What Is The Rarest Griswold Skillet?

Griswold Manufacturing, founded in 1865, was a renowned producer of top-quality cookware that earned a significant reputation in the world of vintage cast iron. The company’s skillets are known for their iconic design and durability, making them a sentimental item for most collectors. However, certain Griswold skillets are rarer than others, with some highly sought-after models commanding prices north of $10,000 in auction rooms.

Curious to know which of the Griswold skillets earned the coveted tag of the rarest? Well, buckle-up, as this article will provide a comprehensive analysis of the unique features that made some skillets so elusive, and how they became the most expensive and hard-to-find cast iron pieces in the world.

Quick Summary
The rarest Griswold skillet is the #13 Erie Spider Skillet with the web logo. It was only produced for a short time in 1907 and is highly sought after by collectors due to its unique design and limited production. The skillet features a spiderweb design on the cooking surface and a spider logo on the underside of the handle. Only a few examples of this skillet are known to exist, making it a rare and valuable find.

The History of Griswold Cast Iron Skillets

Griswold Manufacturing was a top American foundry that produced high-quality cast iron cookware for over seven decades. It was founded in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1865 by Matthew Griswold. The company quickly gained a reputation for producing durable and impeccably crafted skillets that were widely popular among homemakers.

By the early 1900s, Griswold Cast Iron Skillets had become an essential part of American kitchens, and the company had expanded its manufacturing to various cities in Pennsylvania. The Great Depression took its toll on the company, and in 1957, it was sold to Wagner Manufacturing Company, which continued to produce cast iron cookware under the Griswold name until 1960. Today, Griswold cast iron skillets are widely regarded as some of the best vintage skillets in the market, and collectors from around the world seek out different models and sizes to complete their collections.

Identifying Rare Griswold Skillets: How to Spot Them

Identifying a rare Griswold skillet can be a daunting task if you are not an expert in antique cookware. However, there are a few tips on how to identify them and add them to your collection.

First, look for the size of the skillet. The rarest Griswold skillets are usually small in size, ranging from 0 to 3. These skillets were not manufactured in large numbers, making them hard to find. Secondly, check the bottom of the skillet for markings. The rarest Griswold skillets usually have a trademark symbol, highly-prized by collectors. Lastly, take into consideration the shape of the skillet. The rarer ones usually have a unique shape, such as a square or oval shape.

By following these simple tips, you can identify rare Griswold skillets and add them to your collection. However, always remember to study and research before making any purchases, as these skillets can be expensive and are often counterfeited.

Why Are Some Griswold Skillets So Rare?

Griswold skillets, known for their superior quality and craftsmanship, have become highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts. However, not all Griswold skillets are created equal. Some are rarer than others, which makes them even more desirable to collectors.

The rarity of Griswold skillets can be attributed to a few factors. Firstly, the production of Griswold skillets was halted during World War II. This means that skillets produced during the war years are much rarer than those before or after. Secondly, certain sizes and styles of Griswold skillets were not produced in large quantities, making them harder to find. Lastly, skillets with unique markings or special features may also be considered rare and highly valued. Overall, the rarity of Griswold skillets adds to their intrigue and makes them a prized possession for collectors and cooks alike.

The Top 5 Rarest Griswold Skillets and Their Values

Griswold skillets are highly sought-after collectibles by antique enthusiasts, and rarity plays a significant role in determining their value. In this section, we’ll explore the top five rarest Griswold skillets and their current market values.

The first on the list is the number 13 Erie Spider Skillet, which is triple-marked with the Griswold logo, Erie, and the size number. It was produced between 1880-1900 and is exceptionally rare, with only a handful known to exist. Its current market value is around $20,000-$30,000. The number 7 Griswold Tite-Top Dutch Oven with a unique bail handler is the second rarest skillet, produced between 1895-1909, and is valued at about $15,000-$20,000. The third rarest skillet is the number 2 Griswold Tite-Top Dutch Oven, dating back to 1891-1906, and is valued at around $6,000-$9,000. The fourth and fifth rarest Griswold skillets are number 1 and 2 size Erie Pre-Griswold Skillets, respectively, both produced before 1880 and valued at approximately $5,000-$7,000.

Tips for Collecting Griswold Skillets

Collecting Griswold skillets can be a rewarding experience for vintage kitchenware enthusiasts or serious collectors. Here are some tips to help you build your collection:

First, research the markings and design of Griswold skillets. This will help you identify authentic pieces and avoid purchasing counterfeits. Invest in a good reference book or attend antique fairs and talk to reputable dealers.

Second, focus on acquiring skillets that are in good condition. Look for pans that are clean, free of rust and pitting, and have intact handles and lids. It’s also preferable to find pieces with clear and legible markings. With proper care, these skillets can last for generations and can potentially increase in value over time. Happy hunting!

Restoring and Seasoning Rare Griswold Skillets

Restoring and seasoning rare Griswold skillets can be a fun and rewarding process for collectors and enthusiasts. When restoring, it is important to carefully remove any rust or residue without damaging the skillet’s surface. This can be done by using a mixture of vinegar and water or a rust remover solution. After cleaning, the skillet should be thoroughly dried and then lightly oiled to prevent rust from returning.

Seasoning a rare Griswold skillet involves applying a layer of oil to the surface and heating the skillet in an oven or on the stove. This process helps create a non-stick layer on the skillet’s surface, which improves its cooking performance and makes it easier to clean. It is important to use a high smoke point oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed oil, and to never use soap or abrasive cleaning tools on a seasoned skillet. With careful restoration and seasoning, a rare Griswold skillet can be a treasured piece in any kitchen or collection.

Investing in Rare Griswold Skillets: Is It Worth It?

Investing in rare Griswold skillets can be a lucrative venture for collectors and enthusiasts alike. However, it is important to exercise caution when investing in these pieces. The value of these skillets can vary greatly depending on their rarity, condition, and historical significance.

Serious collectors should research carefully and consult with experts in the field before making any major purchases. In addition to being mindful of the value of the skillet itself, it is also important to consider the cost of restoration and preservation. In the end, investing in rare Griswold skillets can be a rewarding endeavor for those with a passion for collecting vintage cookware.


It’s clear from the above discussion that the rarest Griswold skillet is undoubtedly the Erie Spider Skillet. With only a handful of them in existence, it’s understandable why collectors are willing to pay top dollar for one. Its unique design and remarkable history only add to its allure.

In conclusion, if you’re lucky enough to come across an Erie Spider Skillet at an estate sale or flea market, it’s worth grabbing it without hesitation. Its rarity and value will only continue to increase with time, making it a worthwhile investment for any antique enthusiast.

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