|By Don Johnson
RICHMOND, Mo. — There’s still demand for cast-iron cookware, which has been a mainstay with collectors for generations. About 900 lots of cast iron were sold by Simmons & Co. Auctioneers on June 21-22.
“I think the market’s very strong,” said Rilla Simmons. She and her husband, Bob, own the auction business and have specialized in cast-iron cookware for decades. “If there’s any softness in it, it’s in the lower end and middle. Good stuff is still good and still sells well.”
When it comes to cast-iron cookware, Griswold remains the brand most heavily collected, with hard-to-find pieces bringing premium prices. The top lot among the Griswold was a No. 4 Vienna roll pan, variation 4, numbered “No. 4” and “957.” It sold for $3,000. “This is very rare, not many known among the collecting community,” the catalog noted. A variation 3 of the same roll pan realized $1,300.
There was no buyer’s premium for floor buyers. Internet buyers paid a 20 percent premium that is not included in these results.
Size continues to make a difference in value, with large examples bringing steady interest. A Griswold No. 13 skillet with heat ring, EPU (Erie, Pa., U.S.A.), large block letters, numbered 720, sold for $1,900. An identical example with large slant letters brought $1,050. A Griswold No. 14 skillet, EPU, large slant letters, with heat ring, numbered 718, made $420; and a Griswold No. 20 skillet, EPU, large block letters, with heat ring, numbered 728, was $600.
Even an unusual lid can command spirited bidding. A Griswold No. 15 oval skillet cover, EPU, slant block letters, lettered “Self Basting” and numbered 1013, sold for $1,250, while a Griswold No. 14 skillet cover, EPU, large block letters, numbered 474, with 1920 and 1925 patent dates, was $360. A Griswold loaf pan cover, block letters, numbered 859, sold for $900.
Other top-selling lots of Griswold included a Hearts & Star No. 50 muffin pan, EPU, slant letters, numbered 959 and with a 1920 patent date, at $725; No. 2 skillet, EPU, large block letters, with heat ring, numbered 703, $600; No. 6 muffin pan, variation 6, EPU, numbered 944, $475; toy griddle, World’s Fair lettering, $450; No. 7 oval roaster or Dutch oven with trivet and lid, raised letters, $375; and a No. 5 skillet, EPU, large block letters, with heat ring, was $350.
While Griswold was expected to be strong, the Favorite Piqua Ware brought some of the more surprising bids. The best included a set of 13 skillets, No. 1 through No. 13, that realized $3,200. A toy waffle iron, lettered “Favorite-Piqua-Ware ’Favorite’ Stoves & Ranges We Guarantee ’Best in the World,’” sold for $2,300. A No. 1 toy Dutch oven with lid was $500.
“For some reason the Piqua Ware from Ohio was especially strong,” said Simmons. “There is a more limited supply of it than there is of Griswold and Wagner. Griswold always had the cachet of a Porsche.”
The best of the Wagner was a fondue pot in porcelain over cast iron, no markings, which brought $700. “It is said only five of these were made and they never went into production. This is the only known one in porcelain, so it could be a lunch hour piece,” the catalog noted.
A Wagner four-piece child’s set, stylized logo, having two skillets (1365 and 1367), a griddle (1370) and a skillet lid sold for $550; square skillet and lid, numbered 1218, $170; No. 10 skillet, marked with the pie logo, numbered 1060, $150; square skillet with cover, Chicken Fryer, numbered 1400, $145; and a Bundt pan was $120.
Wagner in aluminum, all with the stylized logo, included a bread or loaf pan, numbered 383, at $130; 1-pint funnel, $120; and a tall cup, numbered 406, at $100.
Throughout the auction, buyers paid less attention to readily available items. “There doesn’t seem to be a lot of tremendous interest in what anyone can find at the local garage sale,” said Simmons.
However, there was increased demand for groupings of skillets, a trend that has continued for the past several years. “We were very surprised how strong stacks of skillets were,” Simmons noted. “There were dealers there and they were, of course, wanting to buy (for resale), but they didn’t get a lot bought. If I was thinking a good stack of lower-end skillets would bring $50, they were bringing $100 and $150.”
Next up for Simmons & Co. Auctioneers is a three-day sale of Keen Kutter/Simmons Hardware items, the collection of the late Paul Keener of Carlisle, Pa. The auction will be Sept. 19-21 at Richmond, Mo. with online bidding available through Proxibid.
For more information about any Simmons auction, phone (816) 776-2936 or visit www.SimmonsAuction.com.