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Collectors and Collections,
History and Stories

Griswold, Lodge, Wagner, Favorite, Wapak, and More!

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“Griswold” Pup: Authentic or Reproduction?

How can you tell whether a pup marked “Griswold” is authentic or a reproduction?

Griswold pups have been widely reproduced. With just a little knowledge and education, you can quickly determine whether a pup marked “Griswold” is authentic or a reproduction.

I spent time with Joe and Nancy Zawadowski of Durham, North Carolina, in September 2018. Joe collects a wide and interesting variety of things (including Snuggle Pups—more on these later!), but I was particularly interested in his collection of vintage and antique cast iron pups.

Griswold Pups

Small (1-5/8″ tall) cast iron pups were used as advertising promotions by companies including the Griswold Manufacturing Company.

It is posited that Griswold manufactured their pups in 1937 and 1951.1

3000 pups were produced by Griswold in 1951. 2,000 of the 3,000 pups were handed out by Griswold employees during a bicentennial parade in Erie, Pennsylvania (home of Griswold).2 I have seen a photograph of Griswold employees walking alongside the Griswold float, handing out the pups to parade-watchers. The remainder were given to loyal customers and employees.3

Griswold Pup Prices

Authentic Griswold pups can sell for hundreds of dollars. I paid $275 to pup collector Doris Mosier for my beautiful authentic Griswold pup in 2014 or 2015. The going price today is less than it was at the time I bought my pup.

Authentic vintage cast iron pup made by the Griswold Mfg Co of Erie, Pennsylania, front.
My Griswold pup, front.
Authentic vintage cast iron pup made by the Griswold Mfg Co of Erie, Pennsylania, back.
My Griswold pup, back.

Reproduction Griswold pups are abundant. An unwary consumer can easily be duped into paying hundreds of dollars for a pup that is marked with the Griswold name but is not a pup that was actually manufactured by Griswold.

A quick search on eBay that I did as I wrote this article in 2018 showed that all pups advertised as “Griswold Pup” were reproductions. 4

I also did an “advanced search” on eBay which allows you to look back at sold items for the past 90 days. 28 pups were sold with the words “Griswold” and “pup” in the title listing.  Some were not presented as authentic Griswold pups (this is called “keyword spamming” where a seller puts the name – i.e. Griswold – in the title although not claiming it to be a Griswold, in hopes that a buyer will find it during a search for “Griswold pup.”).

Of the 28 sold pups, one appeared authentic (black Japanned finish) and sold for $97.99. A black iron that appeared to be authentic sold for $200 in a “Buy it Now” listing. 5

Is it a Real or Repro Griswold pup?

Joe taught me how to tell the difference between an authentic and a reproduction pup. He showed me an authentic and a reproduction Griswold pup and explained the differences. 6 So, from collector Joe Zawadowski’s mouth to my blog post, here’s a little primer to help you determine whether a pup with the Griswold name on it is real or a reproduction. Credit also to Marjorie Blue, who helped explain the differences between a real and a reproduction Griswold pup on the GCICA Facebook page.

Using information from Joe, I also wrote a little article for Antique Trader about how to tell whether a Griswold pup is authentic or a reproduction. Here’s the upshot:

Front of fake reproduction cast iron pup - NOT made by the Griswold Mfg Co of Erie, Pennsylania.
An example of a fake pup marked Griswold, front.
Back of fake reproduction cast iron pup - NOT made by the Griswold Mfg Co of Erie, Pennsylania.
An example of a fake “Griswold” pup, back.
Comparison of real authentic Griswold vintage cast iron pup to fake reproduction pup NOT made by Griswold.
  • An authentic Griswold pup will always have the words GRISWOLD and PUP incised on its back in clear lettering. If the lettering is sloppy, it’s not Griswold.
  • An authentic Griswold pup has the words incised on its back. It does not have raised lettering (see photos of fake Griswold pup above).
  • The spacing between GRISWOLD and PUP is greater on an authentic pup than that commonly seen on reproductions. Sometimes you can see the word HINES as a “ghost mark” on an authentic Griswold pup.7
  • The casting on an authentic Griswold is – as is a hallmark of Griswold – smooth. Reproductions vary in smoothness.
  • An authentic Griswold will have either a 30 incised on the back of its head or nothing incised on its head. The authentic Griswold ones that do not have the number 30 are the pups made in the earlier (~1937) run. 8 Reproductions may have nothing on the back of the head, numbers (typically not 30 – or if so, the 30 is skewed), or an infinity symbol.
  • An authentic Griswold pup is 1-5/8″ tall.
  • An authentic Griswold pup does not have defined toes on its paws.
  • The tail on an authentic Griswold is “smoothed” on the underside to render an appearance of a slightly upturned tail.
  • Authentic Griswold pups come in black iron, black Japanned iron, a grey-green finish (called the “grey ghost”), and aluminum. A few “silver pups” out there are not authentic Griswold pups.
Different kinds of vintage cast iron and aluminum metal pups made by the Griswold Mfg Co of Erie Pennsylvania, front.
Authentic Griswold pups.
Different kinds of vintage cast iron and aluminum metal pups made by the Griswold Mfg Co of Erie Pennsylvania, back.
Authentic Griswold pups.

These sweet vintage cast iron pups are really fun to collect; there are all sorts of miniature advertising pup out there! I hope that this little guide will help you as you venture into the wild wild world of pups!

Different vintage cast iron pups
My personal pups. The Griswold pup that I purchased from Doris is second from left.
  1. Joe is not convinced that these dates are accurate. The Blue Book by Smith and Wafford sets the dates as 1937 and 1951.
  2. Harned, Griswold Cast Collectibles History & Values, p. 74 (1991).
  3. W. Griswold, Griswold Point: History from the Mouth of the Connecticut River (2014).
  4. I ran the exact search on February 23, 2023; again, each pup advertised as “Griswold Pup” was a reproduction.
  5. I did the same “sold items” eBay search on February 23, 2023. 24 pups marked “Griswold Pup” were sold within the past 90 days. Of those, four may have been authentic. Given the blurry photos, I could not gauge the authenticity of two of them (both black iron). Those two sold for $179.50 and $169.50. A third (black iron), which appeared authentic, sold for $159.50. A fourth, which seemed to be authentic (the “grey ghost”) sold for $172.50.
  6. Joe is a great resource for information about vintage and antique cast iron pups. You can find him on the GCICA Facebook page.
  7. Presumably, Griswold used a Hines pattern or pup to create some of their pups; hence the ghost mark. Hines was an Ohio company that manufactured “engineered flasks and supplementary molding equipment,” per a Hines sign in Joe Zawadowski’s possession.
  8. Source information provided by Dave Lange, a long-time Griswold collector. Dave’s father worked at Griswold. Dave stated on the previous GCICA forum that a man who worked with his father at Griswold verified that the pups without the 30 on the back of the head were from the earlier run. The pups without the 30 are much harder to find than those with the 30 on the back of the head.

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