Griswold Cookware

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

Griswold Cookware

Collectors and Collections,
History and Stories

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

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  • Griswold Vintage Cast Iron Santa Cake Molds: Real or Reproduction & Pricing

Griswold Vintage Cast Iron Santa Cake Molds: Real or Reproduction & Pricing

You’re at a flea market, and you see a vintage cast iron Santa cake mold. Santa is holding a bag, it is marked Griswold, and it says “HELLO KIDDIES” at the base. The seller wants $100.

Do you buy it?

Current Selling Prices for Authentic Griswold Vintage Cast Iron Santa Molds

Well, the price is good if the mold is an authentic Griswold Santa. Looking at “sold” prices in the past 90 days (checked on April 4, 2023), an authentic Griswold vintage cast iron Santa cake mold sells on eBay for:

This authentic Santa sold on eBay for $229 plus shipping on April 1, 2023.
This reproduction Santa (advertised as a reproduction) sold for $99 plus shipping on March 26, 2023. A second one – same photos used & same seller – sold for $66 plus shipping on March 15, 2023.
This reproduction Santa (seller acknowledged not being an expert on Griswold, but said he believed it to be a reproduction) sold for $109.51 plus shipping on March 9, 2023.
This authentic Santa sold for $237.50 plus shipping on March 12, 2023.
A “best offer” was accepted for this authentic Santa on eBay on March 8, 2023, so the actual selling price is unknown. It was originally offered at $500 plus shipping.
This authentic Santa sold for $315.78 plus shipping on February 27, 2023.
This authentic Santa sold for $330 plus shipping on February 12, 2023.
This authentic Santa sold for $317.12 plus shipping on January 29, 2023.
This authentic Santa sold for $224.50 plus shipping on January 22, 2023.
This Santa, which appears to me to be a reproduction (the pictures are not completely clear), sold for $215.95 plus shipping on January 22, 2023. The same photos were used by the same seller to sell an identical Santa for $238.50 plus shipping on January 15, 2023. I don’t know why this Santa was listed twice – either the seller sold two Santas using the same photos or the first sale did not complete for whatever reason.

A person known to me who sells iron as a business told me that he has never sold an authentic Griswold Santa for less than $400. He told me that In the past six months, he sold one (in person, for cash) for $485 and a second for $425.

Is it an Authentic or Reproduction Vintage Cast Iron Griswold Cake Mold?

If the Santa is a reproduction, it’s up to you whether you want to spend $100 for it or not. I wouldn’t, but that’s me.

There are a few things to look for in determining whether the Santa is authentic or a reproduction.

The Casting Quality

Probably most telling is the casting quality. Griswold castings are typically smooth as satin. The reproductions are not; they have a more “pebbly” texture.

Two authentic Griswold Santa molds on the left. Reproduction Santa on the right. Note the difference in the casting quality. Santas and photo from collector Doug Madden. Text from the author.
Photo and Santas from collector Doug Madden. Text from the author.
Photo and Santas from collector Doug Madden. Text and markups from the author.

Santa’s Tongue

The tongue is visible in Santa’s open mouth on the authentic Griswold vintage cast iron cake molds. Santa’s open mouth is smooth on the reproduction Santa.

Santas and photo from collector Doug Madden. Added text and markup from the author.

The Lettering

The authentic Santa has clear letters and numbers on it. You will see the pattern numbers 897 and on the Santa as well as the words “GRISWOLD MFG. CO. ERIE, PA.”

Lettering on an authentic Griswold Santa cake mold. Photo taken from an eBay listing.
Lettering on a reproduction Griswold Santa cake mold. Photo taken from an eBay listing. Note the lettering is larger and runs to the very edge of the handle.

The Line on (some) of Santa’s bags

According to collector Larry O’Neil, Griswold used a wooden pattern to cast their Santa molds. As the wood aged, it dried out and began to crack. As a result, later Santas have a line on the bag – the line can be different lengths. Earlier Santas, however, do not have that line.

Some of the authentic Santas from the collection of Larry and Marg O’Neil. Each Santa is different from the other – the length of the “line” on Santas bag is not present or is of different lengths. This is due to the age and dryness of the wood pattern used by Griswold. Photo by Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography.

The line, therefore, is not determinative. If the line is present, that points to an authentic Santa. If the line is not present, however, it could be authentic or a reproduction; you will need to consider the other factors.

Photo and Santas from collector Doug Madden.
Photos and Santas from collector Doug Madden.

Hopefully this little overview will be helpful to you as you are out hunting for the Griswold vintage Santa cast iron cake molds!

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