I followed along online with a fast-paced large in-person cast iron auction in Indiana on October 6, 2018. I restrained myself from making purchases, though some items were tempting (see the good buys noted in my other blog post about this auction). The 15% buyer’s premium and the high cost of UPS packing and shipping held me back.
As I discussed in an earlier blog post, the premium and shipping cost adds a significant amount to the final realized price at auction. For this particular auction, sales tax was also added. Figure I buy a piece for $100, thinking I’ve got a decent deal for a piece. Well, add on $15 for a buyer’s premium, and $8.05 for tax, and the base price is now $123. Figure $20 to pack and ship, and my price is now $143. And $20 might be on the low side for packing and shipping – cast iron is very heavy, of course. I’ve made the mistake more than once; now I don’t often bid online at large in-person cast iron auctions. If I plan to buy much, I’ll attend the auction in person.
At this particular auction, no information was given about the condition of the piece in the auction catalogue. Unless you had a savvy cast iron shopper at the auction who was willing to scout for you (and whose opinion you trusted with your money), you had to rely only upon the photographs. If I am going to spend thousands of dollars, I sure would like to see the item in person before I risked my money. Items are always sold “as is, where is” – there’s no going back once you’ve won a piece.
This is illustrated by a number 11 Griswold cast iron Dutch oven with lid, which brought $400 at this auction. There appears to be some (not uncommon) pitting on the bottom of the oven. When examining the photos closely and under magnification, it appears that the lid has a significant hairline crack. The crack is not mentioned in the auction catalogue’s description for this piece.1 Given the pitting and especially the crack, was the set worth $400? $400 plus 15% premium, tax, shipping/packing? My guess is this set would be at close to $500 once those additional costs are factored in.
Top prices realized 2
- Griswold large block logo “ERIE” no. 1 skillet, pattern no. 411, $7500.
- Griswold no. 19 (far less common than the no. 18) cast iron Heart & Star waffle iron with low bailed base, $4500.
- Griswold “All-In-One” divided cast iron skillet, pattern no. 1008, $3100.
- Favorite “Smiley Logo” cast iron skillet no. 13 with disclosed hairline crack, $1500. The auction catalogue had the photo with the yellow outline around the hairline crack. While the skillet itself appears to be gorgeous, I can’t imagine a circumstance where I would pay $1500 for a known cracked skillet.
- Griswold no. 12 cast iron Dutch oven trivet, pattern no. 211, $900.
- Griswold large block logo EPU cast iron no. 20 “hotel” skillet, pattern no. 728, $725. An unmarked no. 20 cast iron skillet sold for $95, and another unmarked “recast” no. 20 skillet which appeared to be in less than ideal condition sold for $100.
- Wapak “Indian Head” cast iron skillet no. 11, $725. It does not appear that the medallion has fine detail, but I cannot tell from the very small photograph provided in the catalogue.
- Griswold no. 12 slant logo EPU cast iron Dutch oven with lid, pattern no. 2634, $600.
- Wapak “Indian Head” cast iron skillet no. 12, $550.
- Wagner no. 13 cast iron skillet, product no. 1063, $400.
- Griswold no. 10 large block logo cast iron Dutch oven with lid, $350.
- Griswold no. 2 large block logo EPU cast iron skillet, smooth bottom, $350. A second one sold for $325.
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- A person who was apparently at the auction in person has said that he believes the crack was brought up by the auctioneer at the time of bidding. As I said before in my blog post with tips for cast iron auctions, it is not unusual for a flaw to be discovered during in-person inspection of a piece. That information is then typically shared with the auctioneer, who shares it with the audience during the auction.
- Prices listed are base price. 15% buyer’s premium, 7% Indiana sales tax, and full-service cost of UPS packing and shipping not included. As I also have stressed before, in-person examination cannot be substituted for online viewing. Additionally, don’t get all excited about a piece that you have that may be similar to those pictured here; the precise markings and condition of each item is of great significance in setting a price.