Griswold Cookware

Collectors and collections, History and Stories

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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Real and Reproduction Griswold Skillet Racks

Original vintage Griswold cast iron advertisement; skillet rack included with retailer purchase of pans skillets.
The rack was included as a “bonus” with the purchase of a set of Griswold skillets. Advertisement from the collection of Larry and Marg O’Neil of Tacoma, Washington.

Consider this scenario: You’ve stumbled across an awesome-looking wire skillet rack marked “Griswold” at a flea market or antique store. You’re thrilled because the price is $40, and you’ve seen Griswold racks sell on eBay for more than $100.(note) An authentic Griswold rack sold for $500 at a February 2023 auction. That’s a high price, but the racks commonly sell for well over $100. (/note)

Reproduction Griswold Racks

Before you spend any of your hard-earned cash, you need to determine whether the rack you are considering is an authentic rack made by Griswold or a reproduction made by Colonial Tin Works.

In around 2004, Colonial Tin Works reproduced the Griswold racks. They were billed as an “outstanding reproduction” and were sold wholesale — $14.90 for two racks.

Fantasy Pieces vs. Reproductions

I’ve written before about the danger of so-called “fantasy pieces.” A fantasy piece can be loosely defined as an item produced by a company or person that is a reproduction of an authentic piece and the maker doesn’t advertise it as authentic. The danger, of course, is that when the piece changes hands, it may be billed as authentic and an unsuspecting buyer can be taken.

In this instance, Colonial Tin Works advertised the rack as an “outstanding reproduction of a rare Griswold fry pan display.” It thus could be considered a “fantasy piece.” However, as with the Griswold “silver pup” scandal, reproduction racks consistently pop up for sale and are billed as authentic Griswold racks. While it began as a “fantasy piece,” unknowing buyers (and presumably sellers) don’t realize that the piece is not an authentic Griswold, and it is bought and sold as an authentic Griswold rack.

Is it Authentic or a Reproduction?

How can you tell whether the rack you are examining is an authentic Griswold or one of the fantasy pieces made by Colonial Tin Works?

Authentic Griswold Rack

Per the Blue Book, Griswold manufactured their six-skillet racks in the 1940s. Below are photos of an authentic Griswold skillet rack.1

authentic vintage Griswold skillet rack
Authentic Griswold skillet rack sold by Etsy seller APPs Vintage. Photos of authentic rack used with permission.

Reproduction Griswold Skillet Rack

It wasn’t hard to find photos of the reproduction skillet rack. A quick Google search for “Griswold skillet rack” turned up plenty of reproductions.

Here are photos of a reproduction rack from a “Live Auctioneers” listing. The listing says that it sold for $200.

reproduction fake griswold skillet rack
Reproduction Griswold skillet rack. Selling price was $200 on Live Auctioneers (2017 sale).

Here is another reproduction Griswold rack, from WorthPoint. Selling price unknown.

reproduction fake griswold vintage skillet rack
Reproduction Griswold skillet rack from WorthPoint. Selling price unknown.

What to look for:

  • Check the size of the rubber foot covers. Rubber foot covers are not always present on old racks, as the old rubber could, of course, crack and fall off. If the original rubber covers are present, the authentic rack has shorter black rubber covers. The reproduction racks have longer rubber covers. This is not determinative, however, as the original foot covers could have been replaced by a prior owner.

    Rubber feet on the authentic rack:

authentic real griswold skillet rack
Shorter rubber foot covers on authentic rack. You can also see the shorter rubber foot covers in the advertisement earlier in this post.

Rubber feet on reproduction rack:

reproduction fake griswold skillet rack
Longer rubber foot covers on reproduction rack.
  • On the back of the face plate, look for “PATENT APPLD. FOR” in raised lettering, with the Griswold pattern number – 1054. The authentic rack has it; the reproduction does not.

    Authentic Rack:

real authentic griswold skillet rack
Back of name plate on authentic Griswold rack.

Reproduction rack:

fake reproduction griswold skillet rack
The reproduction has no printing on the back of the front plate.
  • A magnet will stick to the nameplate on the authentic rack. A magnet will not stick to the nameplate of the reproduction.
  • The cross bars on the reproductions have “globs” at each end where they attach. These sloppy globs are not present on an authentic Griswold rack.

    Authentic Griswold rack:

authentic real griswold skillet rack
Note the lack of “globs” where the cross bars attach on the authentic rack.

Reproduction rack:

fake reproduction griswold skillet rack
Globs where the crossbars attach on the reproduction rack.

There you have it. You’ll be a savvy shopper with your newfound expertise in telling a reproduction Griswold rack from an authentic one!

p.s. I ran across this Airworks auction result from February 17, 2023. A Griswold skillet rack sold for $500!

  1. Photos courtesy Etsy seller AppleysVintage. Used with permission.

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