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 (in fact, an authentic Griswold rack just sold for $500 at auction!)
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 for $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 clearly billed 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, the reproduction rack consistently pops up for sale and is billed as an authentic Griswold rack. While it began as a “fantasy piece,” unknowing buyers (and presumably sellers) don’t realize that the piece is not authentic, 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
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 from a “Live Auctioneers” listing of a reproduction rack. The listing says that it sold for $200.
Here is another reproduction Griswold 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, however, the authentic rack has shorter black rubber covers. The reproduction racks have longer rubber covers. This is not determinative, however, as the original feet covers could have fallen off and been replaced by a prior owner.
Rubber feet on the authentic rack:
Rubber feet 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.
- A magnet will stick to the nameplate on the authentic rack. A magnet will not stick to the nameplate of the reproduction.
cross barson the reproductions have “globs” at each end where they attach. These globs are not present on an authentic Griswold rack.
Authentic Griswold rack:
And there you have it. With your newfound expertise in telling a reproduction Griswold rack from an authentic one, you’ll be a savvy shopper!