When’s the last time you went to a garage sale? Depending on where you live, there may be garage sales and yard sales happening around you all the time. Still, we rarely take our time to look—and when we do we sometimes don’t even know what we’re looking for. Those who do attend these events with a plan in mind can end up buying things very cheaply and reselling for a nice profit. In other cases, we might just want to collect antiques and vintage items for the sake of it.
More specifically, there’s some vintage kitchenware out there that is actually worth some money if you find it lying around. With that in mind, here are 10 everyday kitchen items that you should definitely buy if you see them.
1. Vintage Pyrex
Although most of us probably have a few Pyrex baking dishes in our homes today, finding vintage Pyrex dishes can be worth picking up. If you’re considering just using them, old-school Pyrex was actually made out of borosilicate, making it way more resistant to extreme heat than the more modern soda-lime glass. Although the latter may be a little more resistant to breaking, it doesn’t cook quite as well as the old versions. On the other hand, Today has reported that people with complete sets of vintage Pyrex have sometimes sold them for thousands of dollars—so keep your eyes open!
Though you won’t see this in many modern kitchens, jadeite was also a very popular material used to make plates and cups. If you’re not familiar, jadeite was a milky, opaque style of glass that was often colored red and originally rose in popularity around the time of the Great Depression. Today, these items are collectibles which can fetch a pretty penny on eBay (assuming you have enough pieces). For potential collectors out there, look for pieces made by Jeannette Glass, McKee Glass Company and Anchor Hocking Fire-King. Beware, though: because these were made back when uranium was still used in manufacturing, these dishes may actually be slightly radioactive (and they’ll glow under a black light as well)!
Bakelite is an early form of plastic made from the reaction of phenol and formaldehyde. It was a useful plastic because it was non-conductive and heat resistant—and it was used to make many products including kitchenware and even jewelry! The material was named after its inventor, Leo Baekeland. Although the prices of different Bakelite items vary, kitchenware can be worth hundreds of dollars while some Bakelite jewelry can sell for thousands!
4. McCoy Stoneware
McCoy was a brand of pottery that started as far back as 1848. Though the company closed in around 1991, the organization made plenty of different cookie jars and adorable figurines throughout the years. As with all the other items on this list, these collectibles have gone up in value over time as well. Depending on what pieces you find, they could be worth hundreds. Still, potential collectors should be sure to check that whatever they’re buying is a “real McCoy,” so to speak—look up the dimensions of the pieces you’re buying and make sure they match!
5. Milk Glass
Milk glass is yet another old glassware material which has only risen in value over time. The practice dates all the way back to Venice in the 16th century, though it gained popularity later on as well. As its name might suggest, many dishes made from milk glass are white and opaque, though some items can also be lightly tinted in other colors like pink and blue. Decorative or commemorative milk glassware can fetch a pretty high price on the internet these days—but if you’re a history buff, you may simply want to have some pieces as decoration around your house.
This line of kitchenware was first made in 1936 by Fredrick Hurten Rhead of the Homer Laughlin Pottery Company. For those who don’t know, the Fiesta line of pottery was a very colorful set of dishes that was Art Deco-inspired. Unlike some of the other items listed here, Fiestaware is still made today. Still, what makes this worth looking out for is that some of the original colors are in high demand, namely colors like yellow and medium green. Still, these old plates were produced when lead and uranium were still being used in manufacturing—keep that in mind if you were planning to eat off them!
7. Copper Tin Molds
Although this is less of a brand, copper tin molds were all over the place at one time. Because copper conducts heat better than tin does, it was a popular material to use for those who could afford it in the early 19th and 20th century. Some of these antique molds come in interesting and unique designs and can earn you a few hundred dollars online in some cases. Still, when you’re out shopping be sure to bring a magnet with you to check the molds—copper isn’t very magnetic unless you have an extremely strong magnet with you.
8. Cookie Cutters
Just like the above, certain antique cookie cutters made out of different metals like copper can also be quite valuable today. Although the kind of mold it is, the condition it’s in and what it looks like are all likely to affect your resale value, cookie cutters that are really old are a pretty safe bet!
9. Soda Crates
In the early 1900s when the soda industry was getting on its feet, many drugstores had small batches of sodas that they would hand deliver from neighborhood to neighborhood. Many of these sodas may even be defunct now—but the crates they were carried in are sometimes still floating around. The rarer ones will have hand-stenciling on them and other local insignias that separate them from the bigger corporate brands. If you can find one of the really rare ones, it could get you a few hundred dollars. If not, they’re also great decoration for the house.
10. Upside-Down Mason Jar
Mason jars are about as common as it gets and they date back as far as 1858. If you’ve never seen one, they are simple glass jars with a screw-thread metal lid, and they’re often used to can fruits or vegetables for pickling or preserving. For the most part, Mason jars are a dime a dozen and can be found almost anywhere. However, if you get your hands on an upside-down jar, one that was only made from 1900 to 1910, you could sell it for around $1,000. Happy hunting!
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