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Saturday, October 2, 2010

When buying cast iron on ebay...

I scout the cast iron listings on ebay daily, looking for pieces to snag, if I can get them cheap enough.

And I've found that many sellers don't know much about what they're selling.

Often, the description of the size and volume is listed incorrectly.

Sometimes the cast iron is listed as "Lodge", when it's not Lodge at all.

Always look for a model number, and then do a search for that model number to find out the correct size and volume.

The model number should be printed on the skillet or pot. If it's not listed, or you can't see it in the picture, ask the seller.

Sometimes the seller says, "I don't know. I'm just selling it. The item description is in the listing. If it's not in the description, sorry."

I don't buy from those sellers. What are they doing, selling stuff they know nothing about?

And always search online for the current market price. Some sellers vastly overcharge.

A Lodge 8 inch skillet sells on Amazon for $12; There was a listing for that same skillet for $55.

Amazon is a great clue to what's currently on the market, vs. "rare" or "vintage." If you can buy it on Amazon, it's not "rare"!

Many sellers assume that the model number indicates the size of the skillet, or the volume of the pot. It doesn't.

Some of the most common listing errors:

A skillet with a #8 in the model number is 10 1/4 inches, NOT 8 inches. With a #10 in the model number, 12 inches, NOT 10.

A skillet with a #12 in the model number is 13 1/4 inches, NOT 12. A #14 is 15 inches, NOT 14.

Lodge does not make a 14 inch, 11 inch, or 7 inch skillet. Check that model number!

A pot with a #8 in the model number is 3 qts OR 5 qts, NOT 8 qts. Lodge doesn't make an 8 qt pot.

A pot with a #10 in the model number is 7 qts, NOT 10 qts. Lodge doesn't make a 10 qt pot.

A pot with a #12 in the model number is 9 qts, NOT 12 qts. Lodge doesn't make a 12 qt pot.

For camp ovens, the number on the lid is the inches in diameter, not the volume. A 12 inch camp oven is 6 qts or 8 qts.

Go to the Lodge website and familiarize yourself with their current products.

Since I'm nice, I usually send a polite message to the seller letting them know.

Ebay does have a refund policy for items not as described, but you may have to ship it back, and cast iron is heavy and expensive to ship.

So the take home lesson is, don't take ebay listings at face value. Research before you buy!


  1. You have just performed a valuable public service, greenturtle. When you DO snag a fine old Wagner or Griswold or Volrath (yes, they made good ones, too), you'll have found a treasure worthy of being handed down.

    My lidded Griswold #9 is the most beautifully milled, beautifully seasoned piece I've ever encountered. I found it at a flea market and consider the $35 I paid for it was a real bargain.

    Right now it's resting in a slow oven concocting a fine carbonnade for Matt's return from the ranch (Monday night football is my one chance in the kitchen, remember, and I make the most of it!). If he likes it, we'll put it in the next printing of the cookbook.

  2. I'd recommend to anybody who wants to buy Griswold or Wagner, to join the forum on, which is the Wagner and Griswold society.

    They have lots of expert collectors who are happy to tell you what a certain item is worth, what you should expect to pay for any given piece, as well as known ebay scammers to watch out for.

    They also have a "fraud watch" section, listing fakes being passed off as the real thing, complete with pictures to compare.