Cleaning

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As people are aware, there are no real “book” prices in Canada for putting a value on Canadian cast iron hollow ware – and it’s not possible at the moment. Prices are all over the board – and it’s moreso about who is willing to pay what.

As with anything – it’s buyer beware. Recognize the following when collecting or purchasing cast iron pieces.

When selling cast iron, there are a few things that need to be considered.

– Condition.
As a seller, you take a risk in cleaning a piece – if it’s found to be cracked or warped in any way, then the piece is devalued. Some buyers are willing to take the chance, buy an uncleaned piece and run the risk of having a worthless piece.

Iron that is not cleaned and ready for use will not fetch the same price as a piece that has been stripped and at least protected with a layer of oil. Mind you, if you clean a piece improperly, you will devalue it.

Using mechanical means or extreme heat to strip a piece – please don’t do it. Grinders, sandpaper, harsh sandblasting or wire wheels can destroy the factory surface. Self cleaning oven, throwing it in a fire pit, any kind of extreme heat environment can crack or warp a piece. A trained eye will spot it.

Please don’t destroy historical pieces in an effort to make a few dollars. If you’re not sure how to clean a piece, sell it as is.

– Unknown pieces.
These should not fetch the same pricing as pieces that are fully marked and dated. Some of these pieces – just like in the USA – are of unknown maker or origin, and unfortunately will probably remain that way.

– Unmarked pieces
Some pieces are of known manufacturer only by a serial/pattern number or simply by the font of a number.

– Age
Just because a piece is 100 years old or more doesn’t make it worth large sums of money. We see pieces on ebay and kijiji with a large price tag marked “over 100 years old”. First of all, it’s probably not that old – and if it is, it doesn’t make it valuable.

– Rarity… This is an interesting one.
Much of Canadian iron is still unknown – and one can only assume that there is much iron hiding out in barns, cupboards and back rooms somewhere. We have seen an increase in iron hitting the market in Canada over the last couple of years – so a rare piece may not be so rare in the coming years.
Just because a piece is listed as rare, doesn’t mean it is. Please don’t be that sneaky seller trying to pass off “the only seen piece”.

– Value.
If you get excited and pay double or triple the price of what someone else is willing to pay – then you are stuck with it. I don’t resell iron personally, but when buying a piece, I tend to look at what it’s possibly worth AFTER I invest time, efforts and money into restoring a piece. If they don’t equate, then I don’t buy.

– American interest
Many Americans are getting interested in Canadian iron, they are beginning to recognize that hollow ware made here rivals makers in the USA – and that’s not a slight to American iron.

– Ebay
Sold listings people – asking price means nothing. You’ll see Canadian skillets listed on ebay for $100 or more and get excited but when you look at the “sold” listing, the same pan went for $25.

– Comparing American pricing to Canada.
This one is laughable. One has to recognize the value of the American dollar vs Canadian, then tack shipping costs onto a piece. You see a Griswold waffle iron that you want, it’s in the USA – expect to possibly triple the price to get it into your hands. Berating a Canadian seller for his/her supposed high priced American iron is unfair – and suggesting that you can buy it out of the states for much cheaper is a cheap shot.

Feel free to buy that piece off Ebay – pay the extra costs including shipping – invest your own time and effort and money into cleaning it then try to sell it for the price you paid in total.

Just my own musings.