I had the chance to visit with my cast iron collecting friend, Harold R. Henry of Hamilton Missouri, in late December 2023. When digging through some of his massive collection, I ran across an auction catalog from 2002. Harold had written the selling price for the various pieces next to the auction listing. It was very interesting to me to look at the prices and see how and if they differed from prices today.
Keep in Mind…
eBay’s Impact on Pricing
eBay came into being in 1995, and grew exponentially in popularity and use thereafter. I remember the first time I heard of eBay. An acquaintance at work showed it to me some time in 2000 or 2001. In any event, the point is that once eBay (and other selling sites) came into being, it was easier to find particular vintage pieces.
When did eBay really begin to take off with sales of vintage and antique collector’s items? I don’t know.
I do know that prior to the advent of eBay, it was harder to find specific collectible pieces. Collectors had to rely on printed advertising, “sale” ads, in-person auctions, and hunts through antique stores.
eBay not only made scarce pieces easier to acquire, it increased competition in the market. That competition would naturally drive down prices – scarcity generally means higher prices paid.
In addition to considering the possible but unknown general availability of online sales at the time of this 2002 auction, remember that we do not know the condition of the pieces that were offered at the auction. We don’t have clear photos, and we don’t know whether the pieces were cleaned and without defect, etc. It does appear that all pieces were from the a long-time collector of vintage and antique cast iron, however, so presumably most if not all were in at least good clean condition.
2002 Auction Prices
From the auction catalog, it appears that the auction was for pieces from the collection of Deb and Gary Franzen. The auction took place on June 29, 2002, and there apparently were 270 lots sold. The preview of the auction pieces took place on June 28, 2002.
What do you think? How do the prices seem to you as compared to today? I’m interested to hear your thoughts!