Limoges plates on Etsy for $348.75.
8. Vintage Tupperware
Vintage Tupperware from the 1970s has achieved an iconic status, especially among nostalgic millennials, and “enjoys a cult following among enthusiasts today,” says Martin.
You see it popping up on e-commerce platforms dedicated to vintage items, and it’s widely offered on eBay and Etsy for prices that are obviously higher than what the owners originally paid. Right now, Etsy is selling a five-piece set of Funky Chunky 70s Boho Tupperware (with all lids included) for $55.
9. Vintage Small Appliances
Retro appliances like vintage toasters, refrigerators, and blenders can fetch a good price, especially if they are in working condition.
“Today’s kitchens are a throwback to the 1950s, with the emergence of re-editions of iconic objects that populated kitchens in those days,” Martin says.
Some companies, like Smeg, have even created new appliance lines in a 1950s style featuring rounded shapes and bright colors. But Martin says, “purists will still prefer the 1950s originals.”
A vintage Sunbeam toaster in used condition recently sold for $100 on eBay.
Do you have some hidden treasures in your kitchen?
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.